If you are looking for an exciting fishing vacation, come to Arizona, the fishing is great. AZ fishing is always great. People, even some people that live here don’t realize how many lakes and rivers offer competitive fishing in Arizona. We are not talking about muddy ponds that dry up; we are talking about the Colorado River, Lake Powell, and Lake Havasu and other places where professional tournaments are held.
Do you like to catch trout? Here is an example of the quality of AZ fishing; Lee’s Ferry produces one very specific type of trout over and over every day of the year. They are so prolific the limit is 2 per day. This is the 10 pound variety. That is not a typo, Lee’s Ferry is the headquarters and command post for trout world wide and the big Generals hang out there. I have been happy to catch Silver salmon a third that size.
What are your feelings about bass? If you like to hook into trophy size bass consistently, then you really need to come fishing in AZ. The deep warm canyon lakes are the perfect environment for big bass and every day someone fishing in Arizona has probably released a lunker that would rival your state record for Largemouth, Smallmouth and even Stripers.
Would you rather fish in luxury or camp out at the lake? I hate to say it again, but come fishing in Arizona. I will need to do a bit of fact checking on this, but Phoenix is the home of some of the most luxurious golf resorts and country clubs in the world including a TPC course. Do not be surprised if you see more than one pro and a celeb or two when you are hitting the links at Troon or another resort of your choice.
Coincidentally, a fully charged golf cart would probably get you to a premier AZ fishing location where you can catch a monster or two and still have enough charge to get back to town for your next tee time.
Phoenix is a resort town without a doubt and a series of 8 world class bass fishing lakes are just N.E. of the city with a gem in the center and that is Alamo Lake. This is a very secluded lake that you need to hike into. Because of this it is secluded (not small, just secluded) and no motors are allowed so it is about as pristine as you can get in this day and age. Fishing in AZ at this lake is truly like taking a step back in time.
Another luxury or rustic choice for AZ fishing is Lake Powell way up north on the border. This is a huge, deep lake with too many places to camp, a resort and even luxury house boat rentals. When was the last time you were out bass fishing without missing a game or movie while at the same time having gourmet meals delivered directly to your boat?
Are gourmet meals a bit too much, how about if you just run out of something or want a couple lures? It is all a simple phone call away.
AZ fishing – An experience like to other is not an exaggeration. When you come fishing in Arizona, trophy size trout and bass are just a given.
Bass fishing is not an activity or a pass time, it is a lifestyle as well as a multi billion dollar industry. The bass fishing industry offers an endless product line of everything from rods and reels to boats and even baits. There is no such thing as a catfish boat or a catfish rod, there is a bass boat though, and it is distinctive to other boats.
Oh, the baits and lures, that is an industry with endless choices by itself. There must be literally a million different baits and lures on the market and each one sports a different application and technique. The isle at Walmart loaded with bass fishing baits and lures is like women’s accessories department for a bass fisher.
This is where hardened, anti-shopping burly bass fishers will stand forever; comparing prices, colors, holding a bait up to get a better look from the fishes point of view and shaking packaging to see the “action”. God forbid if something is miss-priced; it will be sold out at the first discovery.
The manufacturers don’t want to hear this, but by using the proper bass fishing techniques you can go out and be very successful with only 2 types of baits, and technically you will be able to land trophy size bass with just one type of bait.
The two super bass fishing baits are the Plastic worms, and Spinner baits. Truth be told, the Plastic worms are all you need with the proper technique. The best part is they are so inexpensive I don’t even think you can buy them anywhere where they are individually packed.
When it comes to bass fishing, technique is everything. I have been using plastic worms for over 35 years; it all started when I was about 9 years old. One early morning while my father and uncle were unloading the boat, I went off to the side and slid a black plastic worm on a hook and threw it to the edge of the weeds. Boom, Lake record 6 pound bass just like that. I must have hit it on the head because that was the only fish I caught on plastic worms for 6 more years (but I still had faith).
The problem was the technique. The name “plastic worm” made me think it was like a night crawler; put it on the hook and wait, quietly. That stupid worm lasted for about 2 years until one day a snag took it to a better place.
The turning point came when we had a new family move in down the street. They were from Florida and the only source of income the family had was from the father bass fishing. New F-150 4X4, 2 bass boats each worth more than a sports car and every toy you can imagine. All this came from plastic worms exclusively and as our families became good friends, I got educated.
The bass fishing techniques for plastic worms are about the same for all the million style and sizes of plastic worms. The rule is that it is not a worm, it is an artificial lure designed to make a bass bite. If it is sitting like a dead night crawler it is just another piece of plastic trash sitting on the lake bed with all the other discarded junk.
You need to cast it into the Lilly pads and / or grass, and pull it through. Bring it in and do it again. One great technique is to even cast it about a foot onto the bank and work it into the water. Often the sound of something hitting the water will attract a big bass, but if they get startled by a plastic worm that comes out of nowhere, they like that too.
Another great technique for using the plastic worm when bass fishing is as the bait for a rigged jig; they are very durable and come in a rainbow of colors and styles. With a bright colored plastic worm sitting a couple feet off the lake bed and moving slightly in a stationary position you will find customers.
Needless to say, the plastic worm has become a winner for me over and over since then.
The Spinner bait also requires a set of bass fishing techniques of its own because it is also a multi purpose game fish bait. Everything from record Largemouth bass to Northern Pike like this bait, it is all in the presentation.
Most successful anglers treat the spinner bait the same as the plastic worm. Let it rip into the weeds and grass, clean and repeat. Even the technique of dropping it a foot on the bank works well. The blades do not need to be spinning to catch a monster, believe me.
The nice thing about the spinner bait is that a single rig can be changed into something totally different within seconds just by changing or adding a second plastic skirt. Some people even go as far as to add a plastic worm to the bait.
Like the plastic worm, a single spinner bait can work at almost all depths. For more depth, just let it sink a bit before retrieval. It will spin by itself on the way down so you may get a hit that way too.
Bass fishing jigs are part of the anglers arsenal normally used when the bass are not in the shallow water along the banks. There are hundreds of reasons why they would be in deeper water, but to be effective at bass fishing you need to go to the fish.
This is where the bass jig comes in. When we are talking deeper water, we are not normally talking 100 feet or other crushing depths; it is just that bass like a specific environment at different times of the year or even day and they will go where they want.
The term “Bass fishing jig” is a very broad term that covers more than just a type of bait or lure. There are specific products manufactured and marked as “bass fishing jigs” that have very few other applications than a bass jig, but a live or plastic worm could also be a bass jig, it is all in the application.
You can even use a bass jig as a type of crank bait or lure if you are trying to just get some depth on your retrieval. There are very few rules and not many states have inspectors to ensure your spinner spins or your jig jiggles.
We will cover both the bass fishing jig (the lure) and the bass fishing jig (the rig and technique).
First for the lure type of bass fishing jigs.
This is a specific piece of tackle that normally has a lead ball at the front with an “up” facing hook incorporated into the lead. The lead looks like the head of a fish or some other animal and you simply attach a plastic worm or a skirt to the jig to make it look more appealing and give it some action.
There are two techniques to use this jig as a bass jig (jigs are used universally for almost all types of fish) and you will never get three people in a room with the same thought as what is best, so I just use both.
Irrelevant of the depth of the water the bass will collect in a layer or band at the temperature they want. Your goal is to go through that layer until you find them. Some people think you need to hit it from the top, others say from the bottom. I don’t think it makes a difference because gravity is gravity and to come from the bottom you had to go through the top at some point.
Cast out a little and let the line out so the jig drops, but count in your mind how long it is dropping. If you get a hit on the way down remember the count. After a reasonable amount of time (few seconds, 10 at the most) bring it in and if you get a hit coming up remember the count. If you consider the time count and mentally factor in how far you cast you will have a ballpark depth of where the fish are.
After a bit of “tuning” lets say you isolate the fish to a depth of about 12 feet. Now you can cast out, do the “count” and then retrieve your bass jig quickly through this depth band of fish.
If this is too complicated you can just have a seat and lower your line over the side of the boat and “jiggle” it at all depths and hope to get a bite.
Second is the rig type of bass fishing jig.
With this type of bass jig you configure your bait to be a jig. You do this by putting on a plain hook with about 3 feet of extra line behind it. On the extra line slide a bell sinker up and tie it off at the distance you want your bait to be off the lake bed (most people like about 2 feet).
Simply put on your favorite bait (plastic worms work great) and you are ready.
The rig type of bass jig is much more versatile than the lure type especially in shallow water. Just because the rig type carries a title of “bass jig” does not mean you cannot cast it over to a nice dead log sitting in 3 feet of water.
The purpose of the rig type of jig is to get your bait in front of the fish, wherever they are.
There are probably a million bass fishing tips out there, but I want to launch this series with a universal tip which is the “little extra” part. This not exclusively a bass fishing tip, it is a boating tip.
We all have the legally required personal safety equipment on our boats or else we would not be on the water. The people that have the safety equipment are rarely the people that need it, it is the ones that don’t. Even if you carry a few of those stupid Styrofoam swimming pool float noodles in your storage compartment you can make a serious difference when the time comes.
Ok, here we go with our top 3 Bass fishing tips:
- Lets start with the Boat.
This is going to sound so simple and stupid (and it is) I am surprised to see how many people do this.
Do not go on your boat with a key ring that would make a Janitor jealous. Most people do have a key ring with every key from the house to the safe deposit box and everything in between (including the boat) but it is unnecessary and not a good move.
Tip: Have another set of keys that is ONLY the boat ignition and your vehicle door key if it is different than the ignition. Lock your big keys in the glove box or throw them under the seat.
Tip: Most boats have a lock box built in to the frame or structure. Put an extra boat ignition key and vehicle door key in the lock box and keep it locked with a combination lock, not a key lock.
I am definitely not speaking from experience so don’t even think like that. You do not want to be way out on the other side of Bartlett Lake and somehow lose your ignition key and need someone to tow you back to the launch. Then try to find a coat hanger in the middle of the desert while waiting for the State Patrol to maybe come by. It can happen.
- Location and conditions.
Now lets get to the bass fishing part of bass fishing tips. You really need to know the underwater conditions of the waterway you are fishing, but that is not what we are talking about here. This bass fishing tip is to know the “conditions” of the location you are fishing in.
Here is the clearest example I can give, but this specific condition exists almost everywhere in America.
Phoenix Arizona has 9 absolutely incredible bass fishing lakes within literally a 1 hour drive from almost anywhere in the city. Eight of these trophy producing bass fishing lakes are to the N.E. of the city and one lake stands alone to the extreme N.W.
This lake, Lake Pleasant has a mind of its own. One minute it will be smooth as glass and within 15 minutes, the flap of a humming bird wing will cause 30 MPH winds to rip across the lake. A relaxing day of bass fishing can turn into very serious safety situation and a race to get to back to the launch. Boats have swamped and sank on this lake.
Tip: Know how a quick change in the weather will affect your bass fishing experience and be prepared for it.
- Expect to lose anything you take on the water.
This is one of my favorite bass fishing tips because it happens to everyone without even thinking about it. You will think about it when you catch your next fish, but that is because I brought it up here.
Most people call this thing “Buck Fever” but it is really Bass Fever. This is the small window of time between when that big bass hits and you land that monster. I didn’t realize this myself until we were shooting a video one day, but time stands still for that period and nothing else matters to anyone on board.
Everyone is focused on getting their line in or grabbing the net or both.
This is when the tackle box gets kicked over or even over board, you could “lose” the keys to the boat or your fishing partner can’t seem to find his rod and reel after the excitement ends.
All humor aside, this is also the prime time when people get seriously hurt. If you are out bass fishing with your child, make sure they always wear a life vest period and you should set the example. You do not want to lose something really important.
Tip: When out bass fishing be aware of bass fever and think safety.
When it comes to finding or selecting fishing lures for bass you have thousands of choices, but there really are only two that work. Not two lures for bass, two concepts of lures for bass. You either go “la natural” or you get “crazy”, there is very little room for “naturally crazy” when it comes to fishing lures (or baits) for bass.
Bass are either in a bad mood or they want a quick snack or two; often times they are in both a bad mood and want a snack. This just increases your chance of picking the right lure or bait. People that are very experienced with fishing for bass know this, they probably have not looked at it this way before, but I have an odd gift for seeing things in an odd way.
I have personally witnessed a bass eat a wild duckling about the size of a tennis ball and had either a bass or the most aggressive perch in the western hemisphere bite the fingers on my right hand as I was trailing them in the water off the boat.
Ducks and fingers are not common fishing lures for bass, but they obviously work.
The key to selecting the right fishing lures for bass specifically relies more on your delivery and presentation than the actual lure itself. Your mission is to figure out where the bass are located and then get your bass fishing lure of choice to them because they will rarely travel farther than the range of sight or sound to eat something. Just because they are always ready for a fight does not mean they go looking for one.
You go to them, they don’t come to you.
You often hear the term “Water Column” used when people are talking about fishing for bass or lures for bass. This term is very simple when you understand what it means, and it means exactly what it says. If you take a lake or waterway and look at it by “depth” that is a column. Fish at the surface are at the top of the column and fish at the lake-bed are at the bottom of the column.
Bass, more than other apex predator species will move along this water column during different times of the year. In one part of the year they prefer the upper levels while other parts of the year they may like the depth of 12 or 18 feet. Other times they may like it at 40 feet deep. Depending on the climate, they may like less than 5 feet in the morning and 25 feet at noon. You just need to know your fish.
This is where your choice of fishing lures for bass come into play or to use bass fishing techniques with lure that are not specifically designed for bass. The lures you want to use are the ones that will get to where the fish are, either through their engineering or through the way you rig them.
A plastic worm is one of the classic bass fishing lures because within a few minutes you can modify it from something you are using in 12 inches of water to something that in dancing down bass alley at 30 feet deep.
The correct bass fishing lures or baits are not so much the lures themselves, you just need to understand the “water column”, the character of the fish that time of year in relation to the water column and how to rig the gear that you are using to get to that depth.
How to fish for bass and how to catch bass sure do sound like the same thing, but if you have ever tried the first part, you know the second part is different. There is a reason why one person comes in empty handed and the next one comes in with 3 or 4 trophy size, 10 pound or more bass in the live well.
If all bass anglers were created equal there would not be over 1,000 bass fishing tournaments happening every weekend national wide from mid summer to late spring. You will never see 1,000 salmon tournaments or even cat fish tournaments taking place at a time and especially every weekend.
Yes sire, there is certainly a difference between the person that will fish for bass and the one that will catch bass.
There are two problems and they are a couple of big ones. The “how” part of the equation is more than water plus fishing pole equals bass. First you need to know your bass (and location) and second you need to know where the bass are located.
If you are watching ESPN one Saturday morning and you see some Pro angler catch bass after bass along the shoreline it would only make sense to fish the shore. You can fish for bass every day along the shore and come up disappointed for about 7 months, but if your really stick to it, you will hit around 5 months of really good fishing.
The reason why is because the bass only collect in this area from mid to late summer up to early spring, and that is only in certain parts of the country. It is much less in the colder climates.
Throwing the correct bait in the lake is technically a way to fish for bass, but it is the old “does a falling tree make a sound” story. “If you fish for bass where there are no bass, will you catch bass even if you are not looking?”
So there you go, the first component of how to fish for bass is to know your bass.
This brings us to the second component; if they are not along the shore, they must be enjoying some other water condition. Where could this location be on this lake or waterway? For the most part, bass are bass nationwide, it is genetics. They spawn about the same time and they like deeper water about the same time.
The lakes are all different though. Lake Terrell in Washington State is a great place to fish for bass. When the bass want to go deep there is an “X” shaped trench in the lake almost like something from a pirate map. It is confined and the maximum depth is 14 feet when the lake is full.
One of the best places to fish for bass in all of America (in my opinion) is Bartlett Lake in Phoenix, Arizona. In contrast to Lake Terrell, Bartlett Lake is about 3,000 acres (surface area) and has depths that are well over 180 feet. This is not to say you should fish for bass at 180 feet, but the fish do have that option if they want a bit of privacy.
And there you have the second component, know your lake or waterway.
Know your bass and know your location, now you are ready to fish for bass and be effective at the same time.
The “How to catch bass” part of the story is simple because bass will normally hit with such force they almost set the hook themselves. The thing is they will not hit any bait if they don’t see it.
So there you have it, now you know how to fish for bass and how to catch bass that bite your bait. Technically this is a great strategy for any type of fishing.
When you think of Rapala, bass fishing is the first thing that normally comes to mind. If it is not, you probably should spend some time with a shrink that fishes and his couch is on the boat. I would suggest booking a 5 a.m. slot on Saturdays.
Call it a plug, a bait, a crank bait or even a lure, nobody cares; Rapala is bass fishing and one of the best bass baits ever created. The funny thing is, it was not intended as a bass fishing bait at all, and it was certainly not intended for the masses. This is a story similar to the Porsche 911; designed as an exclusive world class race car and it has become one of the most successful sports cars of all time, only second to the Corvette in sales.
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Without dispute, Lauri Rapala is the inventor of and founder of the Rapala, but he certainly was not the very first person to see that something floating and looked like a hurt fish will catch the big ones. There are records of Native Americans using this technology over 600 years earlier to draw fish into their nets. It is just that the technology was lost for centuries.
Even though the original Rapala lures were designed to catch cold water monsters in Finland, their true home is in the tackle box of anyone that is bass fishing, especially in Arizona and other warm areas where bass fishing will consistently produce trophy size fish.
For decades the Rapala lures have dominated all forms of fishing far beyond the wildest dreams of even the inventor himself. It is more than a “thing” that looks like a fish and floats on the surface with a few hooks; the Rapala lures have an “action” that resemble a wounded fish so well that fish even think it is a wounded fish. That is quite an accomplishment, but it is tested and true.
When you think bass fishing, think Rapala bass fishing; these words were meant to sit in the fishing dictionary in order for a reason.
Because of the success of the initial product line, the Rapala bass baits have literally become a product line of their own. Every type of bait is now available from Rapala for every type of game fish out there, and they have the world records to prove it.
I will stand corrected if proven wrong but I cannot find the facts to dispute this; Rapala is the only bait I have heard of that has held the world records for Largemouth Bass and Hammer Head Shark. That sounds a little extreme but those are just two of the world records out of the hundreds they hold or have held.