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I put together a set of bass fishing rules of thumb that I use to help me be more consistent. Following these rules of thumb may help you to become more consistent in your bass fishing. There are exceptions to every rule, especially in bass fishing. Keep in mind that while I may list it as a rule of thumb, other successful pros and guides may do just the opposite and be productive. There are also times when I disobey the rules.

  • Throw topwaters only when the water is at least 60 degrees and the sun is not visible or bass are schooling
  • Wait 2 seconds before setting the hook with a topwater
  • Fish shallow early and late and on cloudy days - fish deeper on bluebird days
  • Fish tight to cover on sunny days - cover more water on cloudy days
  • Throw single hook lures around heavy wood cover - throw treble hook lures whenever you can get away with it.
  • Use a medium to light rod when fishing with treble hooks - use a stiffer rod for single hooks (worms, jigs, spinnerbaits)
  • Use dark colors at night
  • Use brighter colors in murky water and on dark, cloudy days
  • Use colors that don't stand out in clear water and sunny skies
  • Use bigger and noisier baits in murky water
  • Use unweighted baits in calm, shallow water
  • Use heavier baits in the wind, deep water, or strong current
  • Big baits catch big fish, small baits catch more fish
  • Match the size of the bait that the fish are feeding on
  • Use 20# or heavier line for fishing jigs and worms where big fish are present - use lighter lines for all other purposes
  • Work a crankbait in about 1/2 the depth the bait is designed to run.
  • The lighter the bait, the more line you should leave out when casting with a baitcaster
  • The percent of how full you fill your baitcasting reel is about equivalent to the percentage of your maximum casting distance. For instance, if you fill your spool 100%, your maximum casting distance is 100%. If you fill it 80%, you can only expect to throw it 80% of its potential. Likewise, if you fill it 50% full, you can likely throw it to the end, which is about half the distance you could get if it was full.
  • Bass prefer long and skinny over short and fat - they prefer snakes over turtles
  • Rising water is better than dropping water
  • West wind is better than an east wind
  • Cold fronts will shut the bite down when the water is cold
  • You can't catch 'em if you don't go!

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