Fishing fast for bass is a popular tactic for tournament anglers and weekend anglers alike. Face it, you only have so much time on the water. It won’t hurt to make the best of that time. Covering water and hitting all the prime spots as quickly as possible can help you spend more time catching em.
This article will cover some popular techniques for fishing fast. While they’re targeted towards bass fishing, these ideas can be used in other types of fishing as well.
Fast Fishing Lures
Some lures are just better suited to covering water quickly. Here are some ideas for the lures that are ideal for fishing fast. There are also some tips on how to maximize speed with them.
Bass fishing pro Kevin VanDam is famous for fast fishing techniques. And while he can fish with slow soft plastics, some of his favorites are fast moving baits.
A jerkbait is a prime example. The fast twitching motions can trigger strikes from bass that are lying in wait. What makes the jerkbait interesting is that you can give it pauses that cause it to suspend.
This is a great mixture of fast and slow fishing. You can cover a lot of water with a jerkbait. At the same time, you can give the fish an extra second or two to strike at the lure by pausing it.
Getting a jerkbait to suspend perfectly can be tricky, but it’s worth it. Many anglers spend time tank testing their jerkbaits. They add or remove small weighted strips or additional split rings. Larger hooks can also be used to make a jerkbait heavier.
Overall, the effort is worth it. A jerkbait the suspends perfectly can be worked even faster than one that floats up right away.
Another aspect you can opt for in your jerkbaits is sound chambers. The rattles in these chambers can attract bass from far away. This can enhance your ability to bring in bass from an area with the least amount of casts there.
So check out a jerkbait as a great fast fishing lure.
Spinnerbaits are another incredibly versatile lure for fishing fast and covering water. Yes, you can slow roll a spinnerbait along the bottom and target lethargic bass. However, that may be a last resort if you can’t catch em fast.
Burning a spinnerbait just below the surface is a deadly tactic when there is a light wind. The small ripples on the surface can help disguise the presentation and really fool bass. The flashes from the blades can be much more effective when small ripples on the surface are helping to reflect light. These ripples will reflect light from the blades in many directions. This can help call in the bass and draw in strikes.
Add to that a fast retrieve and the predatory instinct will take over.
So, cast a spinnerbait out there and then retrieve it fast enough so that it’s just below the surface.
This type of retrieve will let you cover water quickly. It will also target aggressive bass in the area that are ready to feed.
This is an excellent technique to use around long strands of weeds or around wood cover.
Spinnerbaits will usually come through sparse weeds with no problem.
Bumping a spinnerbait off of submerged logs can also trigger strikes and will be hard to hang up on the wood.
A crankbait is a classic fast fishing lure. They’re normally associated with scouring the bottom and bumping into rocks and cover. However, lipless crankbaits are also an option when you want to fish a bit higher in the water column.
For example, if you’re in water that has weeds a few feet below the surface, a lipless crankbait is a great option.
Dragging the bait just above the weed tops and letting it clip the tops of some of the weeds is deadly and fast.
Of course you can do this with a regular lipped crankbait that dives to the required depth.
In rocky bottom structure crankbaits shine. The ability to hit rocks with the crankbait lip is a real weapon.
This action can create erratic movements of the lure. Hits on rocks will cause it to shoot off to one side or the other. These random movements are a feature that more closely mimics nature. The crankbait darting off simulates the random darts that an escaping baitfish would make.
Chatterbaits are awesome baits for covering water. Their vibrations can call bass from a distance while at the same time not being overly noisy.
This combination can present a different type of target for bass that have been conditioned to seeing other baits.
The chatterbait can also be retrieved over light weeds without hanging up too badly.
To fish a chatterbait more quickly, you’ll need to go up in weight if you want to keep it down at depth.
I’ve written an entire guide on how to fish a chatterbait. You can find it here.
Swimbaits are another great lure for fishing fast. Small paddle tail soft plastics on a lead head jig are a great lure for covering water.
You can vary the size of these significantly too.
Small 2 or 3 inch paddle tails combined with 1/8 ounce jigs will provide a great lure for shallow clear water.
You can retrieve these quite quickly and get reaction strikes and also fish that follow your lure.
Even if they don’t strike they will give away their position and you can try slower lures to get them to bite.
Larger swimbaits in the 5 inch range and over can also be used to cover water.
However, these are more popular with big bass hunters. Of course, this doesn’t mean that small bass won’t attack them. They most certainly will.
So, don’t hesitate to try a large swimbait. The difference in size can be something bass in your area haven’t seen very often. This alone can sometimes trigger a strike.
Swimjigs are similar to swimbaits. You can fish ’em fast and cover lots of water. The pulsing skirt of a swimjig can really draw in bass that have seen many other types of lures.
Don’t forget to pair your swimjig with a nice trailer to give it a nice swimming action behind the skirt.
A swimjig is also a great lure for skipping under docks. Try starting out with a 3/8 ounce jig and practice getting it back to the rear piling on docks.
This can be a deadly way to cover the section of docks closest to shore and do it fast.
I’ve also written a swimjig fishing guide that you can find here.
Fast Fishing Techniques
Fast fishing can mean different things to different people. Covering water is a good way to find where the bass are.
Of course in some cases you can have a large amount of time but also a large amount of water. So, you still want to fish fast.
In other cases, you have a small amount of time and regardless of water size, you need to move quickly.
Finding the fish you’re looking for can take all day sometimes. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a fishing spot that you’ve never been to.
Seasonal Bass Patterns
Seasonal patterns can help you get a starting point to work from.
For example, if you’re fishing during the spawn, then you know that shallow water is the place to start. Once you find the spawning grounds, you’re good to go.
But summer weather can scatter fish and make them much harder to find.
This is a time when pattern detection can really pay off.
You can fish deep ledges looking for schools of bass feeding on shad.
Or, you can spot a current break in a river and catch all sorts of predators waiting for prey to pass them.
They key really comes down to one thing. What will you do after you catch that first and second fish?
This is how patterns get detected. And your ability to match a pattern is going to be a key player in getting you on fish fast.
So, say for example, you catch a bass off a dock. You think to yourself: “Great, I’ll just hit all the docks and it should all work out.” Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Some docks will be better than others. And while the places fish choose may all seem random at times, sometimes it will definitely not be random.
You may notice that docks that are over or right next to deep water are holding fish. Other docks, that are in and around the shallows, aren’t producing at all.
So, you start to focus on docks near deep water and suddenly, you have a limit and more. When it’s time to go home you had a great day on the water because you maximized your fish catching opportunities.
This same type of analysis can work with all sorts of other variables. Lure color, size, depth, speed. Even the sequence of how you alternate between fast and slow retrieves can make a difference.
The number of variables can be mind numbing.
So, don’t get paralyzed in analysis. Continue fishing, but keep your mind open to spotting something that can key you into a pattern and then give it a shot.
If it pans out, you can repeat the pattern over and over.
Fishing Fast With Slow Lures
If you know that slow lures are the thing then fishing fast may seem impossible.
But you can fish slow lures fast if you apply the speed to the presentation instead of the working of the lure.
Say for example you know that bass are hitting slow falling wacky rigged worms.
But they’re only doing this in holes in large matted weed patches.
You think, yes, this is going to be a slow all day mission. Dropping a worm in all these holes will take a while.
But as you go you notice one thing. The bass are hitting in holes within weed patches with fresh green grass. Other patches that have brown dead weeds matted on top are not producing.
Now you have your recipe for speed.
You can jump from one fresh grass patch to another. This could ensure that your drop your worm is the places that have the highest probability of having a bass.
You can hit all the productive spots and save a massive amount of time.
Fast Fishing Gear
When you’re fishing fast, it helps to have gear that can assist you. When you want to cover water, you often want to retrieve your lure in quickly once you know it’s out of the strike zone.
A high speed reel can make this much easier.
Look for at least an 8 to 1 gear ratio that can bring in about 32 or more inches of line per handle turn.
This will help you get your lure in fast and get you ready for the next cast.
Remember however that sometimes you’ll want to try maintaining a standard retrieve all the way to the boat.
I’ve gotten strikes right next to the boat from all sorts of fish. So stay alert to the possibility.
Longer rods are also a good tool as well. Long casts are the reason. When you can cast further, you can cover more water per cast. And with some lures like crankbaits, the extra length can get you a deeper run.
More time in the strike zone, more efficiency are all part of it.
Keep in mind that sometimes a longer rod is not ideal, but if it works out for the lure you’re using and your fishing setup, try it.
A powerful trolling motor is another tool that can speed up your fishing. For example, if you’re moving from dock to dock or just from one spot to another.
If you’re going to be using your trolling motor to get there, then don’t skimp on power.
Get there fast, but consider powering it down as you arrive to reduce any high volume noise that your motor makes.
Using Patterns To Cover More Water
As you can see, the pattern is the key. Finding the structure, cover or forage that is holding the fish is what you need to look for.
I’ve written a separate article about how to spot patterns in bass fishing here.
Breaking Down A Body Of Water To Maximize Fishing Time
As for speed when covering water, here are some ways to speed up the process.
If you have a laptop or a desktop computer then google maps pro is an invaluable tool to use.
With it, you can view overhead pictures of lakes and even go back in time if there are past photos available of the lake.
This will allow you to see bottom areas in low level years.
If it’s a clear water lake, you can also see bottom cover and structure.
You can spot matted vegetation, tree stumps and flooded timber.
This can make for a huge time savings on scoping out a lake before you go.
You can also add way points to your google maps pro and save them to a file.
If you’re fish finder supports it, you can save the way point files in a supported format.
Then, transfer the way points that you want to check out to your fish finder.
Imagine loading your sonar unit with waypoints to all the interesting spots you want to investigate.
You can save serious time over going in blind.
So next time you’re checking out a new lake, don’t forget to do your maps homework.
Also remember that in most reservoirs muddy water is usually concentrated in the upper reaches of creeks.
Muddy water will usually stay warmer after a early season cold front. The additional sediment in the water causes it to hold its temperature longer.
So, keep this factor in mind as well when you are looking at satellite maps.
Those are just some tips on how to speed up your bass finding skills. Keep in mind that sometimes you ca fish way too fast. This means you’ll be missing bites because you’re in to much of a hurry.
I’m sure there are many other ideas on finding fish fast.. Make sure to leave a comment with your favorite idea on how to fish fast.