As a bass angler, you obviously want to catch the largest and most impressive largemouth bass you can. These massive lunkers are the prized trophy of any bass fisherman, regardless of whether they are professional anglers or weekend beginners.
Here we will take a closer look at some of the best and most promising spots to start looking for your next trophy bass. I’ll cover other important aspects of landing a huge bass, too, including the best gear and electronics to use, the most promising season and time of day, and a few tips you may not have thought of for your next fishing trip.
How to Find Lunker Bass
Top States and Waterways to Catch Big Bass
While most states and provinces in Canada have healthy big bass populations, a few states in the US stand out as being hot spots for big monster bass and are known as the top big bass producer.
When it comes to this southern state, one spot comes instantly to mind for being a bucket-list destination for big bass anglers. Lake Guntersville. This lake is home to countless annual big bass fishing tournaments and is the shooting location of multiple fishing-related TV shows.
Lake Guntersville is the top destination for many professional big bass anglers, including Shaw Grigsby, Brent Crow, Logan Martin, and more. You’ll find some of the biggest largemouth and smallmouth basses in this area, giving you a true run for your money when it comes to landing your next lunker.
Another southern state with a reputation for having some of the largest basses around is Georgia. In fact, this state has produced a world-record largemouth bass weighing more than 22 pounds. If you are a serious bass angler, Georgia has some amazing waterways to put the boat on when you are looking for the absolute biggest fish.
One of the best places to go is Lake Lanier, which constantly produces bass over 5 pounds reliably. You can also head to West Point Lake, which is a true hotspot for largemouth bass, and Lake Harding is a great location in the bass scene if you want a quieter body of water with fewer people.
While southern states seem to have the biggest and most prolific populations of true trophy bass, Tennessee is no different. Being a more northern state, big bass populations in this state will be somewhat slower to grow and will have more specific spawning months, which opens up specific months for anglers to come fishing.
Streams and rivers are packed full of smallmouth bass, with largemouth over 10 pounds coming out of the Chickamauga. You can also find potential world-record fish in various reservoirs along the lowlands and around Center Hill, Douglas Lake, and Kentucky Lake.
Spots Where Big Bass Live In Rivers, Lakes, and Ponds
The biggest bass tries to keep themselves hidden and protected. After all, they didn’t grow this large by being careless. These bass have a series of favorite spots where they can be found.
Also known as laydowns, horizontal cover areas are highly popular places for big bass to hide out. They typically search for areas that have an abundance of overhead cover from birds. Look for trees that may have recently blown over into the lake or river from a storm or for logs that may have been felled by beavers.
These horizontal cover areas are a great spot for bass and their prey to hide. When you want to tempt wary fish into taking your soft plastic or topwater frog, casting it into a horizontal cover is a great way to find bigger fish.
In rivers and creeks, areas where the current is slowed down, is a popular spot for big bass to hang out. They seek out these spots in order to find prey; since the current often makes it difficult for smaller fish to swim, a large bass will search for current break areas and wait for struggling smaller fish to pass by.
Current breaks can be the off-side of fallen trees, large rocks, large clumps of vegetation, beaver dams, and more. Any structure, natural or not that blocks or slows down the passage of water is a suitable current break where bass may congregate.
Man Made Structures
The support pylons for docks, bridges, and piers are all perfect spots for bass to hide. The overhead cover gives them a sense of security and safety from birds and other airborne threats, while the shadow of the structure also helps keep that area of the lake cooler since it’s out of direct sunlight.
Toss a lure into the water as close as you can to a support pillar and give it a few minutes. You may be able to locate good-sized bass in a very short amount of time, especially if you can deliver your lure or bait right into their strike zone.
Pretty much any area you see a large number of aquatic plants will be a suitable spot for bass of all sizes to hide out. Look for clusters of cattails or bullrushes along the bank; seek out lilypad clusters, large pads of floating algae, thick weeds, tall grasses, and more.
Finding these areas will pretty much guarantee a whole host of small insects and other aquatic animals will be nearby, which can end up providing a good food source for growing bass and other fish. Big largemouth bass will seek out these areas, too, in search of their own prey items.
How to Catch Lunker Bass
Fishing for big bass is no different than fishing for a small 3-pounder. You can use the same bass fishing techniques and gear as you normally do on these big fish, but you will simply upscale the size of your bait or lure to increase the chances you catch bigger bass.
Additionally, you may want to target more difficult-to-get areas where large big bass will be hiding out since chances are good these fish will avoid high-traffic areas of the lake and will instead seek out quieter haunts to search for prey.
When to Fish For Huge Bass
Many anglers swear by the early morning being the best time to fish for big bass of any type, especially when hoping for a 10-pound bass. These big fish are highly active during the same hours as smaller baitfish species since that is their main prey.
If you see minnows, shiners, bluegill, gizzard shad, and other smaller fish active in the early morning hours, chances are good bass will be active too. Low light conditions are a favorite time for big bass to be active since they can easily distinguish their prey from nearby shadows in the water.
The late afternoon or early evening hours can also be very lucrative when bass fishing. Since this is also a low light time of day, bass will be active during this time. During the summer, early morning hours may be better since the water will be cooler, but in the fall or early spring, a late afternoon lake will be warmer than it is in the morning.
Lures to Use for Big Fish
Big bass lures are great for catching big bass, especially when targeting big largemouth bass specifically. Some of my favorite and most productive large bass lures are plastic worms, weighted jigs, crankbaits, and topwater frogs.
Using a larger lure will ensure smaller fish are unable to grab it, leaving only the big fish able to get hooked. This is a pro for being able to catch your next trophy, but it may be a con since you’ll likely be waiting around for that lunker to swim by.
Rod, Reel, and Line Choice
Monster-sized largemouth bass can put a strain on even the strongest rods, so you don’t want to skimp in this category. Look for a sturdy and thick rod tip that can handle a good amount of bend when the biggest bass put up a fight.
For your reel, focus on a casting reel and avoid using a spinning reel since they won’t normally have enough power to haul in a massive bass, especially if they are over 5 or 6 pounds.
Also, make sure your chosen casting reel has a good drag system, as this will help prevent your line from being snapped during a long fight. Line breaks are the most common reason anglers lose big fish.
When it comes to your line, heavier is obviously the best choice. Instead of just going with the largest and thickest line you can find, however, instead, try to focus on a line that’s around a 10 or 12-pound test. Monofilament is usually the preferred choice due to the added flexibility, which helps with hauling your trophy.
Using Your Electronics Effectively
Fish-finding electronics can be your best bet when it comes to finding the best spot to drop your line in the water. Learning to use your electronics effectively is important to ensure you don’t waste time chasing shadows or blips on the screen, which you thought were a lunker but ended up being floating vegetation instead.
Electronics can be used to not only help you locate sunken structures and other areas where big bass will hide but can help you find schools of prey fish that bigger bass feed on. High-quality electronics can also show you where your lure is set and which fish in the area are showing interest in your presentation.
Varying Your Depth
When fishing throughout the year, it’s important that you understand which depth will be the most promising when it comes to spots where double-digit bass is hanging out. During the winter and spring, bass will move from the deeper water into the shallow areas in order to prepare for their mid to late-spring spawning months.
After spawning, they will likely hang around in shallow water for a while before they move deeper. During the summer months, most big bass will stay low in the water column, where the water temperatures are cooler.
Depending on where you are fishing, the term “deep water” can be a relative term. Shallow water can be either 2 feet or 6 feet, while deep water may be anything from 6 feet to 30 feet. It will all depend on your specific lake, pond, river, or reservoir, so be prepared to know your local waterway’s depth and how to adjust your presentation depth when needed.
Use a Slow Presentation
Massive bass won’t spend a lot of energy chasing your lure all over the lake. Instead, they are much more opportunistic and ambush-type predators. They will wait for your lure to pass right in front of their face before they strike.
In this case, most anglers say using slow artificial lures is your best option and that you should avoid finesse jigs and spinnerbaits. Heavy jigs, weighted head jigs, large frogs, creature baits, and crankbaits are slow and suitable for large bass fishing.
Fish in Good Lighting
While some anglers love night fishing to get bigger bass, taking to the water during the day when the sun is bright is a very good time for catching big bass. Bass has an excellent vision in lighted areas, and if you are fishing in muddy or stained water, having a good amount of natural sunlight to illuminate the area and your bait or lure will help get a strike.
Use Wind to Your Advantage
Sometimes the bigger bass will stay off the beaten path, meaning you might need to work a little magic in order to get your lure into the hot spot for that next massive double-digit fish. You can use the wind to your advantage, in this case, by casting your lure nearby and letting the wind push it into the area you wanted it.