Updated on August 3, 2022
Countless variables factor into knowing the best time to catch bass. We, as anglers, can control very few of them.
One that is within our control is when we go fishing. Unlike professional anglers, I don’t have time to spend 8 hours a day figuring out what the fish want, so I need to stack the cards in my favor every time I go out.
That means I need to know when the best time to go bass fishing is, so I’m not fishing when they’re not biting.
By the end of the article, you’ll be an expert in knowing the best time of year, time of the day, weather, and what lures to throw.
Let’s get started!
Bass bite all year round, even in the winter, but they’re much more active during certain seasons.
If you ask hardcore anglers what their favorite time of the year to fish is, 9/10 will say the spring.
This is because bass are at their biggest, most aggressive, and primarily shallow during the spring.
The females are packed full of eggs and feeding to provide the energy needed to survive the spawn, so it’s the best time of year to catch the biggest bass of your life.
The males are in protect the nest mode, so if you see a bright circle, pitching your lure over the nest and dragging it onto the nest will get a bite from the smaller male.
Summer is when most anglers are on the water. Bass fishing in the summer is a lot of fun if you know where to look.
Most bass will move deep into the cooler water, where the bait fish are. This makes it difficult for bank anglers to catch them.
However, there is still a population of bass that stay shallow and hang out in shady areas waiting for their next meal.
If you don’t mind sweating, summer bass fishing can be very productive.
The most overlooked time of the year to go fishing is in the fall.
Bass are actively searching for their next meal before winter sets in, so they’re very aggressive.
More bass also move back shallow, feeding on bait fish in search of the warmest waters. This makes it much easier for bank anglers to catch them.
Fall is the best time of year to catch fish if you prefer to avoid other people on the water.
Bass don’t stop feeding in the winter, but they do slow down. They’re cold-blooded animals, so their metabolism slows as the temperatures drop. This means they don’t have to eat as much or as often as they do during other times of the year.
You’ll typically find bass in the deeper areas of the body of water, searching for the warmest water.
Don’t expect to get a lot of bites when winter bass fishing, but the few you do get will likely be big!
Like everything else regarding bass fishing, the best time of day varies.
Bass feed at different times of the day depending on the sun’s location, barometric pressure, moon phase, and temperature.
They’re very sensitive to the environment, and the slightest change can turn them on or off.
Most anglers, myself included, don’t have time to monitor these factors constantly. This is why some apps help, but they can be wrong.
If I only have a few hours to set aside to go bass fishing, I’m going to try to go early in the morning or during the evening, no matter what the “best fishing times” apps say.
I enjoy fishing at sunrise for several reasons. It’s not as hot, not as many people are on the water, and the bass generally bite better in the morning.
If I have plans in the morning and can’t make it to the water, I’ll wait until a couple of hours before sunset to go fishing.
A tip I’ve picked up is to watch birds like herons, seagulls, and egrets. If they’re feeding, more than likely, the bass are feeding. These birds are usually active during the morning and evening hours.
The best fishing weather might shock some people because it’s not a clear, bluebird sky day.
As a matter of fact, that’s often one of the most challenging days on the water because of the sun's glare. The fish don’t like it, and I get a headache from squinting even when I’m wearing sunglasses.
The best bass fishing weather is a mostly cloudy or overcast day with a slight breeze.
If the wind is blowing too much, it not only makes it tough to cast, but the fish don’t like being beaten by the waves, so they move to a calmer area, whether deeper or into a protected cove.
Fishing right before a front or storm moves through is another weather pattern that I’ve found very productive.
However, be smart because this can be dangerous; if there is a chance of lightning, don’t go.
I change my lures and presentation with the time of day and year I’m fishing.
If I know the bass are actively feeding because I see water birds feeding, then I’m going to use a moving bait like a crankbait, spinnerbait, or bladed jig.
I also use these baits in warm water during the spring, summer, and fall or when the water is very murky.
When the herons and seagulls are sitting in the trees and not actively feeding, I’ll switch to slow-moving techniques like a shaky head, Texas rig, or wacky rigged drop shot.
I use these slow presentations throughout the year because they work in warm and cold water.
The color selection primarily depends on the water clarity.
In clear water, I use natural colors like white, green pumpkin, watermelon, and translucent baits.
When the water is murky or looks like chocolate milk, I change to darker colors like blues and blacks and very bright colors like chartreuse.