Have you heard the saying, “There’s a fine line to fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot”? You can’t predict results when fishing, but you can certainly learn enough to improve your odds considerably.

There are certain tried-and-true methods to catching bass. The problem, though, is that many anglers don’t know which methods to employ at any given time. Matching the correct lure and presentation for a given scenario is the key to success. You could hire a guide to get this knowledge. You could just go out and experiment with different things until you figure out what works. Option three would be to read this great cheat sheet from Outdoor Life.

bigbass_elsalto1. Take Them On Top
It’s hard to beat a buzzbait, Skitter Pop, or Pop-R for vicious strikes. On quiet mornings, work each with subtle retrieves and gentle pops in shallow areas. Use a more aggressive action if bass are visibly chasing bait. If you’re fishing around matted vegetation or lily pads, tie on a frog.

2. Or Just Below 
Burn a white or chartreuse ½-ounce spinnerbait around shoreline cover and riprap early or late in the day—roaming bass won’t often pass up this easy meal. Willow-leaf blades help keep the bait just under the surface. Create a gentle wake without breaking the water’s surface to mimic an injured shad.

Photos: Outdoor Life