Glenn Kilpatrick

Bass Fishing 101


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One Hundred And One Bass Fishing Hints, Tips And Facts.

  • Always keep a lookout for activity on the water gulls/tern’s diving could mean bait fish which could be getting chased by Bass..
  • Don’t be put off by darkness sometimes Bass come right to the waters edge after dark and chase baitfish in total darkness.
  • Be careful not to make to much disturbance when wading in calm shallow water, take more of a stealth approach..
  • Always buy lures/plugs in pairs because you are sure to be catching well on a certain lure only to lose it on a snag.
  • Always carry a pair of long nose forcep’s for unhooking, this makes unhooking of the Bass easier and you are less likely to get a treble in your hand..
  • Bigger tides seem to be a bit more productive than neap tides.
  • Crush the barbs of the treble hooks on lures , to aid unhooking which is less stressful to the fish and makes job a lot easier.
  • Wear polarised sunglasses to pick out the gullies and weed beds, also to pick out fish in clear water close in situations. They also protects your eyes from harmful rays when staring at the water for long periods.
  • Lures with silver in them seem to work very well in all conditions. Try and use bright colours like firetiger/greens etc in coloured conditions.
  • Juvenile bass are slow growing compared to most roundfish species, reaching approximately 33cm (0.9 lb) after 4 years and 41cm (1.5 lb) after 6 years.

maria chase bass lures

  • If you get a hunch about a spot , don’t overlook it , fish it hard.
  • Don’t get wrapped up in one spot if you get a bass out , bass move with the tide so should you.
  • Bass like the push at the beginning of the flood tide for picking out morsals and crabs before anything else gets them. Be there when the tide first floods and I’m sure the first thing you will get is bass.
  • Don’t be scarred to experiment.
  • Don’t be put off by the size of some bass lures – Bass aren’t !!!
  • Even the most unlikely looking plugs catch bass. I use the Strom Jointed Thunderstick a lot. Its the worst looking lure you will ever see but its also one of the best catchers.
  • People say you can only catch bass at first and last light. This is a myth as bass will feed at anytime of day. Put in some time learning when the bass will turn up at your local marks.
  • Keep a diary, noting down such things as Tide, Swell, Water clarity, what you caught, what you caught it on, what stage of tide the fish were caught. Get as much info as possible down on paper and this will pay dividends in the long run.
  • Don’t write off any mark. Bass are present almost everywhere on our coast.
  • Beware who you hand your hard earned information too. Bass sells for ridiculous prices and commercial and hobby netters are always ready to take advantage. Guard your marks with your life. Be aware that Government studies have been used to help commercial bass fishermen in the past and think twice before handing your catch data over to any researchers – It might just be the end of your fishing.

bass fishing - bass are present on most marks off our coast

  • Female bass grow faster than males.
  • The Maria Chase Lures are excellent for shallow water plug fishing, especially over kelp and rocky areas.
  • Bass like rocky areas just as much as sand – sometimes more so.
  • Late summer sees the peak of bass fishing for sea anglers. Early autumn sessions can often yield the best catches with the bigger solitary fish making a show.
  • Kayak fishing is a fantastic way to catch bass. Being afloat means you can stay on those outer scars long after the shore anglers have headed home.
  • Trolling a plug behind a kayak is an excellent way to locate a bass shoal. Once your amongst the fish then sit side saddle and cast at the bass.
  • Bass reach maturity at 4-6 years of age (35-40 cm) They are known to continue spawning for up to another 20 years.
  • If you keep a bass for the table, remember to check out its stomach contents when you gut the fish. The last meal of the bass will give you some good ideas on what to use for bait in future bass fishing trips.
  • Bass Legend Mike Ladle states that “If you want to catch big bass consistently then live baits (mackerel is good) and BIG dead baits (crab, squid, fish) are the way to do it. As always, finding the larger fish is the problem , look for snags, shallow water, strong flows, coloured water, etc.. Of course big fish will take lures and I’ve had many on plugs and poppers but lure fishing is not very selective for the big ones.”
  • The Rapala J13 is the ideal lure for deep water bass fishing. Its a great plug for catching bass from boats and kayaks.

?1 mackerel Spinners make great bass spinners too.

  • It is possible to catch bass on plugs in total darkness.
  • Freelined live sandeel, or lip hooked sandeel fished below a float are excellent methods for catching bass with livebaits.
  • Don’t overlook the ?1 mackerel spinners. They are great for bass too. Fish them by winding in fast.
  • For shore spinning try to use a rod of at least 10 ft. The longer rods seem to pass more action into the plug.
  • A fish from UK waters weighing 10 pounds – about 28 inches (71 cm) in length – would probably be 20 years old or more.
  • To catch bass from a kayak, simply : select and attach your plug, cast it in, Put the rod in the rod holder and paddle. Remember to set the drag to allow for the violent strike of the bass. The noise from the drag will also alert you to the presence of a bass whilst you are paddling.
  • Using fluorocarbon leaders makes the last several feet of line to the plug invisible, it also prevents your trebbles from damaging the braid.
  • Using braid when plugging gives you the edge especially when bass are being picky and tapping at the plug which they quite often do.
  • Try bubble-floating delta eels and retrieve slowly.
  • Match the lure used to the depth of water, and bear in mind that 9 times out of 10 bass will hit prey from below.
  • When targeting bass with bait, eg ragworm, try adding float beads to the hook. I have experimented with this and they are a must in my opinion.

kayak fishing for bass

  • Travel light and keep on the move.
  • There is lots of news on bass fishing here.
  • Wash your lures off with fresh water when you have finished using them.
  • Carry binoculars so you can look for bird/feed activity and spy on your bass fishing neighbours (Very crafty indeed).
  • Don’t believe anyone who tells you there are no bass in your area. They are there and you just need to find them.
  • The UK shore caught record bass weighed 19lb 11oz 12dr and was caught from Sandown Pier, Isle Of Wight in 2007.
  • Bass are the best thing since sliced bread.
  • The Rapala Knot is a fantastic knot that allows your plugs to work to their full potential.
  • The entire north east bass stock is thought to originate from the Thames estuary.
  • Yo Zuri crystal minnow is a top bass lure. An added bonus is this lure is a catch all and will also take passing mackerel, coalies and Pollock. I recently had a 9 pound pollock on the is plug.

buy bass plugs in pairs

  • You don’t need a surf when bass rock fishing, I find a gentle roll is ideal that gives the bass confidence to come in close and sniff out the peelers
  • Cast your bait alongside a structure, keep it close in, forget power casting
  • Velvet crabs, either soft or in the peeling stage, are the number one rock bass fishing bait
  • Hold your rod at all times when bait fishing so you feel the take, which is a gentle tap and pull followed by a strong forward lunge.
  • Slack liners are similar to cod takes, wind in to take the slack, only strike when you feel a positive take.
  • Use a running ledger, with about a 2 to 3 foot trace, leads should be only enough to get the bait out, 2 oz is ample in most situations.
  • As with most angling, trust your instincts, you will get a feel when the time is right, such as low light levels, evening time.
  • Bites from schoolies are sometimes unhittable and you wander why as the rod as been yanked from you, try smaller baits to expose more of the hook point.
  • When the shore line has empty crab shells among the pools, the bass won’t be far away as the tide begins to flood.
  • Take care with those dorsal fin spikes and the razor sharp gill plates.
  • Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for taking a bass home. Catch and release on a slow growing species is always good practice. 100% catch and release is personal preference so don’t be scarred to take some home for the table too – if you want to.

changes bass plugs can make all the difference

  • Plugs can still catch in murky water. Experiment with rattling plugs when clarity is not good.
  • Poppers are great lures for fishing over very shallow ground. Check out makes such as Yo Zuri Slider and Mag Popper, and the Storm Chug Bug.
  • A live Pouting is thought to be one of the top bass baits.
  • Sometimes you wont catch anything, so what, being out is rewarding in itself. A blank session holds valuable information for you too.
  • The length of the bass fishing season depends on many factors, one of them being water temperature. If the water is warmer in your area the bass will be about for longer periods.
  • Commercial pair trawling for bass kills Dolphins too.
  • At the present time there is no quota for commercial bass fishermen. This means they can take as many as they can catch.
  • Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society is the nationally recognised body for bass anglers.
  • The Minimum Landing Size for bass is currently 36cm. Many organisations have been campaigning to have this size limit raised.
  • A free lined butterfish (Blenny) is said to be deadly for bass in some areas.
  • August is said to be the best month for bass catches. However this is thought to be the month when most people fish for bass.
  • Dexters wedge and Abu Toby are said to be good bass spinners. These lures work higher in the water than other spinners.



  • If your not catching and you feel you should be – switch plugs. Often a change of colour, depth or pattern can make all the difference.
  • The Rapala X Rap was voted number 1 plug in a poll of bass fishing anglers on our fishing forum.
  • Once the sea temp drops below 8 – 10 degrees the bass stop feeding.
  • Fish tagged in Yorkshire have been recaptured in Scotland, Kent and Holland. One lucky angler caught a fish he had tagged 2 years earlier. Unbelievably in exactly the same place.
  • In 2000 CEFAS initiated a bass tagging programme. The study looked at the movement of bass around UK waters.
  • Live pouting (Blegg’s) are also a good bass bait.
  • Bass are creatures of habit.
  • There are lots of topics on bass fishing in our forum.
  • Bass require warmer winters to have a successful spawning season.
  • When bait fishing for bass ensure you use a sharp hook pattern like razer claw big bend.
  • One tagged bass (E416756) has become more important than a record fish. It was originally tagged by Tony Spiller on 24 may 2001, Tony caught the same fish fifteen months later on 21 august 2002 from almost the same spot. Thirteen months later on 17 September 2003, Tony recaptured the same fish, again from the same mark; and now, unbelievably, it has been recaptured by John Morgan on 21 August 2004, yet again from the same mark! It has become so well known locally, that it has been given a name – Billy! – Read about bass tagging here.
  • Sea fisheries committee’s have the power to increase the minimum landing size for bass. For example in Cornwall bass must be 37.5cm before you can legally take them home.
  • Spotted bass have recently been caught in UK waters.
  • When plugging, If something doesn’t work the first time, doing exactly the same thing again rarely results in a different outcome.
  • When using squid for bait, thaw them out before you go fishing and allow them to sit in their own juices before putting on the hook. Large squid baits fished on a 5 or 6 o hook are deadly for larger bass.
  • Observe the water and look for places with strong tide flow. Bass wont be far away.
  • Maggots from the flies that lay eggs in the rotting sea weed make good bass baits.
  • The initial splash and movement of a popper/surface plug usually attracts the bass so don’t be afraid to make this exaggerated.
  • When using poppers/surface plugs don’t forget a pause in the retrieve will often induce a take.
  • A quality surface lure is the Patchinko and is available in various colours, casts well and catches fish.
  • Try the vast ranges of soft plastic baits available  in conjunction with a light jig head, they can be fished in areas you wouldn’t want to risk your expensive plugs and can work out more economic.
  • Sometimes bass will take a plug without a rattle more readily than those with.
  • Get to know how your plugs/lures work, fishing them in the knowledge your working them correctly gives you more confidence.
  • If you change the hooks on your plugs/lures go for a similar size and style as this can effect its action.
  • Think about what your trying to imitate with your plug/lure with regard to size, shape and colour and select a plug to suit.
  • Patience is a must with your  bass outings. Stick with it and enjoy it, as the saying goes “good things come to those that wait”
  • Like with all things don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice its surprising what you can learn from a friendly conversation, email or  PM. Once you get your first bass you’ll be hooked for life !

This page was contributed to by : Gary Watson, Ray Maddison, The Davenator, Glenn Kilpatrick, Iain Sellors, Shadrap.

Last 5 Posts In Bass Fishing Category


14 Responses to Bass Fishing 101

  1. Latonia Gremler June 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Hi This is a excellent outdoor site and found the entry intriging,this will help my results especially when im trying to catch a bass,I will check back for more tips. Should you ever find some unheard of bait be sure to place then on your blog.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Sea Angling for Spearos - Page 70

  3. david chouls August 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    dont believe the hpye of expensive plugs being better than cheaper counterparts. give me a chugg over a mag popper anyday. also daiwa sp minnow will outfish most over shallow ground. kayaks may be an expensive way to catch a few fish but bass like a lot of movement over shallow rough ground… unfortunately kayaks dont fair so well in such conditions. bass also follow certain feeding habits at certain times of the year they will look for shore crab in april (or earlier depending on water temperature) end of may they seek velvets followed by the first peel of the small edible crab.this carries on throughout summer months with bass targeting certain crab and fish species, during these periods the bass can become almost “blinkered” and mainly seek that particular food source….. also dont be suprised by a small group of large fish returning to the exact same mark to within the same 7-10 days of the same month each year…..fishing for bass is one of the most basic types of fishing you will ever do. there is no need to over complicate it, just understand the habits of the fish and you will get results

    Reply
  4. admin May 10, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Thankyou David, that sounds like excellent advice.

    Reply
  5. Gary Tunbridge August 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Hi All, Am fishing for bass tonight for the first time after a 15 year lay off form fishing, i live on the south coast in Bournemouth and i looked at all your tips and will let you know how i get on. Will post a photo off the 6 pounder tomorrow..LOL Thanks for the tips…

    Reply
  6. José September 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve just started fishing, I’ve been twice spinning for bass and nothing!!! What’s wrong!! I got talking to the local tackle shop and they said just be patient!! Advice would be very much appreciated!!

    Reply
  7. admin September 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Can I suggest you join our forum (link in top menu), and ask the question there. Bass fishing isnt as easy as some think, but once you work a few things out, you will catch.

    Reply
  8. Morley December 23, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Fresh water isn’t affected by “tide”.

    Reply
  9. Kevin July 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Wanna get the best fishing baits that can attract varieties of fishes? Don’t worry, try out top quality Dendrobaena worms, and see how well they work and help fulfilling your wish in less time.

    Reply
  10. Gary August 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    great site, good tips on bass fishing will try comments left, and post my own if I have any luck catching them

    Reply
  11. Daniel August 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I have recently semi retired and intend to spend more time fishing from the shore. The above tips have been really helpfull and I can’t wait to put them into practice. Have booked a few days in Pembroke in Early September and will post how we got on as a novice.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Bass Fishing 101 Tips, Advice And Help. A Top Bass Anglers Resource. » Fishing tips and news

  13. tim pilkington March 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Enjoyed.a lot of good info.am fishing NW Scotland at the start of may,to early for bass from the shore.

    Reply
    • Glenn Kilpatrick March 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Hi Tim. You will certainly find them on bait at that time of year. Live Peeler will be king, but lug always works.

      Reply


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