40 top tips, tactics & techniques for bassers

Angling advice from Bassmaster Magazine

For more than 40 years, Bassmaster Magazine has been the No. 1 source for the most up-to-date bass fishing information available. Every issue has been chock-full of news about the latest lures, new rigging and presentation techniques, and inside tips from pro anglers — all geared toward making your day on the lake more productive and fun. I've written for Bassmaster for many years, and am proud to have played a role in getting this information out to bassin' fans everywhere. Here are my picks for the 40 best tips, tactics and techniques ever featured in the pages of this publication. Hopefully some of these have helped you catch more and bigger bass!

1. Bump cover

When retrieving a crankbait or spinnerbait, try to bump it into cover such as a stump or rock during the retrieve. Deflecting the lure off the object often triggers a strike because it looks like a frightened minnow to bass. Over the years, scores of B.A.S.S. pros have mentioned this nugget of advice in hundreds of Bassmaster articles. Were you paying attention?

2. Carolina craze

Rumor has it that this worm-fishing tactic originated in South Carolina, but there's no doubt who was the first to bring it to national attention: Jack Chancellor. In the early '80s, the Alabama B.A.S.S. pro was catching a hundred bass a day by dragging a blunt 4-inch worm with two tiny exposed hooks behind a long leader and a 1-ounce lead sinker. That big ol' sinker would bump along the bottom, clicking and kicking up puffs of silt like a live crawfish, while the weird little worm would dart and settle erratically like a wounded minnow. Unlike a Texas rigged worm, which demanded a fairly high level of angler skill to fish properly, even a rank amateur could catch bass on this style of wormin'. Chancellor called it his "Do-Nothing Rig," and shared it with Bassmaster readers in the February '83 issue. When the technique helped Chancellor win the '85 Classic, anglers everywhere began using it to catch bass on their home waters. Now referred to as Carolina rigging, the tactic has been tweaked and modified endlessly, yet it remains one of the most effective bass catching methods ever invented.

3. Power fishing

You're fishing during a monster cold front. The bite is slower than refrigerated molasses. Should you tie on an itty-bitty bait and slow your retrieve way down? No. Instead, do like Michigan pro Kevin VanDam: Put your trolling motor in high gear and "burn" a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait, going for a reaction strike.

4. Invasion of the frogs

Weedless frogs, once fished exclusively in matted surface vegetation, have invaded open water. B.A.S.S. pros like Dean Rojas are twitching them frantically on top of points and breaklines for big bass.

5. Deadsticking

In 1979, Bassmaster reported that bass would strike a plastic worm when it was sitting still, sometimes for as long as a minute. Today "deadsticking" is a tactic anglers use with everything from worms to suspending jerkbaits.

6. Fluoro fact

When spooling fluorocarbon line onto a spinning reel, fill the spool only about two-thirds full to keep the line from springing off your reel like an out-of-control Slinky.