17 Fishing Tips to Easily Catch Bass Early In the Morning

fishing for bass in my boat early in the morning sunset

The productivity of your bass fishing early in the morning will depend on what the fish got up to during the night and the prevailing water temperatures. Although this fighter-on-a-hook fish will bite at any time of day or night, early morning bass can be phenomenal. 

However, going in with a few of the following fishing tips to easily catch bass early in the morning will increase your chances of bites. Since the low light morning conditions encourage bass to become more active, they’ll also be coming to the surface to hunt baitfish. 

The top five tips to easily catch morning bass include; 

  1. Irritate The Morning Bass Into Biting
  2. Fishing before bad weather 
  3. Making bait seasonal
  4. Fishing in the shallows
  5. Facing the wind

Early morning as the sun rises, stands as my favorite time to fish bass, and this is when baitfish are invading shallows to feed on plankton under low light. Most of these fishing tips have to do with bait, while others look at fish behavior and prevailing climatic conditions that every angler will find helpful.

Stick around to find out my top tips in giving depth to your tackle box and helping you get explosive strikes. 

My Quick List Of Tips For Catch Bass At The Crack of Dawn

In the early morning, depending on the season, the bass is less affected by direct sunlight, giving them the freedom to stray from cover as they hunt for food. An even better early morning bass fishing is right before a cold front, storm, or steady rain approaches, as the fish will be eager to feed before they are forced to bed down. 

Lets dive in! Not literally, but into the tips at least!

1. Irritate the Morning Bass Into Biting

Bass are bad-tempered, ornery, and irritable fish, and the only way to get them to bite is to keep tapping or get them upset enough to bite back at your lure. These cantankerous fish will consider your lure but then move to a different position so they can have a look at a different angle. 

Toss your bait in the same location, drifting and tapping into bass until they’re prompted to bite. Even when they are well-fed, bass will strike at targets opportunistically if bugged long enough, resulting in reactionary strikes. 

Give the fish plenty of opportunity to find your lure, and when you see or hear a strike, wait for a second for the weight of the fish on your rod before jerking it to the surface. 

2. Fish before Bad Weather To Catch Them Unexpected

If you’re starting out early in the morning, scan the weather and see if a cold front, storm, or steady rain is predictable. The low pressure that precedes the stormy weather phenomenon activates a sense of desperate self-preservation in the bass, making them more active and likely to bite. 

Watch for cloud walls that could be moving in later in the morning, as the shift of light gives bass the advantage of vision and sense of smell over their prey. Rain also stirs up nutrients and algae that baitfish will run after, while for largemouth bottom feeders, cloudy skies, as well as frogs, will bring them to the surface of the shallows. 

Target pre-stormy weather bass with crankbaits, and topwater lures like spinners or swimbaits, demanding their attention when the pressure is low and light conditions poor.

fishing bait with worms inside

3. Adjust Your Bait to Fit the Season

If you are using artificials instead of the actual baitfish, bass will be attracted to different types of bait depending on what time of year it is, so alternate your patterns and colors accordingly. In the early months, bass prefers crawfish, while in the fall or summer, they’ll be hunting shad, which is more prolific at this time of year. 

Peach-colored lures will be more acceptable to bass in the late winter and spring, but summer and early autumn fishing will require silver or chrome baits. Although I am a swimbait gut, I usually chose football jigs for my early morning bass trysts, as the versatile lure will get in front of bedded or concealed bass. 

In clear water, I go with green pumpkin, swapping trailers from cast to cast, and in muddy conditions, I will use red and black jigs. I aim to change the sonic impact depending on the water surface elements and to keep matching bait to the prevailing cover or forage.

4. Catch Early Morning Bass in Shallow Water 

In the morning, the low light conditions encourage baitfish to head for the shallows, where they feed on algae or insects. Bass also hang out near their shallow water spawning beds in the spring, particularly in covers and pockets where eggs are being guarded. 

Early morning is feeding time for bass, and you can find them laying in ambush for baitfish, crawdads, or scurrying critters. In the shallows, bass are active and at their most irritable in the early morning, and if they’re hungry or it’s after the spawn, they’ll bite with the least encouragement. 

Large females will hold their spawning haunts after wintertime, and these will be lethargic early in the morning or they’ll be sliding into ankle-deep shallows for breeding. Depths that don’t exceed eight feet are your best bet for pre-spawn, spawning, or post-spawn bass. 

5. Face the Wind 

If you are boat fishing or casting from the bank, maintain some distance between you and the bass with the wind in your face. The same applies to shallow wading, as the noise of water slapping against your waders carries less upwind since bass swims with the current. 

Ideally, your target bass may be in tules, next to docks pilings, or in pockets of reeds, giving you the ability to sneak a lure in their vicinity. You can also use cover to your advantage, moving in close to see which way bedded females are facing to readjust your angle of approach. 

6. Don’t Throw Away Shredded Worms 

When your spinners or plastic worms become torn up, use them to easily catch bass early in the morning. As a predator, bass will bite into your bait if they think that prey is injured, so any beat-up worms can prove perfect early in the morning, especially in the shallows. 

Many of my biggest fish have come during a brief early morning window near pieces of cover or structure using shredded worms. Before the suns up, I target fish that are loaded up in soft channel bends or strategic spots like points, making my worm visible to bass by the time light penetrates the water. 

checking the water level in the river with gauge

7. Check the Temperatures To Ensure Water Is NOT too Cold

When it comes to getting bass to bite, the temperature is a huge deciding factor as fish are cold-blooded. In the case of early morning fishing, check to see that your target water is not too cold, particularly in winter. 

Water temperature differs from the air or atmospheric temperatures, meaning it might be cold outside, but the waters are warmer. When it’s been a frigid night, the temperature in the water will cause bass to be less active, considerably affecting the bite rate. 

If the water is between 45 and 50 degrees, the bass has shaken off any cold-weather lethargy and is coming up to feed aggressively.  In spring, during the spawn, you can get the biggest bass females as they arrive early in shallow water beds, moving up to feed and getting ready to breed. 

8. Fool Bass with Red Colors 

When casting in shallow water where there’s stumps, grass, or wood, use bait that has red hooks or a bright reddish head for spinners and jigs. Bass have sophisticated sharp vision, but in the low early morning light, they’ll mistake the red for injured prey, which translates to easy pickings. 

Bass don’t want to expend too much energy chasing healthy bait while they can easily snatch up the weak and wounded. The biggest sized bass catches are in waters associated with red bait like crawdads, shiners, or gizzard shad, so try matching your artificials accordingly.

holding a frog in my hands whilst crouching down

9. Walk A Frog To Attract A Catch

When you start working the shallows early in the morning, bass will be hanging out in the weeds and will readily hit a frog when the opportunity presents itself. Walk the frog in with varying speeds, testing where bass may be roaming, and a popping frog can spice up things with that extra commotion on the surface. 

If the bass are in their beds, skittle your frog across hard surfaces, such as wood or rock, and work through secondary clay points in the absence of the latter. Pinpoint gravel lake bottoms in the shallows, exclusively drifting your imitation lure to spur bass biting action. 

10. Keep Your Ears and Eyes Peeled

You can see fin swirls, hear the splashing of baitfish trying to scatter, or spot wading birds feeding in the spot where the bass are active in shallow water. When bass attacks baitfish schools, noting the surface disturbances will direct you where to cast your bait, and more often than not, you’ll get a bite. 

Early in the morning, it’s generally quieter, especially if you are fishing in a lake, pond, or reservoir, and bass may be slower than when the sunlight increases. Resist taking your retrieve into overdrive, as you’ll want to cover the spots you see or hear movement, which will mostly happen in the shallows

holding live bait worms in two thumbs and index fingers

11. Use the Real Baitfish as Lure

Before or just after sunrise, the best way to catch bass is by casting baitfish, as that’s what the fish is actively searching for on the surface or in shallow water. After a whole night of hunger, bass are very hungry and baitfish, whether live or recently demised, will emit natural scents that make the predatory fish salivate. 

With natural baitfish, worms or crickets, bass isn’t any wiser to your hooked lure, and you’ll get bites with slow controlled movements that mimic injured or struggling prey. 

12. Take Advantage of Moon Phases To They Come Up To Feed

If there was a full moon the previous night, it’s best to hold back expectations of getting lots of bass strikes, as they’ll be full from feeding all night. Bass will grow hungry if there was no moon, meaning that light conditions in the water during the night made baitfish take cover. 

You’ll encounter less domicile and bite-eager bass following a moonless night as they’ve grown hungry and are taking advantage of baitfish stirrings at first light. Bass won’t waste energy looking for prey in pitch-black water, and they’ll leverage the slightest illumination to employ their sight advantage on baitfish. 

13. Cast Large, Noisy But Carefully Placed Baits 

When the sun is up and bright later in the day, you can miss target bass by ten or twenty feet with your lure and still attract it enough for a bite. That’s because bass are visual hunters, so when you fish in the dimly lit early morning you’ll need to ensure that they spot your lure. 

Fan casting every five or six inches, and switching up your bait will encourage bass through feeling the vibrations, hearing and seeing your lure. Before the sky brightens enough for bass to see, use large noisy swim-baits, popping frogs, buzz-baits, and spinners, placing your lure right in front of feeding bass or females on beds. 

One benefit for chucking large baits is the expanded strike zone they offer, especially swim-baits that the bass can hear and see from a distance. With giant lures, you don’t have to keep pinpointing specific locations as the fish will come after noisy cranks or buzz-baits for an opportunist bite. 

sitting by the river fishing on top water

14. Top-Water Action Is Best At Daybreak

Early morning bass come to the surface, seeking baitfish that are often schooling along banks or within the underwater cover. Fish the topwater column with buzz-baits and pop R’s or sweep coverless water with soft jerks, spinners using fast, erratic bait movements that mimic bass natural prey. 

If the sun is already up as is common during late spring and summer, try sink baits especially when you’re targeting largemouth bass, as they tend to hunt near the bottom. Present your bait according to how bright or dull your morning is, picking lures that contrast with the watercolor which you’re fishing in.

However, if you are targeting big bass that isn’t easy to fool or won’t chase after food easily, employ soft swimbaits, glide baits, or an umbrella rig to bring them up for a bite. If a monster largemouth is going to bite, the bait must be worth it in terms of protein and calories so a giant worm or bite-size craw and creature baits will produce strikes.

15. Fish near Deep Structures or Underwater Vegetation

When you are fishing bass in lakes with vegetated banks or without good points, find grass beds or other structures in deeper water. Throughout the spawn and afterward, these areas alongside road beds and creek channels will hold bass, particularly if the current is moving. 

Some early morning bass will also relate to the bottom, especially during late summer and you can use big worms depending on the water depth. My choice of weight can range from ¾ ounce to 5/16 ounce on 15-pound test fluorocarbon, and I go lighter for bass in the shallows. 

16. Target Pockets and Spawning Areas

Large numbers of bass often go to spawning beds even after their breeding season is over to guard fry or take bluegill or other baitfish embroiled in their spawn. Cover pockets and shallows present areas where bass will also feed on frogs and other critters, so twitch your bait around or make the underwater ‘dog-walk’ movement to attract reactionary bites. 

Bass that are laid in ambush near bluegill or other baitfish’s beds will be distracted by the skittering action of weighted bait. They’ll lurch and bite thinking one of the besieged baitfish is trying to escape, or they’ll mistake your frog for a predator coming to pick their fry. 

17. Maintain Patience Until The Catch Is In The Bag

Early morning bass fishing can be testing, as although the fish are numerous and hungry, they’re also highly agitated, and losing a hooked big one isn’t uncommon. Getting too excited on the cast or retrieve will pull the bait too early as the fish approaches or it will alert clever bass that they’re being baited. 

Softly soak your soft plastic or crankbait into an area of cover, or where the fish are bedded, twitching to mimic real-life until the bass are agitated to strike. I go for creature baits early in the morning, undulating in place while milking the cast to keep tapping at bass for better hook-ups. 

Conclusion 

Early morning bass are  active, out of its hiding places, and aggressively hungry for baitfish, frogs, or other critters. By making prior preparations and getting up early, you’ll have presented your bait by the time the sun comes up, having considered your location, moon phases, and prevailing weather conditions. 

Although your neighborhood pond is more easily accessible in the early morning, go deeper to find record large or smallmouth bass in areas with minimal development and unpressured waters. Lakes, rivers, ponds, or even ocean bass fishing is productive anywhere the water is fertile enough to support algae growth and in turn habituate schools of baitfish. 

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