I describe pattern fishing into two different categories. One is the standard definition of catching a bass on a certain type of cover and depth and water temperature on a certain lure or bait and then moving to another similar spot and repeating the action and catching more fish. Sometimes, anglers catch a bass quickly by luck, repeat the same action and catch more bass.
There is a world of difference between the two. One is what makes one angler a big shot for one weekend with his buddies and the other a consistent angler that seems to catch bass most of the year while commanding the respect of other serious anglers.
What I want to describe now is how to set up a bass catching pattern. This can be confusing to a new bass angler and is something that has to be learned by putting in time on the water and fishing in every type of weather and lake conditions. This and only this can give you the knowledge to figure out where to fish and what to fish with the best presentation.
Learning to set up a fish catching pattern starts by making basic decisions — the time of year, weather, fishing pressure, lake reputation for bass, water temp and depth, cover available and how bass are relating to the cover. All these things play a major role in setting up the pattern you will use. I will break this down into a situation so you can see step by step how to apply this to your next trip.
Let’s say it is mid-fall around the end of October. The lake is down to winter pool, clear and stable with a surface temperature of 65 degrees. The bass are active on surface to shallow running baits, so you are told at the bait shop. So this is all the information you have to work with. You know the time of year and the weather and that the bass should be getting active. This tells you to use baits to cover a lot of water fast, and that you can fish on the surface and shallow. This also tells you that lure choices like top waters and buzz baits or crank baits or spinner baits or jerk baits and rattle trap-type baits are good choices.
With the bass reported active the bait retrieve can be worked faster to cover more water faster. Using your fish finder to look for bass on cover and structure is very important. Looking at how the bass are holding to and around the cover will tell you more than you would ever think. If the bass are on the outside edges of the cover and moving in and out means the bass are active and in a positive feeding mood. Fish these baits I mentioned above here.
If the fish are very tight to the cover or buried up in it, this is the result of something like a cold front or too much fishing pressure. The bass will be in a more negative feeding mood and will not move far to chase bait, so fish slow bait like a jig or tube bait tight to the cover.
Learning to put all this together takes lots of time on the water. But once you learn it you will become a much more complete bass angler.
You can contact me at gabbysfi firstname.lastname@example.org.