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Bass may be popular, but not really a thing of beauty

In the Adirondacks, bass are possibly the most overlooked of all our angling resources. Bass inhabit more waters than trout, hey are easy to catch, great to fight and make a fine meal. They are simply a fun and entertaining species.

Although bass season doesn't officially open until the third Saturday in June, in New York, the species can now be taken year 'round, on a catch and release basis. And while there have been claims that taking bass off their spawn beds harms the population, recent research proves otherwise.

A University of Florida (UF) study, published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society magazine, indicates otherwise.

"We found that in most cases, spawning area closures won't improve bass populations," explained co-author Mike Allen, a fisheries professor with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "If you lose some nests, the ones that are left have higher survival rates."

The researchers also conceded that the practice of catch and release fishing might significantly reduce any negative impact of fishing off bass nests during the spawn.

Bassin's biggest mistakes

Whether practicing catch and release or catch and eat, anglers should be aware of the most common mistakes of bass fishing. Possibly the most common error is an ill prepared fishing outfit.

Anglers should check rod guides for nicks and abrasions, oil the reel and set the drag properly as bass are one of the most unforgiving of all freshwater game fish and consistently challenge both the angler's skill and the quality of their equipment. Always start the new season by respooling with fresh line, and check the line's expiration date before purchasing it.

Another common error is a lack of patience, casting and retrieving too fast. Remember, occasionally bass must to be coaxed into taking your bait, give them time. Give the lure or bait action. Bass are a major predator and must be induced to attack. If you aren't getting strikes, change the retrieve, faster, slower, twitchy or steady, until you find out how they want it.

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