Fishing Factors Tips and techniques by pro angler Lee Bailey jr

Fishing Factors by Florida Bass Fishing Guide Lee Bailey Jr provides an excellent collection of fishing tips, fishing tactics, and fishing tricks for bass,

 

 

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Catch Bass within 1 hour of Orlando, Tampa and Central Florida

Wintertime River Smallmouths

January 18, 2024 by lbailey

Angling for Connecticut’s wintertime river smallmouths is a paradox. The cold weather period is perhaps both the best time to catch trophy bronzebacks and the most likely time for fishermen not to even receive one bite. Here are tips from Lee Bailey Jr (Three time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier) on how to experience more of the former and less of the latter.

Wintertime River Smallmouths on the Connecticut River

“How many writers even suggest fishing for wintertime river smallmouths. Water temperatures are near freezing. Ambient temperature is so cold that you have to dunk your rods into the water to thaw the ice from the guides. Or when the water is so muddy that you can’t see the bottom half of a brightly colored 6-inch soft bait as you hold it at the surface of the water.”

Jigs, Tubes and crankbaits are excellent for Wintertime River Smallmouths.

Most river smallmouths need deep water to winter. In Connecticut and Massachusetts I have conducted tagging studies which revealed that smallmouths migrate up to 60 miles from summer to winter habitat. In many cases, the trip is much shorter, sometimes nonexistent, but a migration of some length is the rule. Most wintering sites on rivers are at least 5 – 20 feet deep up in the North sections of the Connecticut river.. Down the South end of the Connecticut, smallmouths tend to migrate shorter distances and sometimes stay in creeks all winter. They seek deeper water, but a wintering site doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 feet deep.

The Connecticut River doesn’t freeze everywhere during winter, active smallmouths tend to rise up and feed in shallower water. This is usually between 2 and 10 feet deep. Rock bars, gravel points, boulder fields, and shallow flats immediately adjacent to a wintering hole become activity sites. In high water, smallmouths will be on these same spots where they extend up onto the flood plain. The closer to shore, the slower the current becomes. In high, cold water, slack areas become key.

“Deep” is relative to latitude. “On the Connecticut River, ‘deep’ water can vary from 5 feet to over 10 feet,” “Just find the deepest water and scout the entire vicinity around it. Some great smallmouth rivers have long stretches of nothing but shallow water. Smallmouth will travel as far as it takes, sometimes miles, to find water deep enough to satisfy their comfort and safety zones. And they remain in these areas for weeks (up north, make that months).

A wintering site doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 feet deep.

“In winter, deep holes near a shoal or falls are perfect trophy smallmouth areas. In high, muddy water, concentrate on eddies formed by islands that end abruptly. Those ending in a gradual slope are usually too shallow and too swift to be comfortable for larger smallmouths. The holding area for smallies at the ends of these islands is much smaller underwater than they appear to be on the surface. Islands that end abruptly form the bigger, deeper, and slower holding areas trophy bass prefer. They remain in areas like these until river conditions return to normal.

“The Connecticut is an excellent destination for winter smallies because it has such diversified habitat and plenty of it,” “Fish don’t have to move long distances to winter. I typically locate new winter holes during the low water months when you can see the content of these areas better. Then I will go to them in the winter and check them out. Some work out, some don’t. Only time on the water will tell.”

Lastly, please be sure to always wear a lifejacket while wintertime fishing and check river gauges to make sure water levels are safe.

See You On The River

This CT River Fishing Guidebook is the most comprehensive compilation of maps, Lees Lures and river Fishing Factors I have ever put together.

Lees See You on The River fishing guide book

Strategies For Bass

Strategies For Bass paperback has the most impressive collection of up-to-date information, anglers will learn everything they need to know to catch more bass.

Lees Strategies For Bass 228 page paper back book.

Find Early prespawn bass

December 26, 2023 by lbailey

Find Early prespawn bass fishing gives anglers an excellent opportunity to catch monster bass. As the bass emerge from their deeper wintertime haunts in preparation for the spawn. They are notoriously indiscriminate when it comes to their feeding behavior. The result is simply giant bass and lots of them.

Find Early prespawn bass fishing gives anglers an excellent opportunity to catch monster bass.

Although early prespawn bass can be quite predictable, it’s important to understand they’re like people in a sense each one exhibits unique behavior.
Whenever you approach the beginning stages of the prespawn, I suggest going through a thorough process of elimination.

While some folks like to start deep and work their way shallow, I am actually the polar opposite. I always target the backs of creeks and short pockets before I do anything else.

More importantly, however, I believe shallow water plays host to more bass than you might think.

It doesn’t matter where you go there are always going to be bass in shallow water. Will they be the ones to win a tournament? That really depends on the fishery, but shallow areas give me a complete overview of the water temperature which is a huge deal in the early prespawn.

Find Early Prespawn Bass with these important factors.

Every bass angler is guilty of it. After months of ridiculously frigid water temperatures, we become glued to our electronics, searching for the warmest water possible. This obsessive behavior isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but make sure to keep an open mind towards other important factors as well.

In my opinion, I think 50 degrees is the magic number for early prespawn movement. At that point, they are ready to move and make something happen. But there’s something much more important than water temperature. Their clock heavily correlates with the length of days and it’s an easy thing to overlook. You can have a brutal cold front come in and they will still be steadily moving up if the days are getting longer.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the various factors that influence the behavior of early prespawn bass, you’re ready to start catching. These are my hard to beat five areas.

  • Funnels
  • Primary points
  • Secondary points
  • Main lake flats
  • Backwater ponds

See You On The River

This CT River Fishing Guidebook is the most comprehensive compilation of maps, Lees Lures and river Fishing Factors I have ever put together.

Lees See You on The River fishing guide book

Strategies For Bass

Strategies For Bass paperback has the most impressive collection of up-to-date information, anglers will learn everything they need to know to catch more bass.

Lees Strategies For Bass 228 page paper back book.

Late Fall Bass Fishing

December 14, 2023 by lbailey

Late Fall Bass Fishing during the transitional seasons of the year can sometimes seem challenging. With a few key late fall fishing tips, you can bump up your cool weather catch rates while using artificial baits and lures.

Late Fall Bass Fishing can be some fantastic bass catching action. The bass are feeding for the long winter. Shad and bait fish are slow and or dying making it easy for bass to feed. A passing front can trigger some of the best bass fishing action of the year. And a final bonus, there will not be many anglers on the water. Most are hunting, opening up the lake to anywhere you might want to try your hand at catching a bass of a lifetime.

Consider these Late Fall Bass Fishing pointers when heading out to your local spots:

Florida Bass Fishing Guide Late Fall Bass Fishing
  • Use search baits to cover more water. One of the most important fall fishing tips is to cover plenty of water versus spending too much time in one spot. Use search baits, like a crankbait, Binsky blade bait, swimbait or topwater, to quickly locate schools of bass that are chasing shad to fatten up for winter.
  • Fish the flats. Bass generally head into shallow water during the fall months. Check flats that are adjacent to grass beds, and try fishing in 3 to 6 feet of water with a few good fall fishing lures.
  • Note significant drops in water temperature. Another one of the best fall fishing tips is to consider the impact that a cold front will have on the activity level of bass during this time of year. As we transition into late fall fishing and see more significant drops in temperature. Shad will keep moving shallow and so will the big bass.

To sum up, these late fall fishing tips for big bass mean covering more water, fishing shallow flats near grass, downsizing after a temperature drop, and switching your lures if you’re not seeing enough action.

Now you can plan a day of fall fishing with your family,

Get ready for some late season fun on the water with Florida Bass Fishing Guide Lee Bailey Jr!

Florida Bass Fishing Guide Article

December 3, 2023 by lbailey

Billy “Hawkeye” Decoteau is an outdoor journalist and motorcycle columnist with a strong passion for pursuing Black Bass as well as cruising on his Harley Davidson Springer Classic Motorcycle with his bride of thirty-eight years…..Trish.

Bill has shared his bass fishing knowledge frequently at the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show and we are always happy to have him with us to share his fishing expertise. 

Bill has shared his bass fishing knowledge frequently at the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show and we are always happy to have him with us to share his fishing expertise. 

He can always be counted on to bring the newest and latest techniques to his seminars. His presentations are never the same from year to year, so you’ll always have a chance to learn something new.

Summer Bass Fishing Tips

October 30, 2023 by lbailey

Summer Bass Fishing Tips will show you that you need to get out early. Fish the shallows hard based on water temperatures and bait. Once it gets hot focus on deeper water where the water temperatures are lower and the bass have structure to ambush bait.

Bass behave in predictable ways based on temperature, food and available structure

Summer Bass Fishing Tips will show you that you need to get out early. Fish the shallows hard based on water temperatures and bait.

I have mentioned this many times bass are a very predictable fish. In general, they will behave a certain way based on three main variables:

  • Water temperature
  • Available food supplies
  • Structure availability

Yes there are tons of other Fishing Factors™ that affect the way a bass or any fish will behave. These include barometric pressure, wind, rain,moon phases, water flow, etc. Almost year round, there’s a short window at the beginning and end of every day when the fish just bite better. The first hour is best quite often, because there are far fewer pleasure boaters on the water early compared to late in the evening,

Summer Bass Fishing Tips choices of preferred lures.

During these low-light hours both early and late, top-waters can be super productive. Choosing something like a buzzbait or a Whopper Plopper will allow you to cover as much water as possible to maximize the number of bites you can get during these short windows of time.

But slower top-waters like walking lures, poppers and hollow body frogs also work well if you’re fishing targets. So you could choose to run around for that last hour and target laydowns with a Spook for instance, trying to draw the fish up out of those laydowns that have been hunkered down all day.

BUT if you can figure out the three most important factors of water temperature, available prey items and available structure, then you are 80% of the way to catching more bass.

Learn more bass fishing tips and techniques in my 2 info packed books.

Strategies For Bass Book by retired Elite Series Pro Angler
See You On The River Fishing Guide Book by retired Elite Series Pro Angler

Summer Dog Days Pitching for Bass

October 18, 2023 by lbailey

During the Summer Dog Days Pitching for Bass is my preferred technique in the heat of the day. Depending on the type of water you are fishing. Bass are going to either go deep or relate to structure and shade in shallow areas. When I first started cutting my teeth on fishing bass tournaments. Pitching quickly became one of my favorite ways to catch largemouth bass.

When looking for the best places to find summertime bass on lakes in the heat. There are three key factors to consider are shade, deep water and flowing water. Here is a look at the three best places to find summertime bass based on those factors.

Summer Dog Days Pitching

Boat Docks

The approach to pitching a boat dock is crucial. I approach a dock and dissect it prior to my very first pitch.

  • First: be sure your shadow doesn’t cast to where you think the bass might be holding.
  • Second: analyze where your targets are going to be and pitch to the closet ones to you first
  • Third: after you have pitched around the outer edge of the dock. It is now time to hit the hardest and most shaded targets around you..

“In a Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament I fished on Table Rock Lake. The Summer Dog Days Pitching had me loaded with a reliable shakey head finesse worm. Then I headed for a couple of docks I knew held fish. While pitching into the shady wells of a dock, I immediately caught a 3-pound Largemouth Bass. This pattern of targeting shady areas of docks on sweltering summer afternoons has produced bass for me throughout my years of competing as a pro anger on the Bassmasters and FLW Tours”

 Summer Dog Days Pitching for Bass is my preferred technique
Rivers

“Everyone knows I am a river fanatic. I grew up bass fishing on the CT river and built my tournament career winning tournaments and guiding. The rivers and streams feeding into a lake offer plenty of water flow and oxygenated water. This keep bass active even in the midsummer heat. Run up these creeks or rivers as far as you can to find the strongest flowing water. The most productive spots to try in the tributaries are the pockets near the river bends. This is where wind and current push baitfish towards the bank. I started fishing major tournaments in 1983, and turned full time in 1996. What a ride that was. It was some of the best years of my life. Since I am retired now in Florida I no longer compete. However I fish 3 to 4 days a week. What a great life this is!”

Tips for pitching summertime bass

  • Use heavy hooks, smaller hooks can bend out and cause you to lose fish when muscling them out of heavy cover.
  • Pick your targets out and try to establish a pattern. Are you catching fish on one side or the other (Shady side or sunny side, up current side or down side) At the bottom, in the middle, or near the surface as you are pulling out?
  • When you pitch to your target be ready for a bite at any moment, let your bait fall to the bottom, twitch a few times, pull the bait out and repeat. Depending on the how the fish are reacting you may need to try soaking a bait a little longer with more twitches, try dead sticking for a bit, or shake and bump the bait against cover at the surface.
  • Look for shallow structure/vegetation areas that are close to deep water, big fish like to sit in shallow haunts near deep water for an easy retreat.
  • Practice controlling the entry of the bait to make as little water disturbance as possible upon entry.
  • Ease the bait out of the cover so your weed guard or weedless Texas rigged bait doesn’t expose the hook and snag up on the structure.
  • Lock your drag down so that the fish can’t take any line. Then you will get good hook penetration and be able to clear the fish from cover as quickly as possible.
  • Only lighten the drag in areas where clearing the fish fast off the cover is not as crucial like soft grass or vertical poles. Loosen the drag some, while using your thumb to lock down the spool for the initial hook set.
  • using a high speed reel, this allows you to take up any slack line faster to set the hook, catch up to a fish running at you quicker, and also get your bait back to the boat faster for the next pitch.

“Last but not least, A lot of guys just don’t practice their pitching enough to be able to get it into that target zone. If they’ll practice their pitching and then really concentrate on where should that fish be, the darkest, baddest, hardest to get to area, then they’ll start catching a lot more fish.”

Learn more bass fishing tips and techniques in my 2 info packed books.
Strategies For Bass Book by retired Elite Series Pro Angler
See You On The River Fishing Guide Book by retired Elite Series Pro Angler
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