How To Catch Pressured Bass

by Glenn Walker


When your favorite stretch of bass water gets pounded by fellow anglers, all hope is not lost.


Whether it’s a certain lake or river, or maybe it’s just a key weedline or backwater lake on a river system, fishing pressure takes its toll on fish and makes it frustrating for the anglers pursuing them. If you’ve identified or know that an area holds good fish, the chances of them moving are slim unless there has been a drastic change. However, angling pressure will make fish tougher to catch. There’s no need to pull your boat from the water or abandon known hotspots, but it’s time to slow down, fish smarter and focus on getting those fish to bite again.

Sometimes getting heavily pressured fish to bite can be accomplished by making one change: decrease your line size. By decreasing your line size, it’s less visible in the water and it imparts a more natural action to your lure. Other line changes that can aid in getting pressured fish to bite include switching from braided to fluorocarbon line.

A great approach to targeting bass that are hanging around shallow-water cover is to flip a Texas rig. But after those bass have seen a Texas rig repeatedly from other anglers, they might become conditioned to them. This is when I’ll scale down to the smallest weight I can get away with; many times, this has me going down to a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce Lazer Sharp Tungsten weight. Behind that weight I’ll switch to a smaller plastic bait, often going from a Zoom Z-Hog to its smaller cousin, the Z-Hog Jr. By doing this, I can still present the same bulk and appearance to the bass, but just in a compact, tasty morsel. I will also go from a heavy wire flipping hook to an Extra Wide Gap Lazer TroKar, again giving the bait a more natural fall and appearance in the water.

React to pressured bass the right way and the rewards can be great. 

One of my favorite ways to target pressured bass along weedlines is to a drop-shot. Because I’m fishing this around heavy cover, I’ll use Seaguar Smackdown braided line as my main line, but then use an 8- or 10-pound-test Seaguar Fluorocarbon line as a leader. This combination gives me the strength and confidence to fish around heavy cover, while still keeping a stealthy approach.

Cast and cast and cast to the key areas of structure several times, as heavily pressured fish might need to see your bait a few times before they’ll bite. As I’m fishing a boat dock, laydown or a section of vegetation, I’ll approach the cover quietly and under control using my Minn Kota Fortrex. Once I get near that cover, I’ll drop my Talons to minimize disturbance and noise in the area.

When you’re making multiple casts to a target, sometimes those casts need to come from different angles. The angle at which a bass sees your bait as it relates to the cover, current and shade, will influence when they’ll bite.

Beware of pressured fish. It might take extra work to put them in the boat, but it’s definitely not impossible.



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