By Marc Rogers
Pay Attention to Boat Control When Bass Fishing
Recreational anglers often fail to improve their catch because they do not pay attention to the small details when fishing. Professional anglers are always looking for ways to improve their skills, knowledge and catch rates. Professionals are sure to keep their equipment in working order and are more observant on the water than recreational anglers. They see things others do not and approach fishing areas differently than most.
Less skilled anglers often overlook boat control. The less skilled will pull up to an area, drop the trolling motor and start fishing. They do not pay attention to the wind direction and current, or the way the sun will cast their shadow on the water. The way these two factors are handled can make the difference between a successful day on the water and not catching any fish.
These two factors are most important when fish are shallow and close to the bank. Current caused by flowing water, and current produced by wind, will cause bass to congregate in a predictable manner when feeding. Bass will generally face into the current in order take advantage of prey being pushed along by the moving water. When an angler presents a lure against the current it is not as natural as a lure moving with the current. Natural lure presentations are more productive and many times an unnatural presentation will spook a bass instead of encouraging it to bite an artificial lure.
Boat control plays an important part in presenting a lure in a natural looking fashion to bass. Anglers should position their boat so they are approaching the bass from behind. With the bow of the boat facing into the wind and/or current anglers can accomplish this goal. The only exception to using this technique should be if doing so would cast the angler’s shadow onto the area the bass is holding before the lure can be presented. This exception would call for an approach from a 45-degree angle to avoid casting a shadow onto the holding area of the bass.
Allowing the sun to cast your shadow onto the water is almost equivalent to throwing rocks into the water as you approach. This is an immediate indicator to the bass that something is very close to its position and that “something” is probably a predator. Bass have few natural predators below the water surface but large birds and humans pose a great threat to them from above. Never put your boat into a position where your shadow covers an area before you can present a lure to the bass. Most often the bass will be spooked and leave the area. If it does not leave it will be very cautious of eating anything an angler presents.
The controversy surrounding why a bass is most often found in a shaded area will continue to be debated. However, studies have indicated that bass will hold in a shaded area seeking prey that pass close by. My opinion is it is much easier to see the surrounding area that is lit by natural light from a shaded position. Consider standing in the shade of a large tree and looking out into an area illuminated by sunlight. Not only is your field of vision enhanced but also you are less visible to anything in the lighted area. This being said, an angler should present their lure just outside of a shaded area instead of directly in it. Precise boat control allows the angler to present lures in fashion.
Many anglers change line regularly and check it for nicks throughout the day. Most have a favorite knot and check it often as well as verifying the hooks are sharp. However, one of the details often overlooked is boat control. Anglers should always consider boat control as one of the necessary details while spending a day on the water.