Become A Better Bass Fisherman!

How Can You Become A Better Bass Fisherman?

BassHoles know the trick to becoming a better bass (or any other) fisherman is to:

Keep On Larnin’!

graduateThere are many ways to further your bass fishing education, and I urge you to take advantage of them all! I wasn’t able to fish for most of last season, and so invested (not wasted!) my time learning everything I could about bass fishing, so I’d be ready to catch some big lunkers when I venture out this year.

Here are my tips on how to learn more about catching big (or not-so-big) bass.

1. Watch instructive fishing shows and videos

Note “instructive.”

When I worked at Orvis in San Francisco, we used to distinguish between instructive fishing shows and what we called “fishing porn.” The latter had a lot of exciting shots of the host(s) catching big fish, BUT there was never any information on HOW they did it!big smallie

So look for the following when you’re watching shows, DVDs, or online videos:

  • Conditions: water temperature, time of year, weather patterns (especially any fronts: past, present, or future!), time of day.
  • Gear: rod make, model, length, and why!
  • Line: Yup, even the line can be important!
    • Fluorocarbon sinks — is that a necessary element?
    • Braided line has no stretch — is that an advantage?
    • What’s the pound test?
    • Is it a colored line?
  • Lure: Duh. What’s the host using? Color? Size? Weight?
  • Technique: How is the host fishing the lure?
    • Steady retrieve?
    • Stop and Go action (and what intervals?
    • Cast and wait (wait how long? HOW LONG?)?
    • Jerk
    • Twitch
    • How did the host choose the action? Experience? Trial and error?
  • Tips: Any advanced advice you can get from a fishing show host is bound to be helpful!

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

I discovered Bassmaster Academy during my recovery from patella tendon surgery. It’s a great resource for learning bass fishing techniques.lecture

The Academy has 2 levels: Free & Paid. You get a lot more videos if you become a subscriber (paid membership), but there are videos available for free.

TIP: Sign up for the free videos. What happened with me was, once I signed up, I started receiving offers from Bassmaster Academy to become a subscriber. I declined. UNTIL I was offered a special price of just $10 for a year! I got that offer while Brenda, my internet bride, was pushing me around Walt Disney World in a wheelchair. And for 10 bucks, I joined!

The premium videos are awesome. Check it out!

There are plenty of great videos available on YouTube, but not all videos are created equal!

Some are just videos of someone catching bass. That’s why I use “How to” or “Bass Pro on” to focus my search. And you can also use “Review of” to get other BassHole’s opinion before you spend the bucks on new gear.

AND they can be a lot of fun!

Read Bass Articles

In addition to the Bassmaster Academy, offers videos on their website as well. Plus you can follow the tournament schedule, enter sweepstakes, and participate in Fantasy Fishing.stack mag

If you join Bassmaster, you receive some pretty nice gear (I got 5 bass lures!). And their magazine. (For the younger readers, a “magazine” is like a website, only printed on paper and delivered to your home through the U.S. Postal Service, or “snail mail.”)

The magazine is chock-a-block full of great information and glossy photos!

Again, I waited for a $10 per year offer, and then bit like a big ole BassHole.

Check it out!

  • The World Wide Web

You can find a TON of material on the internet. It’s fun to compare what different folks have to say about the same topic!

Simply Google what you want to learn about, and start reading!

Here are a couple of MY favorite sites:

Bass Fishing Resource Guide

Ultimate Bass: Everything Bass Fishing


Be sure and share YOUR favorites as well!

Listen to Professional Bass Fishermen (and women?)

The Bass Pros is sponsored by BassPro Shops, an awesome resource (and retailer) for any BassHole.

The program’s stated goal is:

“To be the best, most informative show on bass fishing found anywhere today.”

It does a good job reaching that goal! It features lots of actual bass fishing pros, including Mr. Kevin Van Dam!Pro KVD

The downside is it airs on the Outdoor Channel, which is great if you fish AND hunt, but at least in my area it is mostly hunting shows. Still, it’s a great program. AND you can watch some episodes by using the link above.

Watch and Learn!

Speaking of KVD, you can learn a ton from the “#1 Angler in the World.”

At his website, select “Media” and you can listed to audios, or view videos. Some are more instructional than others, but here’s one I liked about Cold Water Power Fishing with KVD:

You can also find KVD (and other pros! There are plenty of great bass fisherman out there!) on YouTube: simply search for “KVD bass fishing tips,” or a specific technique, “KVD on Red Eye Shad.” Here’s a link to my review of the Red Eye Shad.

There’s a lot to learn on KVD’s website, so check it out! And I can see now I’ll have to check out the other BassPro’s sites as well! Share your favorites in the comments below!

Talk to people!

  • Other BassHoles

Wet fishermanIt’s possible you DON’T know everything. So talking to your fellow fisherfolk helps educate you to techniques, lures, areas, lakes, and so forth, that you hitherto were unaware of.

I LOVE talking to the fishing crew at my local BassPro Shop. They steer me away from the most expensive gear to the very reliable and durable equipment they use themselves. So it’s fun AND it saves me some money!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! And be ready to learn something.

Teach your own self

  • Yourself!

Enhance your fishing expertise by learning from your own experience.

Start a fishing log. Record water temp and clarity, weather conditions, time of day, techniques, baits, and colors used. Not just what worked, but what didn’t?

Record your best catches with a selfie, or if you are fishing with another BassHole, and him take the photo. It’s a great way to “capture the moment”!

Write a blog. Share your knowledge with other BassHoles (that’s what I’m doing!) and ask for their feedback. You’ll become a member of a bass catching community, and maybe even make a few new friends along the way!

Self-Education is it’s own rewardgirl large mouth

It’s fun to learn more about something you already love. And it will actually make you love it even more. PLUS, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills to catch even MORE big bass!

Just, PLEASE!, be sure and share your knowledge with us here at!

Tight lines,

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

10 thoughts on “Become A Better Bass Fisherman!

  1. Andrew

    Roger, you really know what you’re talking about! As a kid, my mom would always take me fishing but I never had the patience. With all that I’m learning here, I could definitely check out some videos and get better. Fishing would become a lot less frustrating if I knew what to do!

    1. Roger Ford Post author


      Thank you for the compliment!

      I like to fish where there is some action. So not just casting out and waiting. I like to keep casting! That way I’m always doing something.

      So next time you go fishing, try fishing with a lure, and you can be active. If you are wading, you keep moving through the river or along the shore, and casting to different spots. That way, you can stay active even if you DON’T catch anything.

      But, hey, it’s always a lot more fun once you start catching fish!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  2. Samuel

    Hey Roger,

    You know when I was reading your post, it has bring me back a lot of memories I had in the past. When I was about 12 years I would go fishing with my family. The feeling when the fish got on your hook, the trill and the excitement. Although you need a lot of patience and time to fish, but in the end it’s very worth it.

    Maybe I would go other countries to fish one day as I come from a country that has very limited fishing spots. And there is no such thing as a bass in my country waters. I have a question for you, which country do you think is the best for fishing? Thanks 🙂


    1. Roger Ford Post author


      Thanks for the comment!

      You can ABSOLUTELY have a blast traveling and fishing! There are many books by anglers about their fishing travels. Most of the time they are fishing for trout and salmon. Great waters in Australia, Russia, Alaska, and many other locales to catch HUGE fish.

      As for bass, I’d say the best country is the USA. In part because we have so many impoundments that support bass. And as for “proof,” I’ll just point out that many of the world record bass are caught right here. Some great states for BIG bass fishing are Florida, Texas, and California. But nearly every US state has some fantastic bass fishing.

      So you could wander around the entire USA bass fishing for fun.

      Have fun on your travels!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  3. stretch1942

    I love your site. I like to fish. We don’t have places to fish bass out here. There are many other types of fish to be had here in western Canada. Your site has a lot of good information. It is nicely laid out and i like your many images. Great site.

    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks, Stretch!

      I know there is some great bass fishing in British Columbia, but of course western Canada is a big place!

      AND, there are a lot of OTHER great fishing opportunities there, as you say.

      Keep fishing! And share your adventures here with us BassHoles.

      Thanks for the kind words about the site!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  4. John savage

    Your passion and enthusiasm is immense Roger!!

    Seriously , this post although doesn’t say it’s for beginners has allowed a beginner like me to fully and confidently get my teeth stuck right in.

    By the way, your humour is hilarious!

    Love your website recommendations and always love your tips for successful selling.


    1. Roger Ford Post author

      Thanks John!

      I do try to make the site understandable for beginners and old time BassHoles (like me!) both. And I invite questions, comments, advice, and reports from everyone!

      Glad you enjoyed the humor. As a recovering standup comic (8 years in San Francisco / Bay Area) and clown college graduate, I do like to make people smile!

      Not quite sure what tips for successful selling you are referring to, unless it’s selling the bait to the bass!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  5. Patricia

    To tell the truth, I’m not good at fishing, but I’ve never seen an article as instructive as this one. I enjoy fishing with my husband because that is something he loves. Now I can choose to learn more from the many resources you’re giving us here. I think I’ll start with YouTube videos.

    1. Roger Ford Post author


      Sometimes, not even a professional fisherman can catch a bass! But basically, learning a few skills can dramatically improve your success.

      Watching YouTube videos is a great way to learn more. Be sure and study techniques related to how you fish. Are you in a boat? Are you in the front or (more likely) in the back? Both spots can produce fish, but you would use slightly different approaches depending on where you are. For example, it you’re in the back, the front fisherman is going to have the first crack at every fish. So as the second fisher person, you might want to throw something a bit different. If the first guy is throwing worms, try a lipless crankbait, or a jig, or a spinnerbait. You might catch another fish from the same spot your husband just threw.

      Review how to identify bites, how to set the hook, and how to play the fish.

      Fishing is more fun when you’re catching fish!

      Have fun.

      And if you have any specific questions, do not hesitate to ask!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole


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