Where's the what?...
Where's the bass! How many of us anglers (tournament and recreational) go to
a body of water you've never fished before, drop the boat in the water,
then, ask this question to yourself? This is probably one of the biggest
topics in bass fishing that an angler should learn more about. I generally
receive about two hundred (give or take) emails and phone calls each week
from anglers, prospective bass fishing school students, and charter clients
from all over the nation (even some from foreign countries) asking me many
different questions related to bass fishing. Out of all of these questions,
I would have to say that about sixty-five percent of them would be on how to
locate bass in their area or on a body of water that they have never fished
before. I would comfortably say that locating bass and understanding the
water would be the number one question among bass anglers today. The next
most asked question would be is which baits they should use to catch "big"
Now when you think about it, there is really only two (2) main topics that
go hand-in-hand when it comes to bass fishing. If you understood more about
these two, you would definitely become a much better angler, and they are;
1.. Knowing how to locate bass.
2.. Knowing how to catch bass using all the different techniques,
presentations, and baits.
Learning how to locate bass can be somewhat of a challenge to most anglers
because there are so many different factors that need to be determined such
1.. Knowing how to read a map.
2.. Knowing the most practical places to look for "Active Bass" just after
cold fronts and during early spring and late fall periods.
3.. Understanding water depth.
4.. Water clarity.
5.. Water temperatures.
6.. Seasonal patterns.
7.. Locating structure areas.
8.. Finding vegetation areas.
Believe me, there is more! Being a consistent bass angler is so much more
than just getting in your boat, hitting the water, and casting your baits.
That's why bass tournaments are so competitive and exciting, because the
more you learn about locating bass the quicker you can start catching them
right? And hey, isn't that half the battle?
Let's start by looking at a lake map. There are two general types of lake
maps that most anglers will use which are referred to as the; "Hot Spot" and
"Topographical" maps. The differences between the two is that a "Topo" map
shows more detail, and the "Hot Spots" map shows more fishing spots (well,
at least they're supposed to :-) The secret (or key) in learning how to use
a lake map would be to sector the map. What I mean by this is that I will
take the map and study it for a moment (looking for areas where the fish
would most likely be.) Next, I will (using a highlighter) divide the map in
sections based on how much time I have to pre-fish for a tournament or how
many days I have to just fish the body of water for fun. The size of the
sections will vary depending on contours, structure, and how many places I
may want to check out during the course of the day based on what the map
shows me. I am certainly not one to just cast a bait into the water and work
it for five minutes and leave, I will try an assortment of baits if I see
signs of fish in any given area to try to establish a working pattern.
Here are some key elements I usually look for when it comes to locating bass
on any given body of water:
1.. Vegetation areas.
2.. Irregular contours.
3.. Shallow water close to deep water areas.
4.. Points and point drops.
5.. Various types of structure.
Let's take the first one, VEGETATION, this is by far my favorite because you
will usually find more congregated bass in vegetation than anywhere else on
the whole body of water. Remember, a bass needs three things to survive and
that is a. FOOD b. OXYGEN c. COVER (or structure) that's it, and vegetation
offers it all! Now, I know what some of you are asking yourselves, you are
thinking; well, what if there's no vegetation right? Then simply go to the
other elements 2, 3, 4, and 5 that I mentioned above.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but, how many of you anglers' fish the weed
lines and never go in the midst of the weeds? I can't tell you how many
times (while showing my students how to fish weeds) that we will go to weedy
areas just to see other anglers fish the outside weed lines for a while, and
then, watch them move on. After they pull away from the outside weed area, I
will pull the boat up into the midst of the weeds (in the same areas where
these other anglers were fishing) and start catching bass (usually nice
quality ones.) I have known many anglers over the past years that have just
hated to pull up weeds, or they don't like when they get weeds on their boat
carpets or in their boats, or they just get tired of picking the weeds off
their hooks. Well guess what? I'll suffer through these bothersome weeds any
day of the week because that's where you will usually find the bass in
There are several different baits and techniques that can be a bit tricky to
use when fishing weedy areas and I won't go into them right now, but keep in
mind that weeds (especially when you find several different types of
vegetation in one area) are by far my number one choice to fish than all the
other areas combined. One of the best places you'll find bass would be in
vegetation areas, especially if you have different types of structure in the
weeds, and even better yet!, if this weedy, structured, area is close to
where the shallow water meets the deep
water...Boy-O-Boy!.....Hold-On!.....Try It, "You'll Like It!"
Now, if you can't seem to find any vegetation areas on your body of water,
then, look for the structure. Structure can consist of many different things
Rip-Rap (chunk rock areas).
Overhangs (where tree branches hang over the water).
So really, just about anything other than the flat, smooth, bottoms that
offer nothing at all (which are a waste of time to fish anyway) would be
considered as structure areas.
I hope this article has given you a better incite on what to look for when
it comes to locating bass. I know that what I have shared with you certainly
helps me, and I hope that it can help you to!
If you wish to learn bass fishing, and might be interested in attending my
3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School located on the world's famous Lake
Champlain or Lake George (located in upstate NY), or maybe you would just
like to charter a day of bass fishing? You can contact me by calling (518)
597-4240 or you can visit my web site at www.capital.net/~rlbrown or simply
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Until next time, take Care & God Bless!
"The Bass Coach" - Roger Lee Brown