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Bass Fishing

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Mr.
English 1113
09/16/13
Bass Fishing: You’ll Be Hooked Americans choose many different activities to occupy their free time, all with the common goal to loosen up and have an enjoyable time. The outdoors can be the perfect setting to enjoy different activities or hobbies. With many options available, bass fishing is an ideal diversion to teach something new about nature and provide time to unwind. It can teach how to respect nature and provide a new understanding of sportsmanship, while also being a truly exciting experience that anyone could get hooked to. Bass fishing, no matter what species, can be an extremely enjoyable pastime if you learn to use patience, recognize the best place to fish, and understand bass’ behavior as well as how to catch them. “One only has to experience the heart-stopping thrill of hooking into a largemouth bass to become infatuated with this sport”
(Larson 15)! Patience is number one when it comes to bass fishing. All aspects of fishing revolve around using patience and being ready at all times. Fishing for largemouth bass is usually an all day event. Sometimes I may catch 10 to 15, other days I may only catch one or two. This is why patience is important, to refrain from getting bored or frustrated. It’s not about how many fish you catch, or if you caught more than someone else, it’s about experiencing the outdoors and spending time with nature. Going bass fishing is sort of similar to going to a baseball game. It’s great if your team wins or you catch a lot of fish, but it’s truly about the experience. Bass are a very reclusive and nomadic species, and can be difficult to locate and catch. Bass will move from place to place periodically depending on the weather and availability of food.
Many people that learn about bass fishing experience a different way of doing things and learn that a bass can bite at the most unexpected times. This is why it is imperative to exude patience and stay prepared at all times. The environment under water is so much different from that above the water, and bass also respond to different changes than humans. This is why it is difficult, and at the same time essential, to understand bass behavior and anticipate it.
This knowledge can take years to discover, yet practicing patience regularly can speed the process up tremendously. Locating the best area to fish can prove to be more difficult than expected, and an area that looks good to you may not look so good to a bass. First you have to find out what is available to you. You possibly could have access to public lakes, rivers, or even private ponds. Most
Americans in the southern U.S. have access to one, if not more, lakes and rivers. As a result, these areas are usually fished heavy and bass can be hard to come by. Nonetheless, there are still many areas of these waters that can produce good bass. Your best tool, to help understand the geography of a body of water, is a topographical map. These maps indicate any changes in the bottom of the lake. The further apart the lines on the map are, the flatter the bottom is and the closer together the lines are, the sharper the drop off is. You are looking for lines that are close together. These areas can occur anywhere in the lake. Bass like to stay grouped up next to the edge of a drop off. It doesn’t particularly matter how far the drop off is, as long as it is a considerably steep one. These areas tend to be good from summer to winter, but could easily be overlooked without a topographical map. If the lake or pond is man made, it possibly also has good underwater structure in the form of tree stumps. “Many times when land is cleared prior to the filling of the reservoir, the cutting crews avoid the hard-to-get-to areas and saw off the trees they can reach, leaving stumps….Bass relate good to these areas and they can also be found on a topographical map” (Nixon 62). Bass like the security of the timber, and will usually group up there. “To be efficient predators, the bass have to have cover, whether it’s shade under a dock or timber” (Circle 2). The springtime is spawning season for largemouth bass, and they like to find flat areas to spawn. Bass spawn once a year in the springtime and clear out circular areas surrounded with small rocks. These areas are called beds and this is where the females spawn or lay their eggs. In this time, the flat areas are good to fish, and sometimes in clear water you can see the beds. The only downside is that once they’ve laid their eggs they are no longer hungry, and your best bet to catching one is to cast on the bed to irritate the bass. Once you have the correct outlook for bass fishing and find the best area to fish, it’s time to learn more about the species and how to catch them. Bass are thought of as the superior freshwater fish. They have been proven to contain advanced knowledge compared to other fish and react to many more conditions. On the other hand, “The largemouth bass seems to have one major weakness… its never-ending quest for food” (Larson 47). This is where your advantage comes into play, if you know what their hungry for. A bass has a considerably small stomach; this is why they are in continuous search of food to satisfy their energy needs. Bass feed on a variety of forage in their life. In their first months they feed on insect larvae and microorganisms, by their second month they start to feed on smaller fish as well as smaller siblings. When a bass reaches 2 to 5 pounds it has matured into an efficient predator. Feeding habits of largemouth bass are influenced by the following: degree of huger, maturity and size of fish, sex of fish, spawning activities, water temperature, time of day and year, and many forage factors. (Larson 48-49). Choosing the perfect bait for the conditions can be difficult and sometimes you may have to use trial and error. There are still some good tips to go by to help you find the best lure. There are three main types of lures: crank baits, spinner baits, and soft plastics. Crank baits are the hard plastic lures that usually resemble a minnow. Some of them are made to float, and some are intended to sink. There is no right way to fish these; it just depends on what they are reacting to at the time. You always want to make your lure look as natural as possible and change the speed of your retrieval until you get a hit. Spinner baits are the lures with a couple metal blades and a skirt (stringy looking rubber thing wrapped around the hook). This bait sinks, and is designed to replicate a school of minnows. It is best to fish these lures close to the bottom, and actually try to bump it off the bottom. The speed of your retrieval should change until you have success and then stick with that speed. Both of these baits can be fished in open water or in structure. Soft plastics include: worms, lizards, tubes, and other crazy shapes. They are all fished the same, and it’s a relatively slow paced and consistent retrieval. You should cast the lure out and let it sink. It’s best to watch where your line goes into the water, and then pull your rod tip up to raise the lure off the bottom. From here, you reel in the slack line you created, let the lure sink to the bottom and repeat. These lures can prove to be extremely effective in many situations, and will become one of your most productive. Now hopefully you not only understand more about bass fishing, but also look forward to going soon. It can prove to be a great stress reliever, and a perfect activity for the whole family. From excitement, to tranquility, bass fishing offers something for everyone. It also gives all of us a chance to understand nature and get away from the everyday grind. At the same time, bass fishing should always be respected as well as the bass themselves. So go out and enjoy what nature has to offer.

Works Cited
Larson, Larry. Mastering Largemouth Bass. North American Fishing Club: 1989. 9/19/13
Hill, Danny. “How To Maximize Your Top water Hook-Ups.” Bassmaster Magazine Aug. 1997: 94-95.
Hicks, Marks. “It’s Not the Heat…” Field & Stream Aug. 2004: 36. 9/19/13 http://web34.epnet.com.libdb.chattanoogastate.edu.citation/html>.
Circle, Homer. “Fall Bass Secrets.” Outdoor Life Sep. 2004: 62. http://web34.epnet.com.libdb.chattanoogastate.edu/citation/html>.
Samsel, Jeff. “The Rise & Fall of Springtime Bass.” Tennessee Sportsman April 1997: 33-35.

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