One of the alluring qualities of bass fishing is the wide range of lures and presentations available. Every angler, at some point, is ready for more advanced techniques.
To take your bass fishing to the next level, anglers need the right mental approach to put their lures in difficult places, have technique specific equipment, and the desire to follow fish offshore.
What is Advanced Bass Fishing?
The best bass anglers in the world are adept at finding both numbers and quality. These savvy pros have adapted techniques and presentations that put the odds in their favor.
Some aspects of advanced bass fishing come down to presentation, while others are more related to the “setup.”
Take Your Bass Fishing Game to the Next Level – Mentally
The ability to not only put a lure exactly where you want it, but to have the steely nerves to throw it where no one else will – that’s next level bass fishing.
The first, accuracy, comes with practice.
The best pros can mesmerize you with their fluid movements and precise presentations. It is something every angler should be blessed with the opportunity to witness. Most of us can put the time in to gain some level of proficiency when it comes to accuracy.
Put that Lure Where Others Can’t or Won’t
It takes a special mindset to throw a lure into the gnarliest brushpile. It takes a positive and committed attitude to skip a jig into a 3 inch opening under a dock.
But this is what it takes to become an advanced shallow-water angler.
Bass are master survivalists that can melt into the tightest and most obscure places – especially the big bass.
I have been blessed to spend many hours filming bass underwater. I am always amazed at the places they will sit. Most lures tossed by anglers miss these hiding places by many feet. Unless that fish is ultra aggressive, there is no chance of a bite.
For those bass anglers that have committed to getting those lures into tight places, the odds of a reaction bite when that jig slips right past the nose of a 5lb’er go up exponentially.
Get That Lure in, and out, of a Brush Pile Successfully
The right equipment is a must when striving to be an advanced bass angler.
When pitching jigs and soft plastics into thick cover, an angler needs to be able to set the hook quickly on a bite and turn the head of the bass immediately. Wrestling the fish out of the cover before it can turn and bury up deeper is the result of using the right gear.
Whether it’s brush or thick vegetation, the correct equipment matters
The Right Rod, Reel, and Line for Fishing Thick Cover
Using a rod that is either a medium-heavy or heavy power rating will help anglers land way more bass from cover. Most rods of this rating will also have fast or extra-fast actions.
The energy of the hookset is transferred to the point of the hook quicker and more efficiently. The fast action lets the backbone of the rod kick in closer to the tip and provide plenty of winching power to pull that bass out from its hiding place.
A high-speed reel, something in the 8.3:1 range, is ideal for fishing this type of cover. Going with a straight braided line will give you the confidence that abrasion and knicks are not going to ruin your personal best.
Skipping Lures into the Tiniest Places can Yield Big Bites
This method appears intimidating. There will be backlashes. There will be missed targets and there definitely is a learning curve, but it is not as difficult to become proficient as you may think.
The reward is well-worth the effort.
Anglers that can put lures under docks and overhanging brush are presenting a bait to bass that are rarely targeted. This is definitely advanced angling.
To learn to skip lures, the absolute easiest to start with is probably a hollow-body frog. After some practice, using a more challenging lure, like a jig, will become second nature.
Here is an article on learning how to skip lures with a baitcaster.
Once you pull that first lunker fifteen feet out from under a dock, you can be proud that you are taking your bass fishing to an advanced level.
Try Using a Power Shot Rig
Most bass anglers have used a drop shot rig. It is a dynamite technique that is both versatile and effective.
One of the down sides of a traditional drop shot is the time it takes to fish – especially if you are targeting deep water.
A power shot rig is the same setup, but uses heavier weights. I like to start off with either a 1/2oz cylinder or ball weight. The heavier weight gets the lure to depth much quicker.
Shake the bait a time or two – no bite – move on.
A power shot rig can be an effective searching tool, whereas a traditional drop shot is most often employed once bass were located via another technique or electronics.
Anglers can locate bass fast with this technique and catch them just as quick.
Using Deep Diving Crankbaits Effectively
At first, this may not seem like an advanced bass fishing technique, but most casual deep diving crankbait anglers are failing to reach the full potential of these tremendous lures.
Deep divers are in the “zone” for only a short time, and depending on the cast, the lure may never reach its target.
Deep diving crankbaits are top-end tools for professional anglers because of their ability to find and catch bass in a variety of conditions.
To get the most from these lures, a rod designed for crankbait fishing is a nice addition. Not only is the composite design of the blank going to allow for more effective battling of lunker bass, it will also have the parabolic bend needed to really whip that lure a long distance.
Long casts are paramount to keeping the lure where you want it for the longest amount of time. The use of fluorocarbon line also is a key component to success because it naturally sinks. This will help you add depth to your presentation that a line like monofilament cannot offer.
On the initial presentation, cast well past your target area. This will help guarantee that your crankbait is down to depth and digging bottom by the time the lure reaches the zone you would like to investigate.
Carrying a variety of crankbaits that hit multiple depths is a good idea.
Vary the Retrieve for More Bites When Bass Fishing
Many bass anglers begin their artificial lure journey by casting and winding. The bait is brought back with a straight retrieve, relying on the lure itself to impart any action needed to attract bass.
This works when fish are aggressive. Most of the time bass are not actively feeding and as advanced bass anglers, we need to do something a little extra to get finicky fish to bite.
The two most common lures that I see used well below their full potential are lipless crankbaits and bladed jigs.
While these baits will catch fish with a cast-and-wind method, both of them shine when a variety of presentations are used.
My favorite for both of them is to fish them very similar to how an angler would hop a jig. Let the lure sink, pop it forward, and then let it sink again. Lipless cranks are quite effective when retrieved like this. Many of the bites will come on the drop.
A bladed jig also excels with this type of presentation.
Practice With Those Electronics and Find Offshore Bass
With the advancement of electronics, this is much easier now compared to even ten years ago, but it is still an area that takes committed practice time.
On most bodies of water, a large percentage of bass move away from the bank after the spawn and head to deeper, offshore locations. Anglers that can unlock these hiding places are often rewarded with excellent days.
This is considered advanced bass fishing because it is much harder to find deep fish offshore than it is beating the bank.
The first time I fished for offshore bass with an accomplished deep water angler I became a believer for life. It took plenty of time to find those fish. We used both electronics and deep diving crankbaits, but once we located them it was nonstop catching for a good thirty minutes.
That is what can happen.
Search. Search. Seach. Then catch a lot of fish.
None of these techniques are beyond reach for bass anglers, but they do take time and patience.
The end-result will be more days of catching and less days returning to the ramp without a bite.
Having the right mental approach, the equipment designed for the job at-hand, and a desire to take your bass fishing to the next level is what will get you there.
Good luck and don’t forget to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.