Bed fishing seems like an easy deal. Nesting bass loathe intruders, so attack is inevitable. Or is it?
Fact is, bass on beds can be incredibly finicky when clear water and good visibility leave them keenly aware of their vulnerability. Add a bunch of boats to the scene and easy fishing becomes much more difficult.
Here are the four best ways to close the deal on tough fish:
1. Keep Your Distance
Forget those images of guys flipping to bass a rod length from the boat — experienced bed fish anglers prefer long shots to fish that haven’t noticed them. This means sneaking into likely areas, perching on the very tip of your bow — often standing on the trolling motor mount — and scoping out those light-colored nests from as far away as possible.
(Tip: Leeward areas with minimal surface ripple facilitate the spotting.)
2. Be a Ninja
It should go without saying, but minimize any noise and pressure waves that nervous fish quickly detect.
Bass will often tolerate a low trolling motor hum, but sudden increases or decreases in power will send them packing.
If you spot a bed while riding and looking, make a big circle back to the spot. Trying to quickly stop on a spot risks blowing it out with reverse propulsion. Big surge or water and sand over a nest equals a big bye-bye.
3. Mind the Sun Angles
Sun in the fish’s face is ideal, so they only see the intrusive bait — not the boat from whence it came. It can be tricky, but don’t let your shadow fall across a next or the game’s over. Keep the sun a little to your quarter so you can hide in the glare, while keep your shadow out of the picture.
4. Tackle Up
You can use lighter, finesse baits, but keep the tackle heavy — especially if a fish makes you. It’s often a one-shot deal, so a stout rod and 65-pound braid heightens your chances of boating what bites.