The Best Time to Bass Fish Based on Presentation

Each bass angler has presentations and lures that are favorites. These angling styles have conditions and times that are best suited to that particular method of fishing

Bass fishing can be broken down into horizontal and vertical presentations. Anglers using lures that are presented in a horizontal manner should look for low-light and wind. Those that prefer vertical, or bottom-bouncing, presentations do best when there is sunlight pushing bass into predictable places.

When is the best time to catch bass?

That is a question that I have been asked many times all across the country. 

Anglers want to not only catch big bass, but get more bites. Understanding our strengths and what fishing presentation we tend to use can help determine what conditions we should be looking for.

Horizontally Presented Lures and When to Fish Them

There are a wide-range of lures that are considered to have a horizontal presentation. 

These include lures like spinnerbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits, and crankbaits. 

Horizontally presented lures are most effective when bass are up in the water column. Our favorite predators pull off them bottom when one of two things happen: low-light and wind.

Bass Fishing During Low-Light Conditions

We often equate low-light fishing to early morning and late evening. Horizontal lures shine during these periods of the day, but these are not the only times when anglers can take advantage of shade.

Favorable conditions to fish horizontal lures can also be found when there is some wind.

Chop on the surface of the water dissipates the sun’s rays and refracts it at angles that often restrict how far down the sun can reach. Bass do not have eyelids and rely on other ways to shield the intense light from their eyes. When there is wind bass tend to actively seek out food and cover a greater distance in search of a snack. 

Horizontally presented lures do best when used to cover water and locate where the bass are. 

Low-light conditions can also be created by physical objects creating shade lines. The profile of a large boat dock, a steep shoreline, even trees and houses can create long shadows that are best fished with horizontal lures.

Using Horizontal Lures to Fish During the Wind

Besides the above-mentioned light refraction that is caused by chop on the water, wind also activates the food chain.

A shoreline that is getting hammered by a strong wind dislodges zooplankton and other microorganisms. These free-floating food sources attract small minnows, other baitfish, and crawdads.

The bass will be right there chomping on the smaller fish and crawdads.

Wind is always a signal to start feeding. 

Instead of taking shelter from the wind, anglers who love to fish lures presented in a horizontal manner should find the windiest bank and start catching.

Vertically Presented Lures and When to Fish Them

This category of bass baits includes things like jigs, Ned rigs, drop shots, Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, and a whole host of others.

These baits do well on the drop and working across the bottom of our lakes, ponds, and rivers. 

The key ingredient to getting the most from a vertically presented lure is sunshine. The more intense the sun the more it drives bass into predictable places. 

My favorite time to fish these lures are between the hours of 10am – 2pm. The sun is overhead and pushing bass into thick weeds, under docks, and down to the bottom. I know that my highest percentage for success is going to come from places where shade is present. 

This shade may only be a tiny area a foot square, but that is enough. 

The less wind, the more the bass are going to push to the bottom on sunny days. If the water is clear, this also means that the bass will be moving deeper is adequate shallow, shade-producing cover is not available. 

Have Lures for Both Presentations Ready

Bass anglers are quite aware that conditions change – and quickly.

When the weather suits your fishing style and favorite lures, take advantage of it, but have the other style of lures ready-to-go.

If the wind stops and the sun comes out, put the spinnerbait down and pick up the jig. 

Always Look for Shade and You Will Be Around Bass

No matter what Mother Nature throws at you, keep finding places out of the direct sun and you will be putting yourself in position to be successful.

At times, those shady areas will be hundreds if not thousands of square feet in size. An hour later you may be dropping a wacky rig in a shady pocket the size of a football. 

Larger areas of shade are well-suited for horizontal lures while tiny pockets of shade are perfect for your favorite vertical presentation.

Final Thoughts

Looking ahead at the weather forecast can help us determine when to fish based on our strengths and favorite presentations. 

Adjusting while on the water will make us better anglers. 

Use those horizontal lures, like spinnerbaits, topwaters, and jerkbaits, when the sunlight is less intense and some wind is rippling the surface. 

Switch over to vertical lures, such as jigs and Texas rigs, when the wind dies down and the sun gets high in the sky. 

Keeping these basic ideas in mind will keep your lures in higher percentage areas and around the bass. 

Tight lines. Be safe and make sure to encourage someone today. You never know how you may change their life forever.

Isaiah 6:8

Steve Rogers

Steve spends his time filming and writing about bass fishing. You may even see him in your area. If so, stop and say "hi."

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