There’s simply no question that fishing for largemouth bass is the most popular piscatorial sport in the country.  Literally millions of dollars are spent each year on fishing tournaments, more millions on tackle, bass boats, trolling motors, and other necessities, and time on the water spent casting for these greenish fighters simply can’t be estimated.  So, finding a flood of information on how to catch bass is easy, but if you don’t have a lifetime or two to read, it’s best to keep it simple.

The standard way to catch these high leaping fighters is to work along the shoreline of one lake or another casting at every stump, fallen log, and rock you can find.  Most use pig and jig combinations or plastic worms fished slowly, and they catch fish.  But since bass move into such spots around twilight and most leave in fairly early morning hours, your best catch will be from grey daylight on to maybe eight or nine a.m. depending on clear skies or overcast.  A few will remain in prime cover, usually wood, but action definitely slacks off as morning progresses.

 So, without writing or reading a book, there’s one technique that will keep you catching more or less all day long, and that’s fishing docks.  Too many bass hunters ignore the docks and doggedly keep casting shorelines, but I met a man this spring who’s become a real believer.

“A friend of mine and I went up to East Harbor” he said “and spent about six hours casting docks.  We just moved from one dock and pier to another, flipping dark plastic worms as far back underneath them as we could, and simply slayed the fish!  We caught three good ones from beneath one dock alone, and I don’t know how many we caught that morning.  It was a great day.”

There’s good reason why largemouths like docks.  They’re dark and shadowy, which bass like, and they make fine ambush spots for passing bluegills, crappie, small perch, and other morsels of swimming food.  All they need do is lie there and wait.  I’ve known this for a fair number of years, too.  A big private lake that I fished many a time had a good number of docks and I often cast beneath them with a small white jig for crappies.  The jigs produced bass too, enough that I switched to plastic worms and made some serious hauls of fish that occasionally passed four pounds.  It’s something to keep in mind if your shoreline casting is slacking off.

I’ll add one more simple fact for hungry bass fishermen when the shoreline doesn’t produce, and that’s to go to the weed beds.  Many casters don’t like them because they’re tough to fish, but bass set up ambushes in the green stuff for the same reason they lurk under docks, it’s good cover.  Sometimes they’ll burrow into the grass, then turn around and wait for lunch with just their nose and eyes showing, and sometimes they’ll hide along a corridor or against an open spot in the grass or wait beneath lilypads and clumps of spadderdock, but they’re still not hard to catch.

If the weeds are heavy, try casting with an unweighted plastic worm, making it splash as much as possible.  Weedless spoons work too, especially with porkrind trailers, and if the weeds aren’t thick, try spinnerbaits which are at least semi-weedless.  But do make sure the beds are close to deep water and not far back along a shallow flat.  Bass like the weeds, but when their bellies are full, most return to deep water to lay up for the day.  They won’t make a long swim to find home territory again.

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