How To Find Bass Without A Fish Finder: 6 Tips

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info

So, you want to go fishing for bass, whether smallmouth or largemouth, it does not really matter. However, what does matter is that you seem to have forgotten your trusty fish finder at home. Oh no, what do you do? well, today we want to talk about how to find bass without a fish finder and the main factors you need to keep in mind to have a successful days fishing.

Yet, fish finders are fairly recent inventions, and anglers got by just fine without for hundreds, and thousands of years. The short answer is you can find bass without a fish finder by paying attention to the time of year and day, the weather/temperature, the depth of the water, and based on some other factors too.

Here is a rundown of each of the main factors you need to keep in mind;


Finding Bass Without Using A Fish Finder

So, there are really 6 things to keep in mind when trying to find bass without your trusty fish finder;

1. The Time Of Year

One of the factors that will affect where you can find bass is the time of year. Now, this has to do with water and air temperatures, as well as the actual season in relation to spawning. Spawning is of course when male and female bass get together to lay eggs, fertilize them, and hopefully bring about the next generation.

Now, during the couple of weeks prior to when spawning starts, because bass know that during spawning they will not be eating, they tend to go on a feeding frenzy for about 14 days before spawning starts. Well, this means that the bass will be near the water’s surface, usually in no more than 8 or 10 feet of water, and they will eat whatever they can find.

This means that they will be in shallow waters, closer to the shore, and around all kinds of plants and structures, really anywhere there is ample food to chow down on. Keep in mind that spawning tends to happen in the early spring, and depending on the climate, this can be between late February and early April.

You do also need to keep in mind, that besides spawning, the time of the year still does affect where you can find bass. During the winter, bass tend to be closer to the surface so they can absorb the sun’s heat, as well as near rocks and structures which also absorb heat. As temperatures get warmer, such as towards a hot summer season, the bass will move to cooler waters, or in other words, to deeper water.

As you can see, the time of year does go a long way in determining where you can find bass.

2. The Time Of Day

Now, when it comes to finding bass without a fish finder, the time of day does make a difference as well, which is also slightly related to the time of year, to a lesser extent. This also has to do with water temperature, as well as sunlight.

Generally, the best time to go fishing during the day is either at dawn or dusk, as this is when fish like to feed. During the later and earlier hours of the day, bass will usually be in shallower waters where there are lots of insects and smaller fish to eat.

Moreover, during the summer, they tend to be in shallower waters earlier on in the day, as well as later on, due to temperature reasons. However, during the middle of the day, when it is sunny and hot, they will move to deeper waters, both to avoid the heat and to avoid predators from above.

So, if you are fishing in the middle of the day, you will want to go for the deeper sections of whatever body of water you are fishing.

3. The Weather & Temperature

Speaking of temperature, just do keep in mind that bass will always be in the shallower parts of a lake or river when the temperature outside is moderate or cool, as they like to be a bit warmer.

However, if it is very hot outside, they will move to deeper waters where it is cooler. Now, the weather is also going to make a difference in terms of where you can find bass. If it is really sunny out, bass will tend to stick to deeper water, where predators from above cannot spot them so easily.

Moreover, when it is sunny out, you can be sure that bass will look for cover, such as rocks, structures, and plants. However, a really good time to find bass near the surface and in the shallows is when it is raining heavily.

Rain will cause insects and fish food to flow from the land into the water, and bass love to eat. During rain, bass will come out in full force to feed, which is when and where you will be able to find them the easiest.

4. Depth Of Water

As mentioned several times now, the depth of the water does make a big difference here as well. During the middle of day, when it is hot and sunny, bass like to be in deeper waters.

However, when it is cloudy and not too hot, they will most likely be in the shallower sections. Bass can be found in waters as shallow as 1 foot or as deep as 50 feet or more. It does also depend on the size and depth of the body of water itself.

5. Structures, Objects, Weeds, & Plants

Bass usually always feel more comfortable when they have cover. This means that finding bass is much easier when fishing around rocks, tree stumps, plant and weeds, and other structures too.

This is especially true when it is time to feed. Yes, during the hotter hours of the day and months of the year, bass may migrate to open water, deeper waters, but generally speaking, you should have a decent amount of luck finding bass when you stick to fishing around structures.

6. The Actual Body Of Water itself

A good idea to go with if you want to find bass, but do not have a fish finder, is to always to some research in terms of the specific body of water you are fishing.

Some bodies of water are much deeper or shallower than others, and depending on the body of water itself, it can greatly influence where to find them. You would be wise to look at some fishing guides in terms of where to find fish for a specific body of water.

Online guides can be quite helpful for this, even if you don’t have your trusty fish finder on hand.



As you can see, while it may not be as easy to find bass for fishing without a fishing finder as with one of these trusty tools, it is still possible. If you pay close attention to all of the factors which we discussed above, you should have no problems finding bass to fish wherever you go.

Folks, fish finders have only been around for a few decades, and people always managed to do just fine before they came along.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.