How to catch sea bass safely and sustainably is an important topic.
Fishing for sea bass is becoming increasingly difficult. The rules are becoming stricter, and catch rates are declining sharply due to overfishing by professional fishermen.
As a general rule, sea bass are great fighters and have become a prevalent sport fish for the saltwater angler. They prefer warmer waters, and often dwell among rocks. To catch sea bass, use ragworms, avoid crosswinds and hard currents, use good shads and a fluorocarbon leader line.
Of course, it is still possible to catch sea bass, but only if you know what you’re doing.
Continue reading and get to know no less than 14 tips on how to catch sea bass!
Table of Contents
- 1 How to catch sea bass: Introduction
- 2 Tips for fishing for sea bass
- 2.1 Try surface lures
- 2.2 Seabass from the beach
- 2.3 Fish when the temperature is right
- 2.4 Try new lures
- 2.5 Watch the tides
- 2.6 Fish with a single hook paternoster
- 2.7 Fish with a ragworm
- 2.8 With the float
- 2.9 Avoid crosswind
- 2.10 Fish by the rocks
- 2.11 Avoid hard currents
- 2.12 Tag along on a boat
- 2.13 Use good seabass shads
- 2.14 Use a fluorocarbon leader
- 3 How to catch sea bass: Conclusion
How to catch sea bass: Introduction
This salty predatory fish prefers rocks, harbors, sandbars, marshes, and breakwaters.
High surf and current are ideal if you fish from the beach. Usually, you catch more sea bass with wind on the shore.
It is very important that the bait must be kept moving, so reeling your bait in or having the current and wind keep your bait moving artificially is key.
Tips for fishing for sea bass
Below, we give you some valuable tips to immediately increase your chances of catching sea bass!
Remember that the sea bass is a great fighter, so it is not easy to catch one.
Try surface lures
Suppose you know the water temperature is pretty low and it’s a sunny day. In that case, use surface lures like poppers to really maximize surface fishing.
Tip: Ensure you’re properly dressed to go out fishing when it’s cold, as explained in our other article Winter Fishing Clothing Tips to Stay Warm on the Waterfront
Not only does sea bass seek warmth, but natural prey fish like it.
Poppers have a blunt nose which causes them to move a lot of water when they are reeled in, attracting attention.
An added advantage of sea bass fishing with poppers is that you can sometimes see the bites very well, and it can be very spectacular to see a sea bass hit your lure!
Poppers can be used with an ordinary spinning rod, but keep in mind that they have a little more resistance in the water than, for example, a pilker or crankbait of the same weight.
Seabass from the beach
The sea bass often dwells among the rocks. But that’s certainly not the only place you can catch them.
If you’re fishing from the beach with beach rods, you also have a good chance of catching bass by using suitable materials and knowing where to fish.
Fish when the temperature is right
Sea bass become especially active when the water temperature is 53 degrees Fahrenheit or above. If you notice the temperatures rising, it is time to look for them.
Also, pay close attention to the weather; if the weather is sunny, the top layer of the water will warm up, and bass will seek out this warmer water layer. They are more on the surface than when the weather is not as nice.
You can read the water temperatures from various places along the US coast on several meteorological websites.
Try new lures
The sea bass is heavily preyed upon daily with many types of lures, so, like other fish, habituation can occur.
This means that if a sea bass has already been caught with a particular type of lure once or twice, he will remember this and let this lure pass him by.
That’s why it’s essential to vary your lures a lot.
Watch the tides
In addition to paying attention to the time of day, such as evening, night, and morning, you can also significantly increase your catch rates if you keep an eye on the tide.
Around low tide and just after high tide are often the best times to catch bass.
When the water is flowing away hard, so after high tide, the current is often so hard that it is challenging to present your baitfish naturally.
Also, spring tide, when the difference between high and low tide is greatest, is often a bad time to go sea bass fishing.
If you go sea bass fishing at all, you often need extra heavy lures or lead because of the high current.
Fish with a single hook paternoster
If you fish with a single hook paternoster, you maintain good contact and can cast far from the shore thanks to some heavier throwing lead.
A single hook paternoster (possibly just cutting off the remaining hooks) ensures that your presentation is more minimalist than with multiple hooks, which can eliminate suspicion on the part of the fish.
Bait the hook with a ragworm, seaweed, or razor clam.
Fish with a ragworm
Among other fish, ragworms are one of the sea bass’ favorite prey. They love it, and fishing for sea bass with ragworms is well worth it.
Not only as a cluster on a hook but also to give your lure extra attraction.
Ragworms give off a tremendous amount of odor and flavor in the water that the bass will quickly pick up on.
Find your own ragworms
Most of the ragworms you buy in the store are farmed ragworms and already work very well. But nothing beats fresh ragworms that you have searched for yourself on the beach.
These ragworms are the real deal and have grown up with the same nutrients as the ragworms the sea bass eat every day.
When the sea bass really don’t want to bite, even with farmed ragworms, try ragworms you’ve found yourself.
It takes some time, so you have to put in some effort, but hard work is rewarded!
With the float
Because sea bass often dwells among the rocks on harbor heads, it can be very effective to fish for sea bass with a float.
You are then always fishing close to the rocks and therefore have less risk of getting stuck.
When fishing with a float, use ragworms as bait and go fishing when it is a little darker, like in the evening, night or morning.
You can use a float for this with a breaker light rod/glow stick to see the float clearly.
When it is darker, bass can also hunt well in the open water and often come out of their hiding places a little more because they are less visible.
The wind also plays an important role, especially when fishing from the shore, because it is difficult to turn.
Ideally, there should be as little wind as possible, but if there is, it should either be at your back or straight ahead.
If the wind comes from the side, it will bend your line, causing you to lose a lot of feeling and contact with your baitfish. This ensures that you will miss many bites and therefore catch less.
Up to about 3 Beaufort, this is not a big deal, but at 4 Beaufort or more, it is wise to find a spot where the wind does not come from the side if possible.
Fish by the rocks
The sea bass is a natural predator and therefore likes to stick to hiding places from where they can strike. Of course, this is very limited at sea because the sea is so open.
Therefore, all obstacles in the water are real hotspots where you can find bass.
In particular, large stone blocks or rocks such as at piers or harbors are places where they lie in wait for goodies to swim by.
So, close to the rocks, you can fish well for sea bass.
Just keep in mind that if you fish here, adjust your gear accordingly. Once you have hooked the sea bass, there is a good chance it will want to dive back in between the rocks to escape.
It is then crucial that you have a rod with enough body to keep it away from there.
In addition, it’s super important to use a strong leader of nylon or fluorocarbon with a thickness of 0.40mm or even more.
Namely, your braided line would be cut instantly if it scraped past a stone under tension.
Avoid hard currents
Many lures lose their intended action when you fish in hard currents and no longer look enticing to sea bass.
Therefore, avoid hard currents such as during storms or during certain times of the tide.
Adjust your lures to the current, such as a slightly heavier lead, crankbait, or pilker, to maintain the action.
Many anglers base lure weight primarily on how far they want to cast, but the amount of current is just as relevant when determining weight.
By the way, you can’t use heavier lead all the time when the current is harder.
If the current is so hard, your lure will move so strangely that it will be useless, no matter how heavy the lead or bait.
Try to find some calmer water. Where the current is hard, it is usually not easy to catch sea bass.
Tag along on a boat
If you always fish from the shore, try going out to sea with a skipper sometime. This will allow you to meet other sea bass anglers who can often give you all kinds of tips.
The skipper often has some good tips as well. Moreover, your chances are different on the open sea than on the coast.
Especially outside of the summer, sea bass is often a little farther from shore, and a boat can undoubtedly increase your catching chances.
Use good seabass shads
Like other perch species such as common perch and zander, sea bass loves soft baits such as shads.
Combined with a lead head, this is one of the best types of lures to hunt for sea bass.
Use special sea bass shads combined with a lead head up to 15 grams when there is little current or double that when there is more current.
Use a fluorocarbon leader
Like the common perch and the zander, the sea bass has large eyes that make them true sight hunters because of their excellent vision.
Therefore, especially with perch species, it is essential that your mounting be as unobtrusive as possible.
Because fluorocarbon is the least visible in the water and is very abrasion-resistant, using a fluorocarbon leader line is recommended.
Ideally, you would just use a knot as a connection instead of a swivel or snap.
You may not be able to change lures or leaders as quickly by omitting these, but your presentation will be optimal.
How to catch sea bass: Conclusion
Sea bass fishing is quite popular, which is strange really because it is not an easy fish to catch. Quite the contrary. It requires knowledge, skill, and a lot of practice and experience.
The bass prefers spots where currents and rockfalls/obstacles meet.
For example, piers, breakwaters, other wave breakers, and where the water is relatively rough are great places to find sea bass.
Also, pay close attention to other anglers. Where several people fish for sea bass, there are bound to be fish.
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