When young anglers ask to go bass fishing because they are tired of catching bluegills, we must come up with a plan. They want to catch bass, a specific species of fish, so planning the trip is the hardest part. Taking the time to figure out the body of water, the lures, the tackle, and some objectives to provide a teaching and catching opportunity will ensure a successful outing. Teaching kids to bass fish is a little different overall than just catching fish.
Finding a body of water starts with waterways containing the largest populations of bass. Remember, they have been catching bluegill, 12-14″ bass are big to them. Also consider the composition of structure, a lake full of thick weeds is just going to frustrate them. Baits are difficult to work without getting hung up, and landing bass can be very challenging. My suggestion is a lake with defined weed edges; this helps pinpoint the areas bass should be holding. Weedlines also provide targets for young anglers to help with casting. Teach them to cast beyond the points and pockets in the grass edges.
Tackle is easier to figure out. They have probably been using a spinning rod for bluegill, and this should not change at first. They will be comfortable with the spinning gear, and we want them to have fun. Trying to get them to use a baitcaster will only frustrate them and learning how to catch a bass will take a back seat.
Lures are easy for me. I pick baits proven to catch numbers of bass. A weightless T-rig senko tops the list since there is no wrong way to work it. This presentation is weedless and comes out of trees pretty easy. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are other good baits for the child who wants to chunk and wind all day. Throw either of those two long enough, and bass will eat them.
Less experienced anglers tend to get bored quickly if the bass are not cooperating. Keep the trip short, so they want more. Patience is the teachers (our) biggest job. Remember, the goal is for the child to catch bass, not us. Take the time to teach them, produce a bass or two, and gain a fishing partner for life.
Dave “zippyduck” Krimm
Try the Silver Minnow as a great weedless bait for teaching young bass anglers…