Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Bass fishing for beginners

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By Mike Raykovicz

Summer is here and folks will be heading to campgrounds all around New York state. State and county parks are popular destinations and while all these places differ somewhat in the amenities they offer, most, if not all of them have one thing in common, a small lake for fishing and a swimming area.

Fishing can be a fun way to spend part of the day and renting a boat or a canoe when the park first opens is the best time to fish.  Watching a bobber with a hooked worm beneath is fine if you have young children and you just want to catch fish, any fish. However, most of these small lakes harbor bigger fish and for real fun learn where to look for them and what might attract them.

Largemouth bass are found in almost all of these lakes and can be caught if you target them. The most important factor, and most relevant of all the bass fishing tips, is fish where the fish are. Keep in mind to find fish, you have to find cover on the body of water you are fishing. The good news is bass can be found wherever they can hide and ambush prey.  Cover comes in many different forms including rock piles, treetops that might be in the water near shore, boat docks, grass, and lily pads.

Bass hang around just about any cover because it helps them to easily ambush prey and they are not particular what that prey is.  Small minnows, frogs, and even low hovering dragonflies are the most likely targets for a largemouth bass meal so offering them a lure that mimics an easy catch can prove exciting. To increase your chance for success be sure your lure imitates the type of forage on which the bass in your local waters are feeding. If you suspect bass are feeding on minnows, throw a silver-colored crankbait or swimbait like a Rapala minnow. If that doesn’t work, try a dropshot rig or jig head with a small plastic Mr. Twister tail, and be sure to try different colored tails.

Don’t forget to try a topwater lure especially around lily pads. I like using a weedless frog because these lures can be fished in just about any type of thick area of aquatic vegetation. Just remember to let the lure rest a few seconds after casting to a likely looking spot and then just barely twitch it to resemble a living thing. Be ready for a startling strike as a bass rises to inhale the lure.

Another good way to find and catch fish is by trolling. I used to tie on a small gold or silver spoon and cast it behind the boat. I had my young son hold the rod while I rowed our rented canoe around the lakeshore. It was surprisingly effective. We caught enough fish to keep him interested and occasionally caught some really good fish.

So, if you are planning to spend a week or even a few days at a campground this summer, take the time to try fishing but, fair warning, it is addicting and, don’t forget, big bass can be found in small ponds.

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