Are you wanting to catch bigger bass? You’ve come to the right place.
Bass are usually cooperative, but to catch bigger ones, you’ll have to learn a few things. Bigger bass are older, have more experience, and any bass over 5 lbs. will be female, and extra suspicious. To catch them, you’ll need to learn things like location, what equipment to use, and lots of tips and tricks.
How Big Do Bass Get?
To start off with, when we talk about bass, most of the time we mean Largemouth, Smallmouth, or Spotted Bass, which are not ‘true’ bass like Striped Bass, Channel Bass, White Bass, etc…. They are members of the Sunfish, or Panfish family, and closely related to bluegills, and crappie.
The World Record Largemouth Bass was 22 lbs. 4 ounces, caught in 1922 by George Perry at Montgomery Lake, near Jacksonville, Ga. on a perch-colored Creek Chub Wigglefish. The Wigglefish is a jointed crankbait. He used 24 lb. test Black-O-Reno line, and a baitcasting reel (Spinning, and Spincasting reels had not been invented, yet…). There have been many claims of beating Perry’s record, but The International Game Fish Association has not recognized any of the claims so far.
The World Record Smallmouth is 11 lbs. 15 oz., caught by David Hayes in 1955, at Dale Hollow Lake near the Tennessee-Kentucky border, using a pearl-colored Bomber crankbait on a True Temper rod, and a Penn Peer baitcasting reel spooled with 20 lb. test line.
The World Record Spotted Bass was caught by Nick Dulleck on New Bullards Bar Reservoir, near Yuba City, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, Ca., in 2017. He caught it on a Dirty Jigs Finesse Football jig with a Yamamoto Double Tail trailer, using a baitcasting reel and 25 lb. test line.
These are the high bars you have to shoot for if you want big bass.
Equipment To Catch BIG Bass
Big bass are very strong, and like to run into cover when hooked. This is very hard on equipment, so you need gear that can stand up to the job.
A heavy action rod is the weapon of choice for most serious large bass anglers. You need enough backbone to be able to drag bass out of cover before they can get you hung up.
Baitcasting reels are also pretty much standard, because you need tough, heavy gears to be able to crank a bass out of deep cover.
Your lures need to be on the large size, 1/2 oz and larger, because big fish eat big bait. You want to weed out the small fry by using lures so big they are unlikely to be attacked by smaller bass.
Your line needs to be strong enough to yank a bass from cover without breaking. I’d say 20 lb.test would be the minimum, and braided lines are better than monofilament because they have less stretch.
Lure choice would be up to you, but from the records, it would seem that crankbaits may be your best bet. They can dive deep, where the lunkers lay. Large jigs would seem to be a close 2nd choice.
As to colors, remember: Light colors for dark water, and dark lures for light water, and after about 20’ deep, colors really don’t matter as much as contrast, because the colors disappear at depth.
Where To Find Big Bass
Locating big bass is just like locating the smaller ones. They will be in the same types of structure, only in deeper water. You’ll seldom catch a bass over 6 lbs. in less than 10’ of water.
Lunkers will sit in structures as far as 35 ‘ deep sometimes. They will be located along drop-offs, channels, old creek beds, near submerged timber, sunken cars, old houses, etc… They will usually find a depth that has the temperature they like the best, in the high 70s.
You will find bass in the thickest, grimiest, and muckiest weed beds and other structures. They will be directly in the cover, as far back as they can get. You need to get your lure right in the thick of things, which is why 8” – 10” plastic worms are so popular, rigged Texas-Style. It is also why Drop Shot rigs are becoming the preferred way to nail big bass.
Tips and Tricks
Big bass like big food, and will ignore things they think are too small to bother with.
Timing Is Everything
If you look at the records, trophy bass were mostly caught in the middle of the day.
Big bass don’t chase things. They don’t have to. Fish slow and deliberate.
You don’t have to look for new places to fish to catch big bass. You just have to change the way you look at things.