Spring bass fishing

April 19, 2024 by lbailey

Spring bass fishing, let’s talk about it for the Northeast and then we will cover the south.

Bass fishing the Northeast!

Spring bass fishing is the time of year that every Bass fisherman who is worth his salt looks forward to. The thought of Bass that haven’t seen a lure for at least 3 months is enough to stir any of us into a frenzy.

Spring has it’s advantages but it can have its own unique problems as well. Rising water temperatures can send Bass into flurries of activity that are a Bass fisherman’s dream come true. But, just as quickly, a stubborn early spring cold front can be a nightmare that puts the fish back into hibernation mode.

Can you feel it in the air? The bass can. Springtime ushers in changing air temperature, longer days and stronger sun angles, all of which trigger a fish’s instincts to move out of deep winter holes to search for food and the all-important spawning beds. Even right here in the Northeast, many of the biggest bass will be caught between mid-March and May.

Spring bass fishing diagram shows bass movements.

Typically, the areas that you will want to target will be in the 8- to 12-foot range. This will vary slightly on the overall depth of the lake, but generally speaking, this is a very realistic depth to find fish working toward their spawning grounds. In this instance try a small suspending crankbait. A bait that suspends in the strike zone and can remain very still is key this time of year and will entice even the most finicky fish.

Bass are most definitely creatures of habit. Their instincts—to hunt, take cover, and spawn— are primarily dictated by the temperature of the water in which they live. When the water is warm, between 55- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit, largemouth bass begin to spawn. Bass start to feed massively during pre-spawn, which generally occurs when the water is between 48 and 55 degrees.

Some anglers maintain that the moon cycle is almost as important as water temperature when you’re going after some giant bass pre-spawn. The new moon and full moon are times when bass are very active.

Fishing The South!

Some anglers live in warmer zones and may have been angling for bass for months already. Others have been patiently waiting for the lakes and rivers to thaw and the warm fronts start moving in.

Bass prefer to make nests in shallow water at the base of lilly pads near (relatively speaking) deeper water. Sand or hard clay may be used when bass do not have access to lilly pad bases. Male bass often build nests near structures such as submerged wood or weed beds. Bass stay near these quality spawning sites throughout the spring.

Spring bass fishing top lures of choice.

Larger bass are generally caught early in the fishing season. For smaller waters, anglers often catch the largest bass in late February and March. Fishing in the south anglers catch more large bass in March and April.

After the spawn the females can be found in deeper waters near the nest sites. They will suspend in deeper water as the males stay shallow to keep protecting their fry. The spawn is extremely stressful for bass and they need to feed like crazy to recover. That is why the pre-spawn, spawn, and post spawn are such an amazing time to go bass fishing.

Pay Attention and Catch More Fish

Pay attention to these details. You’ll increase your catch and unlock the secrets to early spring fishing.

“One thing to remember is that the real reason why we all enjoy fishing so much is the fun and camaraderie we experience with our friends and family. Some of the best fishing stories have nothing to do with how many fish we caught or what bait or technique we used. They are about the people we were with when we created those memories”.

March Madness for bass

March 21, 2024 by lbailey

You’ve made it through the winter although there were times when you doubted you would. March Madness for bass, has you forgetting about all the cold weather and subsequent falloff in your fishing activity.

March in the southern U.S. is different from March Madness for bass in the northern U. S. And, of course, it’s different all the way in between, as well as different in every other early-season month.

March Madness For Bass. What a great time to fish for bass.

So it’s hard to say what’s good for one person is also good for another. Especially when you consider that spring bass fishing takes place in many varied types of water.

Nonetheless, there are some things about where to fish that hold true for everyone. So here are eight March Madness for bass fishing tips.

Eight March Madness for bass fishing tips

  1. Be a temperature watcher. Some areas of a lake or pond warm up quicker than others. If you notice a difference of a few degrees in a particular spot, it may be the thing that attracts bass there to warm up and to feed.
  2. Fish late in the day in early spring when the main part of a lake or pond is still cold. Surface water warms up several degrees on a sunny day. Maybe more so in the back reaches where there’s a bay, inlet, marsh, or wetland.
  3. If you have options where to fish for bass, try shallow lakes and ponds first as the season progresses. They warm up quickly with warm and stable weather, more so than deeper bodies of water.
  4. If you have several rods to employ, always keep one rod rigged with a swimbait. There’s probably no lure type that is more universally successful in early to mid spring than a swimbait.
  5. Crankbaits are also staples for spring bass fishing. Try a super-shallow running version in extreme shallows. A slightly deeper running version in 3 to 6 feet of water.
  6. Crayfish populations in lakes warrant the use of crankbaits and jigs. Work them along rocky areas, including rip rap banks. If you can, fish parallel along the shoreline rather than perpendicular to it.
  7. With swimbaits and crankbaits, a sign that you’re fishing too fast is getting “bumped.” This is what happens when a bass nips half-heartedly at a lure.
  8. A lot of spring bass fishing involves searching and covering a good deal of water. That is not what a jig does best, yet jigs catch a lot of spring bass (and other species). First try small-profile jigs that can be worked either along the bottom or up in the water column. Then larger-bodied jigs along the bottom and around cover, such as bushes and stumps.
March Madness for bass basic lures for spring.

Six Additional Tips you can use during March.

Pairing the best early season bass lures with the best fishing techniques can hook a bass. But in the fickle March Madness for bass fishing season, a little extra help can never hurt. Here are a few more early spring bass fishing tips to set you up for success this season:

  • Cast for repeat results: One of the best tips for early spring bass fishing success is to pay close attention to what works for you and what does not. Because bass behavior will change frequently with the fluctuating weather and temperature in spring, each day on the water may call for a different approach. Once you find a technique that wins you a bite, repeat the same cast and retrieve to catch a few more.
  • Fish out the area: Bass will often congregate in the same areas in spring — meaning if you catch one, you may catch a dozen more in the same spot. After your first catch, continue to cast along the same ridge or point. If you do not get a second bite, try fishing the same area from different angles before moving to a new spot.
  • Pay attention to water conditions: Fickle spring weather can make it challenging to locate bass, but by paying attention to the water conditions, you can find bass more quickly on each subsequent spring fishing trip. Once you find an area where bass are congregating, take a mental note of the water color, depth, temperature and bottom conditions. Consider the location of the ridge or point relative to channels and flats. These details will help you track down bass more quickly next time.
  • Use the wind to your advantage: On spring days when the water is clear, bass may see your bait too clearly and be wary of biting. Wind can help to disturb the surface of the water to attract bass better. If you are not getting any bites on a clear lake, try casting when the wind picks up.
  • Fish the mudlines: If you are having trouble locating bass on a spring day, look for mudlines created by wind and waves. Bass will often hide along the edges of mudlines where they have the advantage over baitfish which are drawn there to feed on plankton.

Following ice-out, look for protected shallow coves or bays with dark bottoms, as these spots will be the first to warm up. If these areas contain rocks you’re in good shape, because in these areas insect activity will begin earlier, which will attract baitfish, which in turn, will attract the bass.

Late Fall Bass Fishing

December 10, 2023 by lbailey

Late Fall Bass Fishing during the transitional seasons of the year can sometimes seem challenging. With a few key late fall fishing tips, you can bump up your cool weather catch rates while using artificial baits and lures.

Late Fall Bass Fishing can be some fantastic bass catching action. The bass are feeding for the long winter. Shad and bait fish are slow and or dying making it easy for bass to feed. A passing front can trigger some of the best bass fishing action of the year. And a final bonus, there will not be many anglers on the water. Most are hunting, opening up the lake to anywhere you might want to try your hand at catching a bass of a lifetime.

Consider these Late Fall Bass Fishing pointers when heading out to your local spots:

Fishing Factors Late Fall Bass Fishing
  • Use search baits to cover more water. One of the most important fall fishing tips is to cover plenty of water versus spending too much time in one spot. Use search baits, like a crankbait, Binsky blade bait, swimbait or topwater, to quickly locate schools of bass that are chasing shad to fatten up for winter.
  • Fish the flats. Bass generally head into shallow water during the fall months. Check flats that are adjacent to grass beds, and try fishing in 3 to 6 feet of water with a few good fall fishing lures.
  • Note significant drops in water temperature. Another one of the best fall fishing tips is to consider the impact that a cold front will have on the activity level of bass during this time of year. As we transition into late fall fishing and see more significant drops in temperature. Shad will keep moving shallow and so will the big bass.

To sum up, these late fall fishing tips for big bass mean covering more water, fishing shallow flats near grass, downsizing after a temperature drop, and switching your lures if you’re not seeing enough action.

Now you can plan a day of fall fishing with your family,

Get ready for some late season fun on the water with Florida Bass Fishing Guide Lee Bailey Jr!

See You On The River

This CT River Fishing Guidebook is the most comprehensive compilation of maps, Lees Lures and river Fishing Factors I have ever put together.

See You On The River 2nd addition by Lee Bailey Jr.

Strategies For Bass

Strategies For Bass paperback has the most impressive collection of up-to-date information, anglers will learn everything they need to know to catch more bass.

Strategies for Bass a 228 page book by Lee Bailey Jr.

Baby Buzzbait Midsummer Bassing

December 6, 2023 by lbailey

Baby Buzzbait midsummer bassing begins after the hot weather has set in, bass fishing can be fantastic. Warm waters mean an increase in the metabolism of bass, which can lead to more frequent feeding activity. Additionally, Warm waters allow anglers to move faster and burn lures. The Baby Buzzbait™, not only works retrieving it directly by a bass. But also through the edges of their larger strike zones.

Baby Buzzbait™ midsummer bassing begins after the hot weather has set

It’s smaller size, especially the 1/4 oz size allows the bait to be sucked in the bass’ mouth deeper.

When bass are aggressive, anglers can choose between lots of different lure options. Methods and can often use their favorites to score. Still, the most efficient method is usually going to be a faster approach. Smaller -sized offerings are usually best, the water has an abundance of small prey at this time. Picking a lure that can be fished fast, such as a Baby Buzzbait™, spinnerbait, lipless crankbait, is a top option. Swim jigs paired with paddle-tail swimbaits and some blade baits can be good choices as well.

Buzzbaits may all look the same on the shelf, but each has its own special features

While standard-sized offerings can produce, be ready to quickly switch to smaller sized lures if the bite doesn’t pick up. Likewise, while a slower Baby Buzzbait™ midsummer bassing retrieve speed is best, if the standard and slow speeds don’t produce, be ready to radically increase the speed, even faster than the higher-speed approach common when summer bass are active. Burning lures at high speeds can play on the instincts of bass and cause them to attack lures when they normally wouldn’t with slower retrieves.

Baby Buzzbait midsummer bassing may all look the same on the shelf, but each has its own special features that will work better in different places. A basic buzzbait will simply spin the blade on the top of the water making a slight trail behind it and a slight noise as it moves. The Baby Buzzbait™ is the most compact size on the market today. It’s smaller size, especially the 1/4 oz size allows the bait to be sucked in the bass’ mouth deeper. This produces more bass in the boat, resulting in bigger creels and a lot of fun.

Lee Bailey Jr SLOW Baby Buzzbait

Lees Spring Seasonal Approach

December 6, 2023 by lbailey

Lees Spring Seasonal Approach Guide is a system I’ve adapted to help find bass on unfamiliar waters. With spring arriving in most of the northern waters. The spawn completing in the south. I thought a spring time article from my book (Strategies For Bass) would be appropriate. As a retired touring pro, I fished all kinds of lakes and rivers in many regions throughout the year.

Fishing Factors Lees Spring Seasonal Approach

Some diehard early season fishermen know to head for the waters with current. Rivers and river system lakes will most often offer you some of the best early season bass fishing (especially smallmouths) in your area.

Obviously, I didn’t have time to become intimately familiar with each of these venues prior to tournament competition. When you only have three practice days. Unlocking the secrets of a large river system. You need some guidance. Helping you to quickly get on a viable fish catching pattern. Lees Spring Seasonal Approach provides that information, regardless of where or what part of spring I’m fishing. It helps me make educated guesses about where bass are most likely to be. You need to understand all stages of spring bass migration. It’s a system that quickly eliminates unproductive water and helps me home in on areas holding the most bass.

Lees Spring Seasonal Approach Pre-spawn: (48 to 55 degrees)

Some diehard early season fishermen know to head for the waters with current. Rivers and river system lakes will most often offer you some of the best early season bass fishing (especially smallmouths). There are things that are beginning to happen on these bodies of water in the spring that trigger the fish to begin this early season feed. The water temperature and the water level in river systems are on the rise. And we can all feel the suns rays are becoming stronger and more direct. All this is leading to an increased activity level for bait and bass.

Temperatures reaching into the mid to upper 50 degree mark will begin to trigger bass activity. Few however, acknowledge the fact that river smallmouths thrive in SPRING cold water (low 40’s) and will begin the spawn ritual before the water reaches the low 50’s. As mentioned earlier, even a slight increase in temperature is all that is needed to trigger the bites in a river system. A temperature rise from 38-43 degrees is a great temperature change for an early season river basser, especially if it happens over a period of only a few days. Bass will become extremely active during the first water temperature increase they encounter after a long cold winter.

Mid to upper 50 degree mark will begin to trigger bass activity.

Some of my best smallmouth catches on the Connecticut River happen in the early season. “One trip in particular was with a great friend of mine Don Sanzo. We were fishing an early season tournament. The river water temperature was hovering at a whopping 46 degrees. I had found these really big smallmouths holding on a shallow ledge in some of the shallowest and fastest water in the river. We ran 40 plus miles to get to those fish through rapids and some pretty nasty ledge only 18” deep to get there. When we arrived at this ledge we preceded to catch smallmouths from 3-4 pounds. As a matter of fact we hooked up on big smallmouths on the first 12 consecutive casts”. Not only did we have a great day of fishing but we won the tournament and set a standing record for the Connecticut River. A record setting 10 fish limit of smallmouth bass that weighed in at 31.14 pounds.

During this real cold water I prefer to use jigs

Some of the greatest early season smallmouth locations are shallow ledges of shale, gravel or hard packed sand adjacent to drop-offs with scattered rocks, brush and weeds that might have survived the winter. The rocky shore adds warmth to the water and awakens food (crawfish, insects and minnows). This hard bottom also has acted as a current break for these fish to stage near all winter. One thing is for certain rock ledges and shelves stay the same for the bass through-out the winter and high water periods. It is this consistency that makes ledges and rocks the best choice in the spring.

I will usually begin my fishing on these current waters with the water temperature being as low as 42 degrees. During this real cold water I prefer to use jigs, and tubes to entice these early pre-spawn smallies. Fishing however, becomes far better as the water temperatures reaches the mid 40’s, with the action reaching phenomenal proportions when the water temperature reaches the low 50’s. The smallmouths will bunch up in the above mentioned areas; these places will give you action all day. Some of the biggest smallmouths of the year are caught during the rivers early pre-spawn period.

Summer Bass Fishing Tips

December 6, 2023 by lbailey

Summer Bass Fishing Tips will show you that you need to get out early. Fish the shallows hard based on water temperatures and bait. Once it gets hot focus on deeper water where the water temperatures are lower and the bass have structure to ambush bait.

Bass behave in predictable ways based on temperature, food and available structure

I have mentioned this many times bass are a very predictable fish. In general, they will behave a certain way based on three main variables:

  • Water temperature
  • Available food supplies
  • Structure availability

Yes there are tons of other Fishing Factors™ that affect the way a bass or any fish will behave. These include barometric pressure, wind, rain,moon phases, water flow, etc. Almost year round, there’s a short window at the beginning and end of every day when the fish just bite better. The first hour is best quite often, because there are far fewer pleasure boaters on the water early compared to late in the evening,

Summer Bass Fishing Tips choices of preferred lures.

During these low-light hours both early and late, top-waters can be super productive. Choosing something like a buzzbait or a Whopper Plopper will allow you to cover as much water as possible,Maximize the number of bites you can get during these short windows of time.

But slower top-waters like walking lures, poppers and hollow body frogs also work well if you’re fishing targets. So you could choose to run around for that last hour and target laydowns with a Spook for instance. Or try to draw the fish up out of those laydowns that have been hunkered down all day.

BUT if you can figure out the three most important factors. Water temperature, available prey items and available structure, then you are 80% of the way to catching more bass.

Getting good sponsors

December 5, 2023 by lbailey

Getting good sponsors is one of the most asked questions I receive when doing presentations and seminars. There is no precise answer to the question How do I get sponsors? However, there are some unwritten rules. Items you should consider if sponsorships are something that you are looking to obtain.

When thinking about how to get bass fishing sponsors. Many anglers hope that they will have enough money provided by sponsors. Hoping to be able to fish full time. The truth is, only a small group of professional anglers can do that.

Lee Bailey Jr Getting good sponsors

…”bottom line is a sponsor needs to have someone who will successfully promote and sell their product or service”

The first and utmost concern and attitude you should have when approaching sponsors is pretty basic. It seems to be over looked by many new-comers to the bass fishing world. That is to ask yourself, not what the perspective sponsor can do for you. What you will do for them.

…”bottom line is a sponsor needs to have someone who will successfully promote and sell their product or service”. I know this sounds corny. The bottom line is a sponsor needs to have someone who will successfully promote and sell their product or service.

To start you need to consider where in the fishing industry you want to go

Most often a sponsor does not need someone who will just fish tournaments. A sponsor is looking for someone who will WIN tournaments. Develop a good image and following while promoting their products and or services. Remember there are thousands of tournament fishermen. But there are only a few who can promote well.

Getting good sponsors, in the past few years is getting tougher. I have seen these changes accelerate. Platforms like Instagram and YouTube have given anglers the ability to reach larger audiences. Inside and outside of a tournament finish, television appearance, print or other traditional media outlet. It is still a requisite to win or finish high in several tournaments to gain sponsorship with a brand. In some cases, you don’t need to be a fishing expert to influence and impact sales in today’s world. Long time touring pros are seeing their contracts being cut. As in some cases those funds are being re-directed to influences from social media.

To start you need to consider where in the fishing industry you want to go. Consider where your strong points are. That is, do you want to fish tournaments professionally? Do you want to be a major player in the marketing end of the industry? Do you want to do this nationally or regionally. This will help the sponsor know if there is a program or area already in place internally for you.

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