Ultralight Bass Fishing – Fun on Light Gear
Fishing for bass is mostly done on a baitcasting setup using medium to small sized lures. However it is possible to use some very small lures if you have the right tackle setup.
A good ultralight spinning setup is much better than any baitcaster at throwing light lures right where you want them.
That is mostly down to the reel as a baitcaster does need a little bit more weight to get it moving that it does to pull line off of a spinning reel spool.
Ultralight Bass Fishing
Ultralight bass fishing is mostly performed on light spinning tackle not a more conventional baitcasting one that bass anglers usually favor.
In general you are going to want to choose a good bass spinning reel of not more than 2500 in size.
Depending on just how light you want to go a 1000 or 2500 sized reel is best.
Personally I always find you get the best value out of fishing tackle if you go for the mid-range priced offerings from the main manufacturers.
Most manufacturers start their spinning reel sizes at 1000. These reels are designed to take line in the 2 to 4 lb breaking strength range.
Something like a 2500 can handle up to 8 lb with ease. Once you go beyond these sizes you'll find that the reels become too heavy and you need to beef your rod up.
Once you start to do that your ability to throw lighter lures will be diminished.
A rod that is best suited to ultralight fishing for bass is going to be about 6’6″ in length and have a fast action with a light power rating.
For a lot of finesse bass applications the best spinning rods for bass will have light/medium power rating.
When you are fishing near thick weed cover it can be a smarter move to use a rod with a bit more backbone than a traditional ultralight setup.
You’ll not need a line rating any higher than 6 lbs. Ultralight rods are always spinning rods so if you are tempted to use a baitcasting rod then that won’t work with a spinning reel.
Spinning rods have a larger diameter line guide close to the reel to account for the spiral motion that the line takes as it runs off the spool.
A baitcasting rod however has much smaller line guides that are closer to the rod blank, this is because the reel is usually lower to a spinning reel and the line is fed out in a straight line.
Monofilament is the go to line of choice for light tackle. Braid is really not that good in really lighter weights.
Rating wise you need to go with 6 pound or less. The rod and line rating should always be matched if you want to get the very best performance from you casting.
Be careful when working lighter line as the chances of breakages greatly increase. Always be aware of where the under water structures are like weed beds.
Once a bass strikes it may dive down aggressively to deep cover. Once in there it can be very easy for them to snap off your line.
The whole point of using an ultralight spinning rod and reel setup for bass is so that you can use light and small lures.
Some lures such as large swimbaits and heavy spoons just won't be suitable.
Spinners, although spinners are mostly used for trout you can still catch bass on smaller inline type spinners.
Look out for Mepps, Short Strikers and Panther Martins are the go to lures here.
You can vary the body color and the blade colors, but in my experience a silver blade seems to work best for small-mouth bass.
Depending on the time of year and the water color you can also use a dressed treble hook on your spinner. This are already included with the Panther Martins. Black and dark olive/green are the best colors to use on the dressing.
Crankbaits in the smaller sizes can be extremely effective for bass right after spawning season as they are quite aggressive when protecting their nesting spots. You can use the usual bass crankbaits only in smaller sizes.
The smaller sized crankbaits will tend to run quite shallow so there are best used close in beside weed beds and other underwater structures.
Look for lures like Rapala's and Salmo Hornets in natural color patterns.
Topwater lures like walkers or chuggers can be used on ultralight tackle. However, larger lures like frogs are ot really that suitable.
Topwater lures for bass in small sizes can be lots of fun on light gear. Just bear in mind that a lot of these lures are intended to be worked beside or over large weed beds and light gear does not do very well with snagging on such structures.
Bass fishing using light tackle can be a heck of a lot of fun if you are prepared to get your tackle right and you target the fish in the right spots.
Make sure to always be very quite when fishing with light gear. Chances are the bass are near the surface of the water. Surface fish will tend to spook a lot easier so being quite and not wearing anything that is too bright is the best approach.
Most of this type of fishing will generally be done in the warmer summer months.
You should always try to be as quite as possible and to wear darker clothing.
The best time of day will generally be in the morning and evening when the sun is at it's lowest.
Bass are generally quietest around mid-day due to the high amounts of sun light and glare on the surface.
You may also want to get a good pair of fishing sunglasses that are polarized to help reduce surface glare.