Bass fishing is a sport like many others.
It is often the knowledge and the understanding of the opponent
that allows one to become more successful. You may look at it
like deer hunting, in that the more the hunter understands the
scrapes, trails, food areas, water areas, runs, and habitats of
the deer, then the more successful the hunter will become at
locating the quarry. The same is true with bass fishing. The more
you understand the bass along with the many different
circumstances and conditions you run across, then the more
successful you will be at catching them. So letís talk about a
few key factors when it comes to a better understanding of the
Overall, let's talk in terms of understanding what's required
for the survival of the bass. A bass needs three elements to
survive, which are :
A bass could not survive if any one of these three elements
are not present in a body of water, and just by knowing why these
three elements are so important for a bassís survival it will
already start to make you a more successful angler.
1) Food. The first element we
will talk about is food. A bass will eat just about anything at
any given time: rats, mice, ducklings, frogs, snakes,
salamanders, worms, lizards, grubs, baitfish, insects, leeches,
etc. Is it any wonder why all the many different tackle
manufacturing companies have so many different shapes and types
of artificial baits on the market today?
Contrary to popular belief, shad is NOT the primary first
choice of a bass. Although shad is a very common food for the
bass as well as other natural baits, the number one food choice
of a bass is a crawfish (also known as crayfish, crawdads, etc.).
A study was performed several years ago where 100 Crawfish and
100 shad were put in a tank of water with all species of bass
(smallmouth, spotted, and largemouth). To much surprise, the
crawfish were eaten in a ratio of 4 to 1 over the shad! There are
several reasons for this, but the most important one is that a
crawfish is an easy prey for a bass to catch, and they are fairly
easy for a bass to find. And once again contrary to popular
belief, studies show that there are actually more crawfish found
in vegetation areas than around naturally rocky areas or man-made
2.) Oxygen. The next element of
the three oxygen, an element that all living creatures need to
survive, including bass. Pay attention to oxygen in the water. By
knowing water oxygen content in various areas, an angler
will develop a better understanding why a bass acts the way it
does under the many different conditions. When a bass has a
limited supply of oxygen, it tends to get more disoriented and
much slower or lethargic. The "key" in understanding
the rules of oxygenic water is that the cooler the water, the
more oxygen content and on the flip side, the warmer the water
the less oxygen content. The more oxygen a bass can get usually
during the warmer months the more active it will be. Usually
during the summer when the water temperature hits the 80 degree
mark or higher, the oxygen in the water will start to diminish.
How does this relate to bass fishing? Well, a bass will
usually do one of two things in a condition such as this. A bass
will drop down (usually towards the thermocline mark) to water
that is cooler for a larger supply of oxygen, or a bass will
usually head for vegetation areas because of the constant
production of oxygen that aquatic plants naturally provide. This
is mostly the case during late spring, summer, and early fall.
Here are some areas where ample supplies of oxygen can be
found during these seasons:
- Rivers: Because of the constant flowing of the water.
- Creek mouths: Create a constant inflow of fresh water.
- Deep water areas: Deeper, cooler water can have a better
supply of oxygen
- Vegetation areas: constant oxygen producing aquatic plants.
- Areas of trees, stumps, and logs: The porous wood will hold
- Power plants: Create a constant discharge of oxygenic water
- Wind-blown banks: Create a constant oxygen source
and there are many others...
3.) Cover. The third element we
will talk about is cover. Cover is an extremely important element
when it comes to a bass for many reasons, and I would like to
cover some of the most important ones here now.
One of these reasons would be for concealment. A bass, being
known mostly as an "ambush feeder" will use cover such
as vegetation, rocks, stumps, trees, fall-downs, docks,
structures, holes, etc....to dart out after itís prey. A bass
really is a lazy-by-nature type of fish and will extend the least
amount of energy for the greatest amount of benefit. Bass are
also known as a territorial fish and will not travel a great
amount of distance outside of their chosen cover at any given
Another reason bass may need cover is because of itís eyes.
A bass does not have eye lids like you or I. As I understand it,
given prolonged exposure to the sunís rays, a bass will
eventually go blind. So cover is one of Godís way of protecting
their sight. Take notice next time you see a bass fishing show on
television, you will usually see bass being caught in shaded
areas in and around cover areas.
I hope this article will help you begin to get a better
understanding of a bass to become a more successful angler. If
you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact me at the
email address provided below. And by the way, with the extra
instruction time that it provides, I give my students at my 3-day
Bass Fishing School a much more in-depth tutelage of the
understanding of a bass during the different seasons, daily
conditions, weather fronts, etc. and how they would put a pattern
together under many different circumstances. Until Next Time!
Take Care & God Bless!
"The Bass Coach".... Roger Lee Brown