by Marc Rogers
Anglers of all skill levels are constantly in search of productive fishing areas and getting the maximum reward for their efforts. Fishing areas that have the ability to hold bass for extended periods will not hold feeding bass throughout an entire day of fishing. The bass that use the area as their home will only feed at certain times during a day. Successful anglers are able to locate the areas where bass live and determine the times they feed.
The first step in this process is to locate areas where bass reside most of the time. While bass are caught shallow at anytime, they seldom reside in shallow water for an extended period. Therefore, deep-water bass are more predictable when it comes to locating them. Deep water is a relative term and bass holding in deep water are affected by the thermocline when it is present. Lowland lakes deep- water holding areas are much shallower than deep-water hideouts highland lakes.
Locating bass fishing areas is a seasonal approach. During the summer and winter, bass generally live in deeper areas. Spawning bass will hold in shallow water for longer periods to complete the spawning cycle. In the fall, bass will scatter more than other seasons and is the most frustrating season for some anglers. Some will still be holding in deep water while others have already made the move to shallow areas to chase schools shad.
Isolated, submerged cover will concentrate bass better than a lot of scattered cover in the similar areas. They will sometimes use this cover for ambush points to attack prey that venture close to the cover. However, bass will also wonder outside the cover to chase unsuspecting prey. In addition, sometimes bass will use only one part of the cover more than to ambush prey for reasons not evident to anglers. When presenting lures to cover, anglers should do so from all available directions as well as over the top and through the center of the cover.
When locating bass fishing areas, Midwest Fishing Tackle Staff Member, Aaron Hunter reports “Main and secondary points are always my first stop. If I can find cover located on these points I target that cover.” Regardless of the season and water temperatures, Hunter says, “Points always have the ability to hold bass. Points are like highways for bass to travel from deep to shallow water. The seasons do not matter, when bass have deep water close to points that have shallow banks, bass will be close by.”
When choosing lures offer the bass a variety until they indicate what they prefer. Do not limit lure selection due to cover you are fishing. Many anglers use only Texas rigged plastics and jigs for fishing cover. Crankbaits are one example of lures effective for covering a lot of water and are effective when fishing brushy cover. The crankbait bill will somewhat protect the hooks when retrieved and are better at getting through cover than many anglers realize.
Deep-diving crankbaits on ten-pound test florocarbon line is an effective technique to find isolated cover on points. The lures will reach depths of 20-feet or more and contact the available cover giving away its location on the bottom. When crankbaits deflect off the cover, they will draw a reaction strike from nearby bass.
Carolina rigged plastics are another way to cover water quickly and locate the available bottom cover. The heavy sinkers allow anglers to distinguish between rock and wood cover. Slowly dragging a Carolina rigged soft plastic will draw strikes from lethargic bass that will not take a fast moving crankbait.
Once productive cover is located jigs and Texas rigged plastics are a great technique to slowly pick apart of piece of cover. The slow moving lures often aggravate bass into striking because they want to chase off or kill the lure.
Because bass are not always feeding, the second key to getting the most from these areas is to be fishing them at the time the bass decide to feed. Many productive areas have been abandoned by anglers because they determined the bass were not present when the bass were not feeding during the time the angler was there. It is best to have located a few potential areas close to each other and rotate between them throughout the day. This increases the chances you will be on at least one of them when the bass decide to feed. Aaron Hunter says, “I rotate between a few spots throughout each day on the water. Bass do not always feed at the same time on each spot and I feel I have more opportunities each day by doing this. Also, I can still get reaction strikes from bass that are not actively feeding.”
To better your chances of catching bass pick a few areas and patiently present lures to all sides and in the middle of the available cover. Rotate between these areas during your fishing time and visit each several times throughout the day.