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INTERMEDIATE GUIDE to BASS FISHING: 2A - Seasonal Bass Behavior

Hello everyone, welcome back to HatCamBass' INTERMEDIATE GUIDE to

Bass Fishing presented by Mystery Tackle Box. My name is Jeff and in this episode

we're going to talk about seasonal bass behavior specifically where you can

locate bass from season to season, why they're there, and also some good baits to

catch them on. As conditions change from season to season

bass go on the move. In part 2 of our Beginner's Guide we pointed out that bass

have just three primary concerns: food, survival, and reproduction. All three also

greatly contribute to seasonal movement. For food, a bass must follow migrating

food supplies. For survival, they must seek ideal water temperatures and oxygen

levels. For reproduction, they must spawn in areas where eggs can

hatch successfully. Water temperature. Oxygen levels. Light penetration and food

supply...these are all driving factors. Fall, winter, spring, and summer. The Four

Seasons. Except, in bass fishing, there's

more like 6. Behavior is pretty diverse in the spring when bass reproduce so it

makes much more sense to divide this period further into three different sub

seasons: pre spawn, spawn, and post spawn. So let's start breaking this down season

by season beginning with the fall.

The fall season begins with a movement from deep summer sanctuaries to

shallower water. As temperatures begin to cool bait fish play a huge role this time

of year. On typical reservoir style lakes, schools of bait like shad will migrate

into the shallower tributary arms where they become extremely active. Shad are

constantly on the move in the fall often roaming in slightly deeper areas of these

creek arms for most of the day then retreating to shoreline cover in the

evening. With so much activity bass have numerous opportunities to feed, and they

take full advantage of it. You can expect bass to be located in a variety of areas,

but the common denominator is always nearby bait fish. Structure found where

creek arms open into the main lake like shallower humps, large flats, and main lake

points are all areas where bass can lie in wait for schools a bait to bunch

up as they move by. Also, shad will push further back into tributary arms as

water temps continue to fall and bass will follow. So fishing nearby coves and

secondary points near the mouths of these creeks can also be productive.

You can expect bass to be holding to various cover in these areas like boat

docks, timber, and grass lines. Because bait fish are so prominent, your choice

of lure needs to reflect that. Shallow to medium-running crank baits and willow

leaf spinner baits are probably the most effective baits

this time of year. A lipless crankbait or even a top water popper style bait can

also work wonders if you happen to find bass in a feeding frenzy near a school of

shad. Shad are not fully grown this time of year so you'll have more success with

smaller profile baits. Also, they suspend. So you typically want to make sure to

keep your baits off the bottom. Color will mostly depend on water clarity with

natural colors working better in clear water and flashy colors working better

in stained water. From one of the most active seasons of the year to the most

inactive season of the year: winter. Cold weather pushes bass and shad to deeper

main lake areas where water temperatures are more stable and less

cold compared to shallower water. Before we continue let's clarify that bass do

not hibernate. They don't stop feeding. They don't stop moving in the winter.

They simply do much less of each. Bass are cold blooded which means their

bodies take on the temperature of their environment. Cold water slows their

biological processes, and they simply require less food and have less energy

for movement. Less movement is a big factor in where and how you'll catch

bass this time of year. Expect them to be located around structural areas with

steep depth changes like creek channel drop-offs

or rock ledges which allow them to cover depths quickly without exerting much

energy. Main lake humps, submerged roadbeds,

standing timber in deeper water...these are all high percentage locations, and

you'll likely find them grouped up this time of year. A slower presentation is

usually needed in the winter since bass feed far less frequently and are less

willing to chase baits. Baits like jigs, spoons, and grub-style plastics rigged on

jig heads can be hopped slowly along the bottom and are great at probing deep

vertical structure. Crankbaits and bladed baits like under spins work as

well especially during warming trends. If you're in need of a search bait and

wants to cover lots of water quickly don't discount the lipless crankbait

which tends to single out more active fish. In clear water, a jerkbait also

makes for a great search bait and is considered one of the more effective

winter baits. The first big warming trend marks the beginning of what has to be

the most exciting, diverse, and sometimes confusing season: spring. Bass leave their

winter sanctuaries and begin the process of reproducing which involves building

up energy in the pre-spawn, working to hatch eggs in the spawn, and then

recovering from the stress of reproduction in the post-spawn. The

interesting thing about the spring season is that all three of these sub

seasons are often happening at the exact same time as bass do not spawn uniformly.

Bass in the pre-spawn stage begin to move closer to their desired spawning

locations. As bass leave their deep winter spots they will migrate back into

tributary arms using structure and cover exclusively as navigation points.

So fish any structural features between winter spots and likely spawning grounds.

Bass become more and more active as temperatures warm and they also tend to

stick tightly to cover as they make this journey. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless

crankbaits, chatterbaits can all work quite well this time of year. Work these

baits faster and faster as temperatures rise to cover water quickly, slowing down

along the way around isolated cover like brush piles and stumps with a jig or

Texas rig. In lakes and reservoirs the red rattletrap has become known as THE

primary pre-spawn baits as crawfish become a prominent food source in late

winter to early spring. When bass are ready to spawn, male bass move on to

spawning grounds which are often shallower, hard-bottom flats and wind-

protected areas. Females wait nearby until they're rounded up to drop their

eggs, and the male is then left to defend the nest as the eggs hatch. We'll go into

more detail in our video devoted entirely to spawning bass, but a variety

of baits can be used successfully during this phase. Soft jerkbaits like a fluke,

jigs, lizards, and ribbon tail worms are just a few that work well. Keep in mind

though that bass are often not drawn to your lure as food this time of year. It's

much more likely they are reacting to baits based on their protective

instinct of the nest. A couple of

important notes about when and where

bass spawn...expect the spawn to kick off in the northern parts of a body of

water first because these areas typically warm faster since they're

protected from colder north winds. Also, water clarity is important for

spawning fish as the right amount of sunlight is needed to successfully hatch

eggs. So on murkier lakes you can expect spawning bass to be in shallower water.

On clearer lakes you might see this occurring at deeper depths. The post-spawn

is where things can get tricky. Bass are in full recovery mode after spawning

which usually puts them into a sort of a funk. Females will often be suspended

under cover not far from beds like boat docks, submerged brush, or lay downs and

you'll have to rely on erratic action to get them to bite. Baits like a jerkbait,

swim jig, or a colorado leaf spinner bait are great options. Males are more

active and stick to nests briefly to protect fry. Bluegill imitators or even a

top water walking bait around nests can work great here. Also, the shad and

bluegill spawn occurs not long after bass spawn in similar shallow protected

areas so choose colors to match whatever bass are currently feeding on. Watermelon

reds, pumpkin colors are all great choices for soft plastics, as well as

natural colors like sexy shad for spinnerbaits, or chatter baits.

The summer heat pushes most bass back to deep main lake sanctuaries where

temperatures are cooler and shad are plentiful. Deep main lake river channels,

ledges, and humps are common locations. You might think this sounds a lot like

winter except this time of the year bass do remain active. They ARE warm water

fish after all and can thrive in the summer.

However, extreme heat is a stressor so to compensate summer bass typically will

feed aggressively but only in short bursts. Jigs, Carolina-rigged soft plastics, drop

shots, deep diving crankbaits are all great deep summer baits. Timing is often

critical. So, if you happen to locate deep water bass that aren't currently

feeding, resort to much slower presentations. Another critical component

of summer bass fishing is depth because there is such a thing as too deep. Lack

of light penetration and insufficient oxygen levels become an issue the deeper

you go. Fishermen often refer to something called the thermocline as the

barrier to which bass will not descend below. For the purposes of this video, we

can say that on clearer bodies of water bass will often be deeper than on lakes

with stained water but be aware that a sort of dead zone CAN exist at the

deepest depths. What about shallow summer bass? Several

ecological factors prevent the majority of bass from setting up in shallower

water, but you will find some of them there. Focus on shaded cover for shallow

summer bass and you will always have your best luck in the early morning and late

evening when bass might be tempted into feed around highly vegetated areas

where bait tends to hover. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, we can never fully

predict bass behavior with 100% accuracy because there's just too many different

variables that can change even hour to hour much less season to season that make it

really tough. So by applying seasonal techniques to your fishing you can

effectively and efficiently eliminate unproductive water on any body of water

that you go to. So we're talking about making a highly educated guess here

that's going to greatly increase your chances of catching fish quickly and

catching more of them as the seasons change. Thank you so much for watching

guys be sure to subscribe I'd love to see you come back and watch some more

videos and share this around with people that you know might be interested in

bass fishing. Also check out our sponsor Mystery Tackle Box. Once again thanks for

watching the Intermediate Guide to Bass Fishing we will see you next time!