Bass can be found all over the US, and in some regions, they provide a year-round source of fun for anglers. Regardless of where you live, there is always an optimal time of the day and year to fish for this beloved species. Correctly timing your next bass fishing excursion can add the advantage you need to bag more sizeable fish.
Your mileage may vary when it comes to the ideal time of year for finding big bass in your area, but it will always coincide with the spawn and warmer water temperatures.
When it comes to the time of day, you should give priority to when the sun isn’t blazing high in the sky. This is because bass prefer to feed in lower light. This includes dawn and dusk as well as during the night.
Best Time Of The Year For Catching Bass
It’s undeniable that the prime time for hooking big bass is going to be around the period when they spawn. This is when the water temp will be in that sweet spot of 60-75 degrees.
Bass prepare for spawning as the water approaches 60 degrees by eating more heavily than they normally would. This anticipation of mating season is great for anglers because hungry bass are more likely to hit your bait. During the spawn, they need to account for the extra energy that they burn by continuing to eat more than at other times of the year, so you can count on bagging more bass during this time as well.
Post-spawn bass aren’t as easy to catch because they are busy nesting. Don’t worry, they will come around again in a couple of weeks to make up for the time missed.
If you do most of your fishing down south, you can expect the spawn to happen before it does up north because the water temperatures don’t dip as low. It can begin in the late winter or early spring in the southern states and late spring to early summer further north.
Depending on where you live, the spring can be the beginning or the end of spawning season. Bass in warmer areas will most likely have already spawned, while the ones in cooler areas will be gearing up to do so.
As the water temperature approaches the 60-degree mark, bass will move into shallow water, which can make them easier to catch. Keep an eye on the weather during this part of the year because snow can cause the water temperatures to plummet. If this happens, these fish will head back to deeper waters to stay warm.
In the southern US, bass will already have spawned by mid-spring. If the fishing is slow, it means the female bass are busy laying their eggs, so give it some time for them to start feeding again.
Summer is the heart of bass fishing season in most areas because the water has had time to warm up to a point where these cold-blooded creatures are more active. Bass tend to hang out in shallower water during the first part of the summer and progressively move into deeper pockets as the water continues to warm. Later in the summer, water temps can break 75-80 degrees, pushing them deeper and making them harder to catch.
In the cooler northern states, the beginning of summer will usually be directly after the spawn, so the bite might not be great for a bit. As we mentioned earlier, try to be patient and they will be back to feeding in no time.
Many anglers switch their focus from bass to species like salmon that spawn in the fall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily catch your limit day after day. The early part of autumn is still good for bass fishing, so long as the water hasn’t had time to dip below 60 degrees. As the fall progresses, water temperatures in the majority of the US will fall below this mark, and bass activity will slow down tremendously.
Catching Bass At Different Times During The Day
Any avid bass fisherman will tell you that you can hook bass at any time of the day. This is true, but they are known to feed much more heavily when it isn’t as light out. For a fish, bass have a solid sense of vision in the dark. They use this sense to their advantage and hunt for prey when other fish can’t see as well. This makes early morning, late evening, and night the best times to target this species.
Fishing At Dawn
Fishing in the early morning has its advantages for most fish species, including bass. Not only will you have fewer fishermen to compete against, but the sun won’t be fully up at this point. This means that bass will still be feeding from the night before. Be sure that you don’t sleep in because once the sun is high in the sky, they will head for cover, making them tougher to catch.
If you choose to fish during the middle of the day, it would help to keep an eye on the forecast. Cloudy days can block out enough sun to trigger bass into feeding outside of their normal schedule. As long as it isn’t raining, overcast days are usually much more comfortable to fish in, and the bass will be biting much more than on a sunny day.
Fishing Before Dusk
As the sun begins to set, bass will again leave their cover and head for shallower waters to feed some more. Waiting until dusk to go bass fishing is a great way avoid the hottest part of the day and maximize the number of fish you catch.
Fishing At Night
Night fishing can be a double-edged sword when it comes to landing bass. They prefer to feed in low-light scenarios, but they need at least some light to see. You can bet your bottom dollar that you will end up landing bass at night as long as the moon can provide a little light. This means that you can’t count on them to feed as much during a new moon or overcast night. They are opportunistic feeders, so they will be more motivated to seek out food when the conditions are right.
Low-Light Bass Baits
Finding that one bait or lure that works 100% of the time is next to impossible, but there are some things you can do to make sure that your bait gets noticed when there isn’t a ton of light present.
Using noisy lures that vibrate like buzz baits and lipless crankbaits in a high-contrast color is the best way to get bass to see, hear, and feel your bait at the same time. Spinners also work in this situation, but not quite as well since they are designed to reflect lots of light.
As with any fish species, the ideal time to catch bass is going to depend on the location and climate of your favorite fishing spot. Learning about bass’ spawning habits, how they feed, and how water temperature affects their behavior is the best way to ensure you catch more.
Waiting until the water warms up past 60 degrees, fishing before or during the spawn, and going out when the sun isn’t fully out are three of the best ways to catch the most bass in the least amount of time.