After showing our five-year-old son the basics of how to hold a rod and reel, how to reel in the fish, and where to cast, my wife and I began casting a line of our own into the water at a favorite farm pond.
With the sun beginning to set, the water glistened as we kept fishing. I caught five decent-sized largemouth bass in a short five-minute period. With each setting of the hook, my wife and I explained to our son why we were doing each step, how to remove the hook and the importance of turning the fish back into the water to catch another day.
After returning home from our evening fishing trip, I remembered when I was younger and played summer baseball. Anytime our team struggled or seemed to get off track, our coach would often say, let’s play fundamental baseball. He would then remind us of the most straightforward task of playing the game, which would reset our minds, and typically result in playing the game better. I caught several good bass as we fished along the pond bank that evening while explaining the fundamentals of fishing and keeping everything simple.
In the world of bass fishing, whether fishing around a small farm pond or a professional angler competing at a high level, when struggles happen, sometimes we need to instruct like a coach, explaining to stick to the fundamentals.
The fundamentals of bass fishing may not be as simple as how to cast and reel, like when teaching a five-year-old boy who wants to learn how to fish. Yet, if an angler refers to them when needed, a few fundamentals can help get them re-focused and back to catching fish like a pro.
Lure Presentation & Casting Accuracy
When watching a pro angler, skipping a lure between the wooden beams of a dock can often intimidate the more amateur fisherman. Yet, knowing how to cast, proper reeling speed, and pinpoint accuracy when casting is crucial to consistently catching big bass.
Learning to cast in a small diameter target is critical in adequately presenting bait to the fish. When the need to refer to the fundamentals presents itself, anglers can set up a small ring in their backyard and cast until they get more consistent at hitting their target. The same can be done while fishing at a small farm pond or other small body of water. Pick a spot, then cast towards that specific target each time.
Also, having a better lure presentation means knowing the proper speed to reel. Every lure used when bass fishing requires the right amount of speed. Each bait replicates some baitfish, frog, insect, or other food source fish want to bite. Knowing the proper speed each bait would naturally make is crucial in getting more bites.
Lastly is being familiar with the cadence or proper movement of each lure. Knowing which lure imitates or resembles the baitfish or food naturally swimming in the body of water being fished is important. Matching colors, shapes, and sizes is essential, yet how to move the lure through the water to imitate that bait accurately is even more vital in fooling big bass to bite.
Scouting & Mapping The Area You Are Fishing
When deer or turkey hunting, scouting is one of the best-used tools for success. The same goes for when fishing for big bass. When asked how they prepare for tournament fishing, many pro anglers will say that they spend hours looking at maps and graphs, spending real time on the water, scouting, and mapping out the best potential areas to begin fishing.
When planning a fishing trip, knowing the type of water being fished can make incorporating fundamentals such as lure selection and lure presentation much more effortless. A map or chart that shows where to navigate safely and where the hot spots for holding fish will most likely be found is vital when scouting. These maps will show deep holes, grass lines, and structures such as rocks, boat docks, etc.
Knowing water temperatures and depths can determine where and how to fish. Having the upper-hand knowledge of where to fish and where baitfish will be located due to certain water temperatures and depths allows the angler to be ahead of the game before making their first cast into the water.
The next time you feel like your fishing game is in a slump, be more prepared by scouting and mapping potential fishing areas, then follow up with fundamental fishing tactics known to catch fish. When sticking to the basics, the fisherman will experience more consistent success.