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More Productive Bass Fishing Tactics with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips

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John’s Note: Successful bass fishing basically involves problem-solving and decision-making. You must make decisions concerning where to fish, how to fish, what lures to fish with, what time of day to fish and where to catch the biggest fish. Let’s look at some bass-fishing situations to see how to handle them. We’ll base the scoring system on 5 points for the best answer, 3 points for the second-best answer and 1 point for an answer that can work but probably won’t. These answers are based on hundreds of interviews I’ve had with professional bass fishermen over the last 40 years.

1) Your best bait of choice for prespawn bass is:More Productive Bass Fishing Tactics with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips - 4
a) a pig-and-jig;
b) a Rat-L-Trap; or
c) a shallow-running crankbait.

Shallow-running crankbaits can produce prespawners if a warm front moves onto the lake, causing the bass to move into shallow water for a false spawn before the water temperature warms-up enough for the fish to lay their eggs. You receive 3 points for this pick. We all know the Rat-L-Trap works particularly well with active bass that chase baits, and when you want to cover vast expanses of water in a short time. But it’s not necessarily a prime prespawn bait, unless you fish it vertically and yo-yo it up and down like a jigging spoon. Only award yourself 1 point for this choice.

2) The only time to fish top-water lures like the Zara Spook, the Rebel Minnow or the Lunker Lure is:
a) early in the morning;
b) late in the evening;
c) on an overcast day; or
d) all of the above.

More Productive Bass Fishing Tactics with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips - 13) When the water level falls, you’ll have more-productive bass fishing by angling:
a) the shoreline;
b) the front sides of bushes and trees in the water; or
c) the backsides of bushes and trees in the water.

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament,” “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman.” Click here to get these books.


1) A bulky, slow-moving, bottom-hopping type bait like the pig-and-jig fished along points, ledges and drop-offs generally produces the most, big prespawners. Give yourself 5 points for this answer.

2) D is the best choice. You can have good top-water action all day long when the weather is overcast. But if it’s not, both early and late fishing can produce exciting top-water action. You get 5 points for D. You receive 3 points for choosing early in the morning when top-water fishing usually seems to be at its best or 3 points for picking late-in-the-evening fishing. If you’ve chosen an overcast day, you only receive 1 point.

3) B is the correct answer. If the bass are in shallow water, they’ll hold on the outside of the cover looking into deep water. They’ll use this escape newroute and move in this direction, if the water continues to fall. The baitfish also will travel on the outside of the cover. You get 5 points for this answer. Give yourself 3 points for choosing the backsides of the bushes and 1 point if you’ve picked the shoreline, since the fish will move away from the shore if the water falls.
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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors.

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