“Match the hatch” is a buzzword in fishing for a reason. Bass are predators, so emulating what they’re eating isn’t just a good idea; it’s often the only way to get bit – particularly when conditions are tough.
As easy as it is to talk (and write) about matching the hatch, it’s not always easy to figure out what the bass in your local haunts are feeding on.
Here are three ways to “match the hatch:”
1. Cruise Shallow Water
One of the quickest ways to determine what the bass are feeding on is to beat the bank for a while. Put the trolling motor on high, and cruise the shallows while looking closely for any signs of life. You’ll often spook schools of baitfish that can give you a clue as to the size and coloration of the dominant shallow forage. Once you see a few minnows or panfish, choose lures that offer a similar profile. Match the hatch with life-like baits like the Northland Tackle Live Forage Minnow Don’t forget to multi-task though – by quickly winding a moving bait like a spinnerbait or swimbait while you’re looking, you may be rewarded by some bonus bites.
2. Look Under Rocks
Crawfish like the Lake Lunkers Papa Craw are irresistible to bass because they provide a ready source of protein and minerals and live pretty much everywhere bass swim. Unfortunately though, crawfish come in an extremely wide range of colors, from more common browns and olives to more extreme reds, blues, and purples. To get an idea of what the crawfish in your area look like, take a couple minutes prior to fishing and flip over a few rocks near the boat ramp to sneak a peek. Match the hatch with your jigs or cranks according to what you find, and you’ll be giving them something they’re used to eating.
3. Check Your Fish And Livewell
Another great way to match the hatch in your local lakes is to give any you catch a thorough examination. There’s frequently a pair of pincers or a tail sticking out of a bass’ mouth – which can give you just the clue you need to dial it in. Bass also have notoriously weak stomachs, and often regurgitate their contents in livewells. If you’ve had some bass in your livewell, check it at the end of the day to see if there are any clues in there. Even partially digested shad will give you a good idea as to the size the bass are keying on. If you notice a certain color more often at your local lake, stock up in bulk of that color in a life-like presentation like the Skinny Bear SB Swimbait.