what time of the day are bass most active

What Time of the Day are Bass Most Active?

What time of the day are bass most active? If you are wondering when is the best time to try and catch them you have come to the right spot. I have been chasing bass for years and there are definitely times of the day when they are more prone to bite. Other times you are better off spending your time doing something else because the darn things just are not going to bite. In this guide we will dive in to a bunch of different elements impacting when the fish are most active and ready to feed.

Understanding Bass Behavior

In order to catch more bass, we have to understand them. Fish are simple, they want to eat, conserve energy, spawn, and avoid predation. This is pretty much the basis of all fish. Diving into their nature will give us a better idea on when to catch them.

Basic Biology of a Bass

The first thing that is critical about when to catch bass, especially bigger ones, is to understand that they are cold blooded. This means that the water temperature around them controls their metabolism. We will keep this in mind when determining when we should fish them, considering the following:

  • Time of the day
  • Season
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Temperature and Fronts

Warmer water is going to lead to a higher metabolism which means it is time to feed. Colder water is going to lower their metabolism and make them much less likely to bite. There is a sweet spot however, once the water temperature gets above 80 degrees the oxygen level in the water dips placing them under stress. A major thing to note is a stressed fish is not an “eager to eat” fish.

Factors Influencing Bass Feeding Times

Let’s go over a list of factors that are going to alter the water temperature. These will make smallmouth and largemouth bass more likely to eat or more likely to stay dormant until the water column is stable. The absolute best time to catch bass is when the water temperature is between 60-75 degrees. This is the most ideal for their metabolism and why fishing at either dawn or dusk is essential. Certain factors come in to play the more we get in to the middle of the day making bass more reluctant to feed.

Time of Day

The mornings and evenings are going to be our best bet because the elements we mentioned above are going to be way more stable and predictable. Bass prefer to stay out of the light and the sun because it makes it easier for them to feed. Have you ever stood on the bow of a boat and spooked a fish? This is the same for bass that are hunting baitfish and other prey, the low light conditions and calm water make them a lot less detectable.

Season

Spring and Fall tend to be the best seasons to target at trophy bass because the water temperature is in that perfect range (60-75) to fish them. In the middle of Summer when things get really hot bass tend to be lethargic and a lot less aggressive. They will swim deeper to get in cooler water making fishing deeper in the water column most ideal. During the Winter months when the water temperature really dips the metabolism of a bass is going to slow way down, hence the reduction in feeding.

Wind

Water is usually still during the mornings and tends to pick up in chop as the day goes on. I can recall a number of times when I am catching fish in the morning and as soon as the wind picks up the bite dies. Same thing goes for the evening, it can be windy all day and then when things get calm fish start going crazy. There’s actually some science that goes into these feeding trends.

Wind Induced Mixing

The water column of a lake or river is divided into many different segments. The surface of the water is going to be an entirely different temperature than the bottom of the lake. Sometimes this difference can be as much as 20 degrees depending on the depth of the body of water. Wind induced mixing occurs when the wind has such an impact that it causes these layers to mix. Colder water from deeper is mixing with warmer layers from the top. Bass like things stable. When all these different layers of water temperature are colliding it throws them for a loop, making them more reluctant to feed.

Rainfall

@lunkerville

After a storm front, largemouth bass typically become more active and feed aggressively. Target areas with cover, such as fallen trees or weed beds, using slower-moving baits like jigs or soft plastics. Focus on shallow waters where the bass move to hunt for disoriented prey. Patience and subtle presentations are key, as bass may be cautious. Adjust your techniques based on water clarity and temperature changes caused by the storm.#bassfishing #bassfishingtips #bassfishingbasics #lunkerville #fishingtiktoks #fishing

♬ original sound – Lunkerville

After a heavy rain can be a great time to go out and target bass. Rain tends to cool down the surface of the water which raises oxygen levels giving bass the opportunity to chase prey. This can lead to some very successful fishing especially in the summer months when the temperature is hot around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain also causes food to wash in from the banks and shores telling bass that there is food in area and that it is time to feed. Lastly, a heavy rain can stir up the bottom making the water more murky. Murky water can disguise bass, instead of relying on eyesight, they rely on vibrations in the water and can easilly catch disoriented prey.

Temperature and Fronts

Pick a day to go fishing where the temperature has been consistent for the past couple of days leading up to your fishing day. 60 degrees one day and 80 degrees the next is going to confuse bass and likely alter the water temperature making for less ideal conditions. Cold or warm fronts can really mess up the water column in terms of temperature and make the fishing hit or miss.

A Note on the Water Column

Catching Bass in the Water Column

When graphing the temperature from the boat keep in mind that your transducer is likely taking the temperature of the water at the very surface. If you are seeing fish 30 feet below the surface, it is likely that those fish are sitting in temperatures 10-15 degrees cooler than the surface. With this you will have to adjust your fishing approach. If the graph reads 75 degrees at the very surface, opting for a strategy like topwater fishing is your best bet to hook more fish.

Conclusion

The best times for bass fishing are early morning and late evening, when lower light and cooler temperatures make bass more active and likely to feed in shallower waters. These periods also coincide with increased oxygen levels and heightened activity among prey like insects and small fish. Additionally, environmental changes such as weather fronts or impending storms can further enhance bass activity. Therefore, targeting these times, while monitoring weather patterns, can significantly improve your fishing success.

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