10 Must-Read Bass Fishing Books for Anglers of Every Level

Last updated on May 21st, 2022

best books on bass fishing

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Bass is the most popular gamefish in North America, and here in the U.S. bass fishing is pursued with a passion that borders on the fanatical. I remember learning about bass for the first time when I was a child. Bass have unique characteristics and behaviors. Their predatory tendencies, strong strikes and tenacity were unlike anything I had ever seen in any other species.

As with any species you pursue, you need to learn as much as you can about them and I can think of no better way than through a good book. I have many fishing books on my shelf and I read them regularly depending on what I am after that specific time of year.

There are many good bass fishing books available today but there are a few that stand out from the others. In this article, I hope to narrow the field for you to help you get the right bass books for your needs.

The titles presented here are great options for the novice angler but also offer a wealth of information for the seasoned angler as well. So Let’s look at each of these exceptional books on bass fishing with an eye toward finding something you can use to make you a better bass angler. Here we go.

Kevin VanDam’s Bass Strategies Revised

Kevin VanDam's Bass Strategies Revised EditionIf you have not heard of Kevin VanDam, you are either new to bass fishing or you have been asleep longer than Rip Van Winkle. He is a Bass Fishing Hall of Famer and the all-time top tournament (including 25 B.A.S.S. tournaments – most of any pro angler) and prize money winner in professional bass fishing history. Simply put, his name and professional bass fishing go hand in hand.

In this revised edition of his best-selling book Kevin VanDam’s Bass Strategies, he explains his winning strategies with updated information that include many tips, tricks, and tactics for you to use in the field yourself.

Yes, he’s made a ton of money fishing for bass but you should take away something else when considering his book:  he has fished for bass professionally all over the country and knows what he’s talking about.

Knowledge from an angler that has fished bass in the sun and the rain from coast to coast is invaluable. I recommend this book for just about anyone, honestly. It is a great resource for the new bass angler and the veteran alike.

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Roland Martin’s 101 Bass Catching Secrets

Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching SecretsHere’s another must-read from another bass fishing legend. Roland Martin is a nine-time B.A.S.S. “Angler of the Year” and winner of 19 B.A.S.S. tournaments, second to only VanDam. This book is a great book for beginners because it explains not only bass behavior but also discusses technique, how to use live bait and artificial lures effectively, how to fish in different environments and situations and much more.

Roland Martin’s 101 Bass Catching Secrets stems from years of the pursuit of bass and the knowledge he gathered himself and from others. One thing that I really take away from this read is the stories from other professionals as well as his own.

I recommend this for a friend who enjoys the story aspect of a fishing guide as well. This book also does a great job of breaking down the lures and baits that Roland has used throughout his journeys chasing legendary bass.

I feel like this book would be good to help get someone into the sport as well, so gifting it to a young adult who is just entering the sport would be a good fit. I really enjoy the books written by professional fishermen because they are both technical and informative. This excellent book offers lessons and nuggets of bass fishing wisdom for everyone, from the beginner to the seasoned angler.

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Smallmouth Bass Fishing For Everyone: How to Catch the Hardest Fighting Fish That Swims

Smallmouth Bass Fishing for Everyone: How to Catch the Hardest Fighting Fish That SwimsThat is a long title but it is aptly named. The smallmouth bass species as a whole is extremely aggressive when it comes to feeding. If you have ever caught a bass with a topwater lure you know what I mean. smallmouth love a good strike from below when their prey does not expect it.

I like this guide because of the great guided steps on how to not only use the bait and tackle – including the Texas and Caroline rigs – but it also explains when they are applicable and when they are not. In Smallmouth Bass fishing for Everyone, the author also goes into detail on a few very productive tactics including a popular one used in Japan called “spy baiting”.

After you have read the book and come away with a better understanding of what it takes to be a better smallmouth bass angler, the author, James Root, gives you a list of 50 top destinations where you can try your newfound wisdom. I recommend this bass fishing book to the traveler whether that be yourself or a friend.

James Root is a well-traveled angler and knowledgeable about his sport. I feel like you can learn much from his book. Try reading this before your smallmouth bass season gets underway to utilize all of great the information contained inside.

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The Pocket Guide to Seasonal Largemouth Bass Patterns

The Pocket Guide to Seasonal Largemouth Bass Patterns: An Angler's Quick Reference Book (Skyhorse Pocket Guides)As a biologist, I have to say that this is an awesome little book. It does deal with the technical issues of how to fish for a bass to some degree, but where it shines is in its coverage of the important behavioral patterns of largemouth bass.

It is absolutely crucial that you understand the simple science of any fish you want to catch, and bass are no different. The Pocket Guide to Seasonal Largemouth Bass Patterns serves to fill the gaps in this knowledge for you to understand.

Things like seasonal weather-influenced behavior, the spawn (including pre-spawn and post-spawn), cyclic patterns and feeding habits are essential for bass fishing. You will be amazed at how much more productive you will be as an angler once you learn these things.

The author, Monte Burch, is a seasoned, award-winning outdoor writer who has written a concise and practical bass fishing guide that will help find and catch more largemouth as well as make a great addition to your library on bass fishing whether you are just getting started or have been at it for years.

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High Percentage Fishing: A Statistical Approach to Improving Catching Rates

High Percentage Fishing: A Statistical Approach To Improving Catch RatesIf you want to have someone with strong numbers skills help you land more fish, then this is the book for you. High Percentage Fishing is a great book that explains the ins and outs of the oddity scenarios that you may not often think of.

Lunar calendars, weather and time of day all play a major factor in bass fishing and the author, Josh Alwine, does a great job of explaining his experiences while out on his own fishing adventures.  Although this book meshes scientific concepts with bass fishing strategies, it is plainly written for the reader making it an easy read.

Alwine combines his training as an engineer and statistician with his love for bass fishing to produce a book that will help you to catch bass at a higher rate by taking into account factors such as weather, lure color selection, lunar cycles, fishing pressure and more.

Because this book discusses night fishing and lunar calendars, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fishing at night. I remember when I worked at a lumber mill here at home and I had to fish at night after work. A book like this would have been a great read.

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Lunker Lore: The Quest for the Fish of a Lifetime

Lunker Lore: The Quest for the Fish of a LifetimeAlso written by Josh Alwine , this book might have the best title on the list, and it is also a great read. Lunker Lore is a sort of sequel to the High Percentage Fishing book but more specifically discusses lunkers and trophy bass. This book is not about catching just any bass but all about catching huge bass.

Written in a more technical tone, this book is a great addition to the seasoned angler’s bookshelf. Here you’ll find some of the general knowledge that you likely already know but it dives into greater detail with specific information, tactics and success stories gleaned from in-depth interviews with top biologists and big bass anglers.

Alwine’s book teaches you how to choose lakes that are productive for big bass, how to spot locations/structures that hold lunkers,  the best night bass fishing strategies and regales you with stories of catches of a lifetime.

This would a great book for someone who may already be a good bass angler but wants to benefit from the extended knowledge of how to consistently catch big bass. The author has fished in many waters and environments from the West Indies to Canada and his books are worth considering.

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In-Fisherman Critical Concepts 3: Largemouth Bass Presentation

In-Fisherman Critical Concepts 3: Largemouth Bass Presentation BookIn-Fisherman Critical Concepts 3 is aimed at increasing your knowledge of the fundamentals of bass fishing and the species itself with a focus on lure and bait presentation. This is a fantastic book for the novice or intermediate angler looking to improve his or her presentation with artificial and live baits, which is crucial to catching bass. The book is actually one volume in a 4-part series but even by itself, as a standalone, is valuable for the information it provides.

It is put out by In-Fisherman,  a long-standing and trusted sportfishing magazine that covers just about every aspect of the sport with articles often written by professional fishermen and tournament winners. I personally read In-Fisherman for their ice fishing coverage that the others just don’t cover and I have trusted them with that for many years.

If you want to learn the best, most effective way to present different types of lures and baits to largemouth bass, this is a book you’ll want to add to your collection. The book covers presentations with artificials such crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits as well as with live worms and minnows.

You’ll also get tips on techniques such as flipping, pitching and casting. It even provides advice on rod, reel and line selection for bass fishing. The information is in-depth and accompanied by color photos and illustrations to enhance your understanding.

This book takes on a lighter read versus the more technical books we have discussed above and is very conversational making it easier for the reader to understand. I recommend this to anyone of any skill level that just wants s to read a good book on the subject of bass lure presentation.

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Smallmouth: Modern Fly-Fishing Methods, Tactics, and Techniques

Smallmouth: Modern Fly-Fishing Methods, Tactics, and TechniquesI feel like all we have discussed are books that cover bass fishing in any way other than fly fishing, so here is a specific book for the fly fisherman. Smallmouth, is a book that encompasses the tactics and methods needed to catch smallmouth bass on a fly.

Remembering what we know from basic bass knowledge, we know that they are ravenous predators and because of that, fly fishing for smallmouth bass can be a bit different than fly fishing for other species. This book is full of techniques that were tailored for the midwest but they can be used all across the country.

My experience with fly fishing for bass has still been with lures of a certain type, such as the very small and light Flatfish but it is enjoyable in many different ways. That is why I recommend this book to you – to help you learn a few different techniques to try.

Give this to the fly fisherman that enjoys expanding his/her techniques and learning new things. It is a great read, with a ton of knowledge waiting to be read.

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Kayak Bass Fishing: Largemouth | Smallmouth | Stripers

Kayak Bass Fishing: Largemouth | Smallmouth | Stripers (Heliconia Press) Kayaking Gear, Safety, Rod, Reel, and Line Selection, Lure Techniques, Seasonal Secrets, Tactics, Essential Strokes, and MoreKayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy your favorite sport. One thing of note is that a kayak can get closer to and even into the cover whereas even the fanciest boat cannot. Kayaks have such a shallow hull that they can glide through conditions where there is even little water to float on.

When you have the ability to get in close to your target like this, the game changes. Suddenly you can make a change towards live baits easier or even a quiet trolling run through the cattails. The possibilities of kayak fishing are endless.

Kayak Bass Fishing is a great book that explains how to successfully fish for largemouth, smallmouth and even striped bass from a fishing kayak to both the novice and the veteran. You will learn how to choose the right kayak for bass fishing, rod, reel and line selection, what accessories you will need, strategies and tactics that work best and so much more.

Try this book when you are just getting into kayak bass fishing to learn the ropes and also consider it as a source of knowledge to help you catch more bass even if you are not a novice. Lastly, this book and the information it contains will help with fishing for any species from a kayak as well.

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Big Book of Bass: Strategies for Catching Largemouth and Smallmouth

Big Book of Bass: Strategies for Catching Largemouth and Smallmouth (The Freshwater Angler)Some refer to the Big Book of Bass as the Bible for bass fishing and the analogy fits if we are being honest. This book is a gold mine for information about the sport. I love the depth of this book in terms of how it covers gear. Covering every aspect of bass fishing with more than 400 pages and over 1000 color photos makes this book a must on my shelf.

This book covers the basics as well as the advanced principles of technique and habitat for largemouth and smallmouth bass in many conditions. The book is based on information used by professional anglers in pro tournaments across North America.

The topics covered by this massive bass fishing resource include but are not limited to bass biology and habitat, bass behavior including spawning, tackle and equipment selection, bass technique and presentation, and lure and bait selection. I consider this one of my top “go-to” books on bass fishing.

The information is very applicable and accurate for nearly any fishing situation. Professional fisherman of any capacity will tweak common things and make them unique to their own purpose or location. Look for these variations when reading this book or any book on the subject.

I wish I could say that there was a specific type of person that would love this book more but, honestly, I would imagine that just about any bass angler would enjoy reading this book. Its broad spectrum of knowledge is useful to all and will be appreciated by all.

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The Written Word Can Make You a Better Bass Angler

Professional bass fishermen obviously make money on these types of books but they also enjoy promoting the sport they love. It is important to read the works of those experienced to better yourself. Literature is a good way to do this, in all areas of life, not just fishing.

I enjoy the outdoors in many areas and I have books on fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, boating, etc. No matter how good you are at something, there is always someone to learn from and this is why I encourage veteran anglers to take a look at this list as well.

I encourage you to use this list to expand your knowledge of the sport that you love and grow in it as the professionals who wrote them did.

In today’s world, it is my opinion that we need our pastimes even more, whatever they may be. So, grab yourself some great literature on bass fishing, take a break from the daily grind and perfect your knowledge and skills to catch more of your favorite fish species. Happy bassin’!

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About Dorado

John Pardal, aka Dorado, is the editor as well as an author for Reel Adventure Fishing. He has fished extensively up and down the U.S. Atlantic coast, throughout much of Florida and a bit of the Caribbean. John loves writing about all aspects of sportfishing and is passionate about conservation and promoting sustainable fishing.