Looking for Larry

What to Use to Catch Largemouth Bass

By Daniel P. Jones
Largemouth - Danny
Making Friends With Larry – Danny Jones shows off an example of the Largemouth Bass the freshwater ponds on the Cape hold. (Capt. Richard Haight Photo)

Another crazy Summer on Cape Cod is upon us. Spring was typical for the Cape, cold, windy and wet. With each day warming more and more, the Cape’s freshwater ponds are also gradually warming, which will get largemouth bass, or Larrys, moving into the shallower water, getting ready to spawn. This can be an awesome time to fish. Herring will also start to show up in the runs and move into freshwater to spawn. Bass will gorge on these nutrient rich androgynous fish. Weeds and lily pads will start to grow and provide plenty of cover for spawning and ambushing bait fish, frogs, snakes and all types of insects. Fishing for largemouth can be extremely productive during early morning and evening, just before dusk.

When fishing for Larry, I will sometimes cast the shorelines either wading or from my jonboat. The boat gives me more of an advantage by allowing me, first, to cover more area and, second, the electric motor provides stealth. Bass can sometimes be in only a few inches of water just waiting for a tasty snack to come by.

Typically I will fish with a 6 ½ to 7 foot spinning rod with a reel in the 3000 to 4000 size loaded with 15 to 20 lb. braided line. The braided line fishes well in heavy cover because of the thin diameter, it can cut through vegetation to pull fish out of the weeds. Also, I will attach a 18 to 24 inch fluorocarbon leader. The fluorocarbon is not only transparent but abrasion resistant, which will help toothy pickerel from cutting your line.

For tackle, I mainly use rubber baits such as the Gary Yamamoto’s Yamasenko or Goose Hummock Brand soft plastics. These are easy baits to use and can be rigged a multitude of ways. They can be rigged Carolina or wacky style. Gamakatsu makes finesse wide gape hooks regular, weedless, and offset hook for Carolina style. The Goose has plenty of these in stock.

Also, if targeting really large bass, I prefer to cast big swim baits, either in a herring or bluegill style. Savage Gear, Jackall, and Gantia lures are some of the brands to look for. Largemouth bass are opportunistic fish and will feed on almost anything that swims their way. If fishing with children and the size of the fish does not matter, using live bait can yield big results. You can use shiners or night-crawlers, either on the bottom or suspended under a bobber. Having a bobber makes it easy for the kids to see the strike as well.

Largemouth must be at least 12 inches long to possess with a daily bag limit of 5. They are not the best table fair, so I do encourage catch and release. So while your wondering what to do this summer after work, or a day at the beach, head out to one of the hundreds of freshwater ponds and catch some bass! Largemouth bass can be very aggressive and just a blast to catch.