Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Reflecting on the 2020 Bass Season

(The full article can be found in the November 2020 edition of The Iowa Sportsman Magazine)

www.iowasportsman.com  for subscription details


The 2020 bass fishing season was a long one this year.  The ice melted away rather quickly in March opening up lakes all over the state by St. Patrick’s Day.  This gave the spring bite a kickstart as the year began.  Those anxiously awaiting to chase down some big spring bass headed south to the many Iowa lakes that dot the map.  Southern Iowa in the spring is known all over the Midwest as some the best bass fishing a person can have at that time of the year.  The bass did not disappoint anglers in 2020 as many Iowa lakes and rivers were in excellent shape with booming bass populations.

Bait Trends:  Each and every new fishing season brings out our best lures and baits.  I am no different, I have my favorites for certain situations that have treated me well over the past few decades.  However, in my travels throughout the state each year I witness hundreds of anglers casting for bass.  Each year there seems to be some common trends that take the bass fishing world by storm each year.  Several years ago the bladed jig was the buzz, and everybody had to be throwing one, or two.  A few years ago it was all about the finesse baits; drop-shots, shaky heads and wacky rigs were being tossed around all the time.  The Whopper Plopper crashed its way onto the bass fishing scene last year as everyone seemed to have a few in the tackle boxes.  All of these baits are great baits, and yes I have a “few” of each too!  In 2020 things were a little different.  COVID-19 hit the country early in the year and put a halt to the professional bass tournaments that occur all over the country.  Typically, us weekend anglers follow suit with the pros as to what they are using and try the different products that hit the shelves this year.  There wasn’t a big wave of new types of lures or presentations this year, yet I saw one old tried and true bait more than ever.  The good old spinnerbait is slowly making a comeback into the bass scene.  It never left, but the bladed jig and swim jig have taken some of its glory.  This year, many anglers went back to “old school” spinnerbaits and like they have for over 50 years, they caught bass.  I bet 2021 has something for all of us to spend our money on, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see...in the meantime shine those spinnerbait blades up! 

New Gear: While 2020 didn’t have that new, everyone must have bait, it did see a lot of new gear being released for the bass angler.  Trolling motors seemed to be the biggest “latest and greatest” thing coming out in 2021.  Garmin, Lowrance and MotorGuide all came out with new motors to help you spot-lock your way to more fish.  The technology of spot-locking sure has made bass fishing easier the past few years and is a big upgrade to any boat out searching for bass.  Electronics keep pushing the boundaries as well with forward viewing as well as side imaging to allow anglers to not only find structure but see fish swimming around in real time.  Again, this technology is amazing, but takes days and days to learn the units so they can be helpful to aid anglers in catching more bass.  Rod and Reel manufacturers seem to be in a price war the past few years.  Each major brand seems to have a high quality baitcasting reel for around $100.  These reels are great, and worth a look if you have been spending more.  Some of these carry a one or two year warranty while Quantum is the only one that offers five years of warranty on their reels.  Anglers are in luck with rods too, as quality seems to be getting higher, while the prices keep dropping.  You can get a high quality rod from most major brands around the $80-$100 range.  Competition is good, especially when it means a better product for a smaller cost to consumers.   

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