It’s said repeatedly among bass anglers, and the saying that “nothing beats time on the water" is a cliché, but it’s also true. Fishing as much as you can and getting real-world practice is the single biggest thing you can do to become a better bass angler.
It doesn’t have to be planned or organized in advance, and a quick thirty-minute trip to a local pond to get some casts in counts for something. The important thing is to fish every chance you can, and you’ll learn a thing or two every time you go, even if you don’t catch a fish.
It’s pretty easy to get into a routine when fishing your home lake. You launch the boat, head to the same spots, and use the same lures that consistently produce the best for you. But this can limit your growth, and you can get stuck in a rut.
Things you can do to get outside of your comfort zone include making a pledge to yourself for the day to only fish new areas, using only a lure or technique you are trying to learn or going to a body of water you have never been to. These things can help you expand your knowledge base, and you’ll surely learn something new.
Embrace New Techniques and Lures
There are many things in bass fishing that are new and shiny. There are trendy ways to catch bass that quickly burst onto the scene before fading. Many lures and techniques quickly come and go, but you can stumble onto something that does the job better than what you are currently using every once in a while.
Popular bass fishing techniques like the drop shot rig and Ned Rig and lures like the ChatterBait and Keitech Swing Impact FAT swimbait were all brand new at one time, and now they’re everywhere. The anglers who jumped on the bandwagon first by giving it a shot had time to learn and fish them before the masses did.
That little window for the early adopters was their reward for embracing new techniques and lures. There will undoubtedly be more new ways to catch bass that hit the scene, and by watching tackle trends both here and in Japan, you might find the next big thing.
This one requires more planning and added expense, but fishing in new waters will significantly broaden your horizons. You may be fishing an entirely different water type, but learn about a bait or technique that can help you back home.
Traveling to new waters is a fun way to experience something new, and you will likely learn something that will apply to your home waters. A bonus is visiting local tackle shops as you may find favorite regional lures that may work well for you when you return home.
One of the best ways to get better at bass fishing is to sign up for a tournament as a non-boater, where you are paired with someone who has a boat. It’s a great way to speed up the learning process of a new angler, but it will help every angler regardless of their experience level.
Seeing how someone breaks down water, chooses lures, positions the boat, and more are valuable lessons. Even a difficult day without many fish catches can be a great learning experience.
Taking kids or new anglers is a great way to get someone new in the sport. It’s a rewarding experience and something everyone should do, but fishing with more experienced anglers will speed up your learning curve.
There’s no shame in having someone outfish you handily; fishing with better anglers will make you better. Please take it as a learning experience and see how your fishing improves over time.
This may sound odd, but fishing for something other than bass is a great way to become a better overall angler. This, in turn, will help you become better at catching bass by expanding your knowledge. There are many things to learn; a few examples include learning to read current better by fishing for trout in rivers or improving your casting accuracy by sight casting to saltwater fish.
Research and Study
If you can’t make it to the water, studying and researching fishing techniques and bodies of water can pay big dividends. It’s just like studying for a test in school, those who put in the work set themselves up for better success.
Some of the things you can do include reading articles like this on bassresource.com, watching YouTube videos, and other things you likely already do. Good ways to study up are working with your electronics to learn every feature and menu option even when the boat is parked. There are endless ways to research and study, and they will all help you down the road.
Improving as a bass angler can be done more than these eight ways. It’s a never-ending process and part of what makes bass fishing so much fun. You can never learn it all, and it’s continually changing.