Although largemouth bass feed throughout the daytime, there are three times during a twenty four hour period that are generally known as the best time to catch bass during the warmer months of spring, summer and autumn. These are the early morning, the late evening and throughout the night, although there are times when bass actively feed throughout the daytime, for example during the winter months or when it is cooler and there is good cloud cover.
Being able to recognise the habitats that bass inhabit such as brush piles, docks, drop offs and weed beds and learning which lures or baits to use at a particular time are essential in helping the angler to achieve success.
What is the Best Time to Catch Bass?
When looking for the best time to fish for bass, you have to take into consideration both the season and the time of day. Let’s have a look at the latter first.
Best Time of the Day to Fish for Bass
Aside from proper bass fishing gear, it is quite beneficial to know when to go. Generally, either early in the morning or late in the evening works well for high yielding bass fishing, as does the night. Let us look at the details.
Early morning often sees an increase in baitfish activity while light conditions are still low, so bass actively hunt at this time of day. With an increase in bait activity, the most successful way to catch bass at this time is to use a small, live fish such as a shiner or minnow, either freelined or fished under a bobber. Artificial lures such as topwater poppers and crankbaits have also been proven to be successful at this time of day.
As the sun starts to set, bass will again take advantage of the low light conditions to feed. Small, live fish such as shiners and minnow are good baits as are artificial lures such as topwater poppers and crankbaits.
By far the best time to target bass is during the hours of darkness, especially during the summer months as the warm temperature of the day cools when the sun goes down. Also, during the night time hours it is generally much quieter as the daytime commotion on the water will have eased off.
Best Time to Catch Bass by Season
The way the angler approaches bass fishing will alter depending on the season. Learning when and where to find bass during a particular season will give the angler a good chance of having success throughout the year.
Spring is the season that largemouth bass spawn (except in the far north), so the fish will return to shallow water to lay their eggs when the water temperature is between 55 and 65 degrees. During spring, though, cold fronts are common, so if the temperature does drop dramatically the bass will head out into deeper water. During spring, small fish, crawfish, frogs and other aquatic creatures are active in shallow water around cover such as rocks, docks, brush piles and aquatic vegetation so concentrate on shallow areas if conditions allow.
During the hot summer months when the bass have spawned, they will start to feed at high levels, generally in the early morning and late evening. During these times, the bass will be found hunting around the shallows but once the sun comes up and warms the water, fish will generally head out into deeper water. Most artificial lures and live baits are successful in hooking a bass during the summer due to the high level of feeding activity.
Autumn is seen as a very good time to target bass as the fish will be actively feeding ready for the coming winter season. During the fall, baitfish will be around the back of creeks and in shallow water, so the bass will be lurking in these areas looking for food.
Searching around cover at the shoreline can be very productive too, especially in windy conditions where food can be blown onto the water. Features that have good cover or a drop off are other areas worth investigating during the fall by working lures from the shore back over the drop off or around the cover where the bass will be lurking. Anglers will have success using both live shiners and minnows and also crankbaits and jerk baits.
During the winter months, when the water temperature drops, largemouth bass retreat into deeper parts of the lake where the water temperature will be at its warmest. This is now the time to focus on any deep areas on the lake.
Steep drop offs and holes should be the target areas where lures that are kept deep down in the water will produce the best results. If any drop off or deep hole has a feature, such as a brush pile or tree stump, these will be the favorite haunts for winter bass. Fishing during the winter is generally most productive around midday when the sun is at its highest and the temperature is at its warmest.
Best Time to Catch Bass - Conclusion
The best time to go fishing for bass depends on both the time of day as well as the season. We hope with these tips we have given you a good insight into when it is best to go for bass and why. Any questions, let us know in the comments!