One of the difficult things in bass fishing is the reality that bass behavior vary from time to time. These are confusing creatures, but regardless of the weather and location, they are still the same fish species.
For this reason, it is best to know and understand the bass behavior for every season to at least have an advantage.
How to determine and overcome bass behavior? To determine and overcome bass behavior, you must understand that different climates create a different bass reaction. Knowing the basic ins and outs of bass behavior will give you an edge no matter the season.
I will talk about the different bass behaviors of different seasons in this article. After reading this, you will have more awareness of what to do and what not to do.
Temperature And Season
A bass is wired to cope with the constant change of their living habitat. It will find ways to have food, reproduce, and co-exist.
The continually changing season, daylight hours, and water temperature triggers the bass’ survival instincts.
Water temperature changes as the season do. It is the biggest trigger of a bass.
The change in water temperature creates a change in bass’ behavior and movement. It is because the water temperature is mostly responsible for the bass’s body temperature.
Also, the bass is cold-blooded, so they thrive more in warm temperature water than cold waters.
I’m not saying that they’d die in cold water, they would only be less active. Bass are creatures that eat less when they’re cold.
Winter Bass Behavior
During winter, the water temperature ranges from 0°-50°. During this season, the bass is less active because it doesn’t eat properly.
The bass searches for lesser cold water temperature, thus making them harder to catch.
Winter Bass Movement
The cold water temperatures force bass to swim to somewhere less cold than their home. They usually shad back to deep lakes because this is the area where the water temperature is less likely to be freezing.
The majority of largemouth bass search and stay in different areas during winter.
But, they would return to their homes when winter is almost over, and water starts to warm up. Individual bass selects home ranges but faithfully returns to them.
Winter Bass Feeding
Bass feeding during winter is usually in lifeless fish that have surrendered in the cold. That or emerging crawfish.
Bass Fishing During Winter
Winter pushes bass to warmer areas such as creek channels drop-offs or bluffs. These are examples of a fast-sloping structure that offers depths without putting much energy.
Bass during this season is mostly inhabiting the deepest areas of a lake that has clearer water.
Experts say that the best time to fish during winter is in the morning or when the temperature is warmer.
- Ditches – The best winter bass in shallow lakes is usually 6 feet deep at the edge of hydrilla.
- Main Lake Points – Most basses inhabit a river channel close to main lake points. Bass will most likely swim up on the point and feed along the bottom during sunny days. But after a sunny day, bass fish will return to the drop-off and stay there until a cold front passes.
- Bluffs – The winter bass usually absorbs the heat of the sun from rock walls with ledges. The creek or river usually runs along a bluff. It gives bass access to deeper water.
Winter Bass Baits
The suggested baits during winter are jigs, grubs, and spoons. During warm trends, swimbaits, underspins, and crankbaits should be used. But on clearer water, use jerk baits.
Fall Bass Behavior
During the fall, the water temperature is usually between 55°-75°. Fall is where cold fronts and shorter time of day begin to cool water temperature. This season is where bass comes back to being active.
They start to eat normally as the water temperature has risen.
Fall Bass Movement
The bass slowly returns to shallow waters from hiding under deep lakes. As water temperature falls, they move back to the creek, along with shad.
The movement pattern of bass in the fall centers on largemouth migrating to main lake humps.
They would now search for something to feed on shad while moving into covers and creek arms.
Fall Bass Feeding
The bass feeding in the fall is strongly on active schools of baitfish such as shad. It is in preparation for a lesser active winter season.
Bass Fishing During Fall
Because the fall season is where the bass is more active, you can fish anywhere as long as there are baitfish.
The best part for bass fishing is the long points, shallow hump, and large flats creeks in early fall.
But in the late fall, the back of covers and secondary points are where the bass fishing is good.
Fall Bass Baits
The key here is shad imitation. Below are some of the best and preferred baits during fall for bass.
- Lipless Crankbaits
- Willow-leaf spinnerbaits
- Shallow running crankbaits
- Medium running crankbaits
- Topwater poppers
Spring Bass Behavior
During spring, the bass movement is centralized on the urge to spawn.
Pre-spawn is when the water starts to reach a 40° temperature or higher.
- Pre-Spawn Bass Movement – During pre-spawn in the spring, bass travel from their winter spots to shallow waters. They would most likely resort to near spawning grounds.
- Pre-Spawn Bass Feeding – To prepare for the bass’ spawn, heavy feeding on crawfish and baitfish is much preferred.
Bass Fishing During Pre-Spawn Season
During the pre-spawn season of bass, best locations are anywhere with a piece of structure between spawning grounds and deep winter spots. These areas are frequently tight to cover like tree stumps.
Pre-Spawn Bass Baits
- Lipless Crankbaits
- Chatterbaits (this bait is used to cover water)
Remember to use various soft plastics around cover gradually, working your way slowly with jigs.
2. Spawn Bass Behavior
In waters, 1-4’ deep, largemouth bass usually spawn when the water reaches 55°-70°. Largemouth bass during spawn possesses much-defined fishing patterns.
During the spawning stage of a bass, they will show changes in attitude. Also, largemouth bass is more likely to be defensive against foreign objects or other objects near their area.
- Spawn Bass Movement – As soon as the water reaches 60° or so, bass searches for their desired spawning area located in shallow, wind-protected flats.
- Spawn Bass Feeding – A bass will only respond with bait out of the protective instinct of their nest.
Bass Fishing During Spawn Season
The ideal location to fish bass during its spawn season is flat, hard-bottomed areas.
You would most likely locate this in warmer and wind-protected covers. Depths will only vary on water clarity, yet spawning can only happen in less than 10ft of water.
Spawn Bass Baits
Even the smallest turtles attack a bass’s nest, so the best baits to be used are the ones that imitate a natural predator. Natural predators such as:
A bass during spawn season will aggressively pounce at these predators. They perceive the above creatures as a threat and not as food.
Post-Spawn Bass Behavior
The post-spawn season begins when the water reaches a temperature of 70°-75°.
Largemouth bass during this season gets back on their normal feeding routine. They will slowly find deeper waters in preparation for the summer season.
- Post-Spawn Bass Movement – Female bass will migrate to slightly deeper water and cover nearby areas. The male bass stays near and in the nest and continues to defend the newly hatched eggs
- Post-Spawn Bass Feeding – Female bass in post-spawn feeding patterns is more intricate than that of the male bass. The male bass will eat on fry after giving in to hunger.
Post-Spawn Bass Fishing Locations
The male bass will remain and look out the newly hatched eggs to protect the fry for a while.
Females will draw back to covered areas near the nest, despite how they are healing from spawn season. Bass can also be found in near shoreline areas.
Post-Spawn Bass Baits
The best bait to use in the post-spawn bass is the soft plastic in watermelon red and pumpkin. Below are also some of the preferred baits during the post-spawn season:
- Colorado-leaf spinnerbaits
- Swim jigs
Around shoreline areas:
- Shad imitators
Summer Bass Behavior
The season will soon move to mid-summer. This season will open up bass forage opportunities.
The water temperature during this season will spike from 75°-100°.
As the summer season goes forward, the shallow water becomes hot, making the bass seek deeper water for a comfortable temperature.
Summer Bass Movement
Since the heat is spiking to 100°, the bass will be forced to go back in deep waters to keep them cool.
The main lake is the area where water is not too hot and, at the same time, offers sufficient food supply.
Summer Bass Feeding
On deep schools of bait, short and frenzied feed is the go-to feed for summer bass. Those basses who are still on the shallow waters feed on various food sources.
Summer Bass Fishing Locations
You can fish bass during summer on areas such as main lake river channels, humps, ledges, drop-offs, and the sort.
But, due to low oxygen, there is a possibility that bass may not plunge below depths.
Summer Bass Baits
For deep structured bass:
- Football Head Jigs
- Deep-diving Crankbaits
- Carolina-rigged soft plastics
For shallow bass:
- Swim Jigs
- Shaky Heads
As you can see, different seasons trigger the different reactions of bass.
By knowing their seasonal behavior, you will have the edge on successful bass fishing. It will give you options of bait that the bass seeks.