If you intend to stretch your legs and get around the country fishing, you will likely be doing a whole lot of bass fishing. Bass are found in every state, except for Alaska. Although, illegal transportation of this invasive species has alarmed the Alaska Department of Wildlife and Game to act and remove the odd one. Nevertheless, there are 17 species of bass in the US. Which includes all the favorites like smallmouth and largemouth bass. To everything from the Alabama and Suwanee varieties to even striped bass or black sea bass. You’re basically guaranteed a bass, no matter where you go. Hence, each river, stream, or lake creates its own smorgasbord. Here’s a short rundown on all the key components you’ll need to get the most out of your next bass outing, and a few little niceties you won’t regret splurging on.
1. A Fishing License
Yeah, it might sound like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to buy a fishing license. Bass live all over the place and if you intend to travel for them, you’ll need a valid license where you’re headed. There are no states that honor fishing licenses from other states, it just doesn’t work that way. Do the right thing and pony up the cash for a non-resident fishing license.
2. A Bass Boat
Some things you get because you require them. Whereas, some items you get because you want them. A bass boat is one of those things you buy because you want it. And, honestly, if you’re planning on doing a lot of bass fishing in the near future, you’ll never have a better excuse. Whether or not this line of reasoning will get your spouse to agree with you is another matter.
3. Braided Line
If you’ve been running monofilament line for years and have considered switching to the better stuff, now is the time. Buying a few rolls of braided line of similar test to the stuff you’ve been using will put more bass in the boat at the end of the day. Bass fight hard and love to rip line over obstacles while they run. Don’t lose a trophy over being cheap.
4. Soft Plastic Worms
It’s best to buy these in bulk and in a myriad of colors. Two-inch and four-inch specimens cover varieties from smallmouth to largemouth bass, respectively. You’ll use these to build Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, and wacky worm rigs. More so, bass intends to chew them up a bit, though. So, buy accordingly and don’t get caught empty-handed.
5. Spinner Baits
These things look goofy the first time you buy a batch of them, but they drive bass crazy. If possible, buy a set of these that features a few different colors and a couple of sizes. It’s hard to say what bass will go for, and they may go for something drastically different one pond over. Color and size matter a lot with spinners.
6. Crank Baits
Yeah, crankbaits are old-school, but what your grandpa used for bass will still work today. A lot of the time, old-fashioned crankbaits give better results than newfangled gizmos. It’s also nice that the lowest priced crankbaits often tend to be most effective, or equally effective, as the expensive ones. No need to overdo it with these old standbys.
7. A Stringer
This simple tool is typically overlooked by anglers but has a lot of utility. Having a few bass on a stringer will sometimes actually bring in other bass. Not only are they predatory, but they are a very curious species. So, it’s hard to say what kind of bad decisions they might make. If nothing else, a stringer is handy for keeping the fish alive on lakes with a catch limit. With a stringer, you can choose the biggest and best to make the trip home with.
8. A Trolling Motor
Remember that bass boat you talked your spouse into? Well, when you fire it up, it’s super noisy, and it scares all the fish away. Get around this little problem with the purchase of an electric trolling motor. If nothing else, it’s a good backup for the gas motor. Yeah, you’re pretty broke after buying the boat, but then being fishless and stranded, right?
9. A Better Reel
Bass tend to put up a good fight, which is what makes them so much fun. To maximize your fun, and have a hope of bringing most of them up to the boat, you should get a better reel. The one with the messed-up drag and goofy spool you’ve been using for perch all these years won’t hack it for bass. Get one with lots of stainless steel and good bearings, so you won’t have regrets.
10. A Better Rod
Toss that old war horse from the 80s in the trash and upgrade to one of the new carbon-fiber rods out there. The tip will bend over and touch the handle on some new offerings available these days. Just act soon, before the first payment for the bass boat comes due.
A Few Final Thoughts
As with any sport, a bass angler can get as crazy with purchasing as they like, or keep things very minimal. In the long run, keeping purchases to a minimum probably makes for a more satisfied angler. The money you save on gear can be used to finance more trips or longer trips. Keep the junk to a minimum and maximize the fun.