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Detecting a Bass Bite Is Important

What Can I Do To Feel A Bass Bite Better?

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I am holding a bass Captain Mike Gerry caught when I was fishing with him on Guntersville.

I am holding a bass Captain Mike Gerry caught when I was fishing with him on Guntersville.

2009 Ronnie Garrison, licensed to About.com
Is feeling a bass bite important? During a recent club tournament most of my bites seemed very light and hard to detect. At weigh-in several of the top finishers said they had trouble feeling the fish. I won with a limit of bass weighing 12.5 pounds, and I think feeling the light bites made a difference.

How can you improve your odds of feeling a bass hit? Several things make a difference to me.

Rod

Use a sensitive rod. I was fishing with a Deep South rod in the tournament above and I think it made a difference. It is the most sensitive rod I have and I often pick it when fishing plastics. All the bass I caught in the tournament hit a Texas rigged lizard and many picked it up and ran toward the boat - a kind of bite that is very hard to detect. Use your most sensitive rod when the bites are light.

Line

I use fluorocarbon line on all my plastics, and the low stretch means you can feel bites better. In my opinion you are likely to get more bites using invisible line, but many disagree with me. It is hard to see your line so detecting a bite by seeing your line move is much more difficult, but I won't use anything else. I keep rods spooled with fluorocarbon in 8, 12, 15 and 20 pound tests to fish in different situations.

At the above tournament I caught six keepers to my partner's one, and caught ten throwbacks to each one he caught. We kept trying to figure out the difference - we were using the same baits and other things were similar. I handed him a St. Croix rod with fluorocarbon on it, and he started getting more bites. Don't know if he got more on the invisible line, or was just able to feel them better, but he commented several times how much more sensitive it felt.

Sinker

The heavier your sinker the more likely you are to feel cover and bites, but go too heavy and you may turn the fish off. I use a 3/16ths ounce sinker on most of my Texas rigs if the wind is not too strong. That weight is heavy enough to get the bait down and let me feel the bottom, but not so heavy it sinks the worm too fast.

Choose the right rod, line and sinker size and you should be able to detect bites better. Fish as often as you can to learn what a bite feels like. Even after many years, sometimes ticking a rock can still feel like a bite. Learn to detect bites, but set the hook when in doubt!

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