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March 24, 2016

How To Fish For Bass From A Boat

How To Catch Bass From A Boat

Fellow BassHole with bass & boat!

Fishing for bass from a boat is pretty much a BassHole’s dream!

Presently I’m boatless (I’ll add a post about bass fishing in the water without a boat soon!), but I’m lucky enough to have a fishing buddy who DOES have a boat, who invites me to join him on frequent fishing trips.

The best part about bass fishing from a boat, of course, is that you can cover virtually every inch of the water in a lake, river, or stream (with some exceptions due to rocks, thick brush, etc.).

Go Where The Bass Are

A bass boat allows you to seek out where the bass are, and fish for them there.

One way to locate bass is to simply cast lures that cover different levels of the water, such as:Many lures

  • Top water baits
  • Near top water baits (just under the surface)
  • Baits that cover the first few feet below the surface
  • Baits that dive to 5 to 20 feet
  • Baits that go all the way to the bottom

I’ll cover these different baits at length in future posts, but meanwhile here are two types of baits I’ve already briefly discussed.

  • Jigs

With a jig (and also a spinner bait), you can literally cover the entire water column, from the top to bottom, depending on how you retrieve them. Use a faster retrieve to keep them on top, and slow down to let them sink, all the way to the bottom!

==> Click here to read about the “Pig & Jig” <==

  • Lipless crankbait

Lipless crankbaits will also cover a lot of the water column, but generally are in the 2 foot to 10 foot range. Try various retrieves to attract bites: slow wiggle, faster wobble, stop-and-go (let it sink), yank it and then let it go slack. When you catch a fish, you’ve found a good retrieve!

==> Click here to read about the lipless crankbait (Red Eye Shad) <==

Find Those Bass! — Use Your Fishfinder!Fishfinder

Most bass boats will come with a fishfinder.

There are numerous fishfinder manufacturers with a wide variety of models on the market, including:

  • Garmin
  • Lowrance
  • Humminbird
  • Raymarine

But not every BassHole out there can even use this very important tool to locate and target those BIG bass!

A fishfinder not only locates fish, but tells you structures underwater that you can then fish appropriately. It there are underwater streams, structure such as rocks or submerged trees, holes, rock piles, etc., these are all great places to look for bass waiting to ambush bait fish.baitfish

Your fishfinder will also locate those baitfish. And where there are baitfish, and hungry bass be far behind?

I definitely recommend you learn to use your fishfinder. BassPro fisherman have been known to target a single, individual bass they locate using their fishfinder! So be sure and understand how to use that piece of equipment, and increase your success!

==> Click here for a great Wiki article on How To Use A Fish Finder In 8 Steps <==

Vary Your Techniques

As mentioned above, you can slow down, speed up, and vary your retrieve to see what the bass react to.

Both my fishing buddy and I used to prefer worms for bass fishing (regular readers know that now Redeye ShadI’ve branched out and LOVE the Redeye Shad!). But when we first started fishing, we made sure to try 2 different colors and types (e.g., I’d throw a Senko, and he’d throw a salamander).

Even better is to try to completely different baits. So next time we go out, I’ll start with my Redeye Shad. He likes to beat the banks, but I can fish the Redeye Shad there as well. In addition to adding variety to our offerings, it’s very possible another fish in the same area where he just caught one will go after a different bait. And sometimes the bigger one!

Troll SlowlyTrolling motor front

You really need a trolling motor to effectively fish from a boat.

These are typically mounted on the front, and have a foot pedal to operate them. They allow you to move much more slowly than the main engine, and also more quietly. Stealth is important in bass fishing, especially when you are fishing near the shore or in shallow water.

Stay Safe!girl in life jacket

The U.S. Coast Guard Minimum Requirements for Recreational Boats differs according to the size of the boat. (Click here for a chart.)

One constant is some type of approved PFD (Personal Floating Device), commonly referred to as a life vest or life jacket.

The requirement for wearing of these devices also changes depending on the size of the boat (refer to chart for details), but of course they don’t do you much good if you don’t wear them!

I’ve fallen into the water twice; once with my life jacket on, the other without. And let me tell you, having it on really makes a huge difference! It will pop you right up to the top of the water.

So if you are in rough water, choppy, windy; or if you are traveling at high speeds to get to the next fishing spot; I really recommend wearing your life vest!

There are some very nice inflatable ones that you can wear without much bulk. These types MUST always be worn while in the boat to comply with U.S. Coast Guard requirements.

Other safety equipment includes:

  • Bell, whistle, and/or horn
  • Visual distress signals
  • Fire extinguisher

boat fishingSo, if you can get onboard a boat, or are a lucky BassHole who already owns a boat, grab your rods, reels, tackle boxes, drinks, and snacks, and prepare for a great day of fishing!

And if you don’t catch any bass, at least you’re having fun trying!

Tight lines,

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

Catch-Big-Bass http://catch-big-bass.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hey Roger great post! It’s true about covering every inch of water when you have a boat. I don’t own a boat but I’ve rented one and it makes fishing a whole lot more fun. Thank you for putting out a safety guide as well. This is a great post and a great site. I look forward to reading more from you. Have a great day/night.

    • Thanks, Jaime!

      I don’t own a boat (yet) either, but I’ll be looking into the possibilities later this season.

      I’ll also tell you about another way for you to get onto (or into, mostly) the water without a boat. You can’t always go long distances, but it can be great fishing (I’m talking about float tubes and similar options). And of course a kayak is pretty affordable.

      Meanwhile, I assume you also fish from shore? And yes, renting a boat IS a great way to get some time on the water!

      Thanks for the comment, and

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I never knew that there were so many different styles of retrieving your lure. But I also do not fish with lures very often. I am more of a worm and salmon egg and power bait kind of guy. They work alright but aren’t always promising.

    The next time I give fishing a go in the future I will be sure to try some of these different lures and techniques you have talked about above.

    Thanks for the read and information!

    • Derek,

      Thanks for the reply!

      So you’re a bait fisherman. Nothing wrong with that. You can certainly catch fish with bait! But if you use lures they are a bit less messy, and stay fresh longer!

      The strategies for bait are typically quite different than with lures. With bait, you want to put your offering where you know the fish will see it, and then wait for the fish to eat it. With lures, you are more active.

      I have no problem with bait, but I prefer a bit more action on my part, which is why I like lures. Plus, I’m a catch and release fisherman, and that’s usually easier with lures.

      So let me know how your next bait fishing expedition goes, and if you decide to give a lure a try, let me know how that is too!

      Thanks for the comment, and

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hey Roger

    Thanks for some very sound advice. When my kids & I go fishing we always have a great time.

    We are mainly after flatheads here in Australia, and usually use prawns or squid. Although I don’t fish for Bass, your post has prompted me to give lures a go one day and see how it pans out! 😉

    • Andrew,

      Well, THIS BassHole had never heard of flatheads! So I did a bit of research, and what a great looking fish! (OK, they look scary.)

      So I did me a little research, and discovered that there are baits and lures you CAN use to fish for flatheads. Prawns are listed as one of the top live baits, but they also mentioned soft plastics. Here’s a link to a website that discusses fishing for flatheads.

      Sounds like flatfish are not unlike catfish? Or what we call “bull pout” or “bull head” in my part of the world (New England, USA). They both have spines behind their gills that can give you a good puncture!

      And of course you probably know there IS a lot of trout fishing in Australia! Here’s a site that depicts the many opportunities to fish your lovely part of the world: Fishing Australia.

      I’ve never visit “down under” (hope that’s not an insult or anything?), but since you have so much great fishing, maybe I will!

      Tight lines (no matter WHAT you’re fishing for or with!),

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger, I really appreciate your tips here. My neighbor has really been pushing me to go fishing with him for a long time now and each year he gets a little more pushier. I figure I better start brushing up on my knowledge and techniques so that when I do go out fishing with him I can show him up! … LoL…

    Anywho, just to throw it out there I used to be a big river fisherman that loved fishing for, of all things, carp. The last year or two I did that though I always seemed to catch bass instead. The bait I used? Canned corn. Plop a few pieces on and cast away. Also made a nice little snack for me too!

    • James,

      Korn is King for Karp! It’s always the number one recommended bait for catching carp. And carp can be pretty feisty! Good fighters and they can get HUGE! But I didn’t know you could catch bass on corn too! Very interesting!

      Of course a bass will attack practically anything. I remember years ago, when smoking cigarettes was more common, BassPro offered lures in the shape of Bic lighters. I’m guessing some BassHoles dropped their Bics overboard, only to see them gulped by a big ole bass!

      Sounds like your neighbor may be a BassHole, but in the good sense. Someone once wrote, “I don’t go fishing to find myself; I go to lose myself.” So if you want some time to reflect and just silence the run of the mill monkey chatter, take your neighbor up on his offer.

      And let me know how it goes!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,

    Great post! I haven’t actually gone bass fishing yet as I live near the city but I’ve gone salmon fishing and enjoy it very much. I’ll be sure to try out your techniques and hopefully I can catch a big one! You got me curious on how to go bass fishing WITHOUT a boat. Can’t wait for your post! Keep up the good work.

    • Andy,

      Salmon fishing is a blast! Well, can’t say I’ve ever caught one, but I have heard they run far, fight hard, and even taste good!

      The techniques described are for bass. For salmon, a very effective bait is salmon eggs (aka roe). Yup, these critters are cannibals. If you want to use a lure, a spinner is effective (mimics a small swimming fish). Here’s a site that has some tips on salmon fishing.

      Fishing without a boat IS possible! There are actually a couple of ways.

      * Fish from shore
      * Wade (especially in rivers and streams)
      * Float tube or similar device

      And yes, I will be covering all those techniques in future posts!

      Meanwhile, keep after those salmon!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Very well thought out and a ton of info. I used to fish all the time. I’d say it’s time to get back out there. Great looking site, thanks for all the know how and tips!


    • Jim,

      Spoken like a true BassHole!

      Remember, “When life gets complicated, GO FISHING!”

      And come on back when you do, and tell us how you did!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling Basshole

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