Bass eat all day, but some parts of the day are more special and offer unique opportunities to catch bass at higher rates than usual. Mornings are, perhaps, the best time of day to catch bass. To take advantage of hungry, more aggressive morning bass, you’ve got to be sure to employ the best tactics to get in on the famous “morning bite.”
Use baits and lures that cover water quickly for early morning bass fishing. When water temps are above 55 or 60 degrees in the morning, use topwater lures, toads, and buzzbaits to catch aggressive bass. Opt for a jerkbait, soft plastic, or lipless crankbait to locate bass for colder morning water.
I’ve fished a ton over the last 40 years and have noticed specific patterns that repeat over and over for early morning bass fishing. Most relate to different times of the year and the varying water temperatures related to the bass fishing seasons.
Summer Bass Fishing in the Morning
Summer bass fishing in the morning is, by far, one of the best times of the year to hit big numbers. There are a number of early-morning bass fishing tips and techniques. The trick is to choose the right bait or lure and fish in the right areas.
Early morning summer bass fishing is especially good because bass are typically more aggressive during the cooler parts of the day, so the morning is prime time after a long night of no sunlight to heat up the water. However, once the sun gets up and things get a little hotter, summertime bass tend to hunker down by seeking as much shade and cooler water as possible and get a little more challenging to catch.
My go-to baits for early morning bass fishing in the summer include topwater baits like poppers, walking baits, and buzzbaits. If I’m with a fishing partner, one of us will throw something a little slower, like a popper, while the other covers water with a buzzbait.
One of the baits will eventually “show itself” as the better option. For thicker cover like grass, lily pads, or mats, I like changing to a toad or frog to work vegetation effectively and thoroughly. Once again, toads cover more water, whereas a frog is a slower, more methodical presentation.
Early Morning Fall Bass Fishing
With the onset of fall weather patterns comes a change in baitfish behavior which, in turn, affects bass. Bait will move from deep summer hangouts to creeks and shallower water during the fall. Bass follow.
When deciding on tactics and strategies for early morning fall bass fishing, you should carefully consider using baits and lures that heavily emphasize bait imitation.
Water temperatures drop, and the topwater bite will eventually slow down. Look for alternatives to topwater, like subsurface-style lures. Alabama rigs (where legal), spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits are all great morning bite lures that are fished below the surface and work very well in the fall.
Bass are living off of schools of baitfish during the fall period, so placing a high priority on mimicking that kind of prey when choosing your lures will pay big dividends.
Morning Bass Fishing During the Winter
Morning bass fishing during the winter presents different challenges and opportunities highly dependent on which part of the country you live in. For the context of this section, I’ll base my assumptions that the morning bite is still a relevant question. In other words, if it’s too cold where you are to fish in the morning, then, needless to say, you’ll have to skip this part.
If you fish in an area susceptible to intense cold weather, you’re likely skipping the morning fishing and waiting until things warm up a bit throughout the day. But, for example, if you’re fishing for bass in the winter in Florida, morning bass fishing questions may still be relevant.
Much like the rest of the day in winter, generally speaking, you’ll need to slow down and downsize to catch early morning bass. Some of my favorites for wintertime bass fishing in the morning include jerkbaits fished with REALLY long pauses. When fishing is tough, finesse baits, like drop shots and shaky heads, often come into play.
I’ll always have a Texas Rig worm on during winter mornings as well. Finally, crankbaits are great for offshore structure, which bass like to frequent during colder winter months, and they are super effective for early morning bass when you slow roll them to tempt hungry bass.
Early Morning Bass Fishing in the Spring
Bass fishing in and around the spring months is dominated by one thought: the spawn. Therefore, most techniques and tactics during the spring months have something to do with pre-spawn, spawn, or post-spawn bass fishing. Early morning is a great time to bass fish for bass preparing to be on beds, already on them, or bass moving out of spawning grounds.
Pre-spawn Early Morning Fishing
For pre-spawn bass staging to move up to spawn, early morning is a time to stock up on food, so bass tend to feed fairly aggressively. Use baits that resemble a larger meal to take advantage of active bass preparing to move up to bed. Larger-than-normal plastic worms (8 to 12 inches) are a great way to grab the attention of a greedy bass. For a moving bait, try a large swimbait to cover staging areas. Big topwater lures like a large walking bait can be an effective way to cover water and attract the attention of a bigger bass, especially in the morning.
Early Morning Fishing During the Spawn
The spawn means males on beds alongside females. If the females aren’t on beds, they’re at least nearby. Before the sun comes up in its entirety, it can be difficult to sight fish for bass during the spawn in the morning, so a search bait can be used to elicit a strike from fish while blind casting to a known bedding area.
If the wind is blowing a bit, a spinnerbait waked near the water surface is a great tool to find bass on or near beds when you can’t see them early in the morning. Poppers also work well by creating enough commotion to garner attention from large females on beds or hanging out nearby. Bluegill imitating swim jigs can also be very effective for early morning bass fishing during the spawn because bass interpret these lures as a threat since bluegill naturally eat bass eggs off of beds.
Early Morning Bass Fishing for Post-Spawn Bass
Post spawn can be a tricky time of year with some bass still on or near beds hanging out in shallow water or staying close to beds to protect them. Throwing squarebill crankbaits in the morning can be a great way to cover ground, looking for post-spawn bass still hanging out shallow.
Bass that have already moved off of beds have typically moved on from shallow spawning areas and are on the move toward deeper hideouts as they recover from the spawn. Therefore, slowing down for post-spawn bass is a great way to get them to bite. Shaky heads and traditional Texas Rig worms are perfect candidates for early morning bass fishing for post-spawn bass.
Why is Bass Fishing Good in the Morning? (4 Reasons to Get Up Early)
1. Less pressure makes for better bass fishing in the morning.
Pleasure boating and other traffic can take their toll on any body of water. Fish are well aware of boat and people traffic. Mornings are usually a great time of day to get out on the water with a little less pressure on the fish.
2. Bass are Dormant at Night, Making them Ready to Eat in the Morning
Bass are usually more aggressive in the mornings because the general theory is that they do not eat as much and are more sedentary at night. Therefore, mornings mean “go time” for bass. It’s often a feeding frenzy early in the morning, making it a great time to catch larger numbers of fish.
Bass eat a wide variety of things in the mornings, including bugs, lizards, crawfish, and other critters that fall in the water, but their primary email of choice is baitfish like shad, herring, and shiners.
3. Bass Roam More Looking for Food in the Morning
During warmer times of the year, bass typically retreat to the shade or deeper water when the sun is high and the water heats up. Mornings are a time for bass to move out of cover as they search for food.
4. Lower Light Levels in the Morning Give Bass an Advantage Over Prey
Bass are known for their strong vision relative to other fish and bait, which gives them a decided advantage over their prey in lower-light situations. Morning time is just right for bass as they use low light levels when the sun is not at its fullest to feed on various forms of prey.
Predator bass use every chance they have to exert less effort to eat more, and mornings present the perfect opportunity for bass to use their stronger vision to their benefit when hunting.
The Bass Line. Final Word.
When deciding which bait or lure to use for early morning bass fishing, it is important to understand the relationship between seasons, water temperatures, and the temperament of bass.
If you’re not a morning person and like to catch bass, you may need to switch gears for fishing season and muster up enough steam to get out early, or you could miss out on huge opportunities for excellent bass fishing.
Get to bed early, set an alarm, and get to the lake.
The fish are ready in the mornings, are you?
Fish on and tight lines!