How to Catch a Rock Bass

Three Methods:Before You Go FishingFor the BoatFor the Dock

Fishing for rock bass is a fun way to spend your time on a weekend afternoon. These panfish can be found in most bodies of freshwater. Please read on to find out how to catch rock bass.

Method 1
Before You Go Fishing

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    Get the proper equipment. This usually means getting a rod, reel, and some fishing line to spool on.
    • In addition to this, you'll need a lure. Most pan-fishermen prefer using a small 1/16 oz. jig, that is tipped with a red worm, wax worm, or piece of nightcrawler. Most rock bass will take nightcrawler, but it is also good to try spinners and spoons
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    Research local fishing conditions. You can Google local fishing conditions, or you may be able to find a fishing report on the web page of your state's Natural Resources or Fish & Game department.
    • Look for lakes, ponds, or rivers close to where you live.
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    Update your fishing license, or get one. You can be fined and ticketed for fishing without a permit. It is very important that you have one, and that fishing is legal in your area.
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    Decide if you want to rent a boat at the lake or river, or fish from shore. There usually is the same amount of action on shore that there is in a boat. If you want to go on a wider search for these fish, a boat is always recommended.
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    Drive or walk to the lake with the equipment, bait, and safety gear. The lake may offer safety gear (life vests, flotation devices, etc.) for a small fee. By law, those safety features are required if in a boat.
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    Rent the needed items. This means rent the boat for a period of time, buy the bait, or buy "dock-space".
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    Get rigged up. Spool the line onto the reel, string the rod, tie your hook, and put the bait on the hook.

Method 2
For the Boat

If you are going out in the boat, follow these next steps.

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    Start the motor. Be sure you know how, and read the safety information before you set out.
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    Go out to where you plan to fish. You should try different spots, and remember to ask around. It also helps to have a fish finder or underwater camera.
    • If it is the summer, rock bass can be found on gravel or on rock bars in about 6–15 feet (1.8–4.6 m) of water.
    • If it is fall, the rock bass will be in about the same depth water, and in thicker vegetation or along a deeper rock stretch.
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    Start to cast around. You should have a slower jigging motion, but it should be constant if you are using a jig. If you are using a small spoon, its best to let the spoon drop to the bottom and jerk it up while you retrieve. Either way, the motion should be relatively constant.
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    Set the hook as soon as you feel a bite. Make sure you don't set it too hard, or you can rip the hook out of the fish's mouth.
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    Land your fish. Usually, you can just flip the fish into the boat, but it does help to carry around a small net, just in case.

Method 3
For the Dock

Fishing from the dock is safer and more convenient if you brought kids.

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    Look off the dock to spot any signs of fish. Some signs include spawning beds, weeds, gravel, or even the fish themselves.
    • Try to locate a drop-off from the dock. If you are fishing at night, this can be key to catching big fish.
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    Cast out and let the worm sit at the bottom. By doing this, fish that are nearby will spot the moving worm on the bottom as they swim.
    • If you are using a small spoon, its best to let the spoon drop to the bottom and jerk it up while you retrieve.
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    Watch your line for signs of nibbling. Usually, curious fish will nibble the end of the worm to see what it is. You can see the vibrations in the line if a fish nibbles.
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    Set the hook when the fish bites. Make sure you don't set it too hard, or you can rip the hook out of the fish's mouth.
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    Land your fish. Usually, you can just flip the fish onto the dock, but it does help to carry around a small net, just in case.
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    Keep something to put the fish in. It's good to have your stringer or live-basket handy, just in case you want to keep some fish. Some people also like to put their fish into coolers while on the boat.
    • Make sure the fish are completely in the water while on the stringer.
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    Clean any fish you kept at a cleaning station.
    • This easier because the people who work at the lake will sometimes clean the fish for you.
    • It is also easier because you can just wrap up the fish instead of driving home with fish smell in your car.

Tips

  • Use different styles of fishing.
    • You can fly fish for rock bass in the evening.
    • You can use spinners.
    • You can use smaller minnows.
  • Try different spots. The fish are in the lake; your job is to find them.
  • Always wear a life jacket when on a boat.

Warnings

  • Be humane to the fish you catch.
  • Be kind to fisherman around you.
  • Be careful with the hooks.
  • Make sure you have a valid license and permit.
  • Watch out for underwater structure while driving the boat. You could ruin the motor.

Things You'll Need

  • Bait
  • Jigs or spoons
  • Boat (optional)
  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Stringer or cooler for keeping fish in
  • Safety equipment
  • Permit
  • Camera
  • Fish locator/fish camera


Article Info

Categories: Fishing