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Actually, many lakes we fish are not lakes. They're impoundments. Originally, river drainage systems that have been dammed by humanity.
A golden concept that applies to impoundments year-round but especially each spring is this: Fish impoundments as if they still are the original rivers. This means targeting the locations that were active flowing parts of the original river system before being dammed by man.
Even though their banks may have been overflowed and flooded over decades ago, the age-old creek channels and feeders can still be important to the bass. The creeks and gulches and washes and trickles were the oases of life before being flooded by the dam - and may still be the meccas of motherlodes of fish.
Although buried under water now, the riverine environment is still intact under the impoundment, and the bass still use the impoundment as if it still is a river system.A river system (and hence an impoundment) is a mesh of countless connecting feeder veins and water flows of the following exemplary types which you should learn to recognize and target. Some of the larger constructs can be recognized from far away, and may extend down into the impoundment from far back on the adjacent land. Some of the smaller constructs often have an additional traipse of garnishy greenery on the way down to the shoreline, which is a surefire cue to a few water veins that fish like gold vein
By Tom Lester II
I can remember the first time I took my boat out on an unfamiliar body of water for a fishing trip. Although I had studied
a map of the lake I was going to be fishing, I found it a bit intimidating to find my way around once I was on the water.
The creeks and landmarks that appeared so visible on the map, where not nearly defined and easy to find when puttin'
around on the water. I'm sure that this happens to almost everyone that goes boating at some time or another.
I recently talked with one of my local fishing buddies that went fishing with another friend of mine at a nearby lake. After
a morning of fishing that produced a couple of fish for each fisherman, they were ready to start home before the heat
became totally unbearable. There was just one problem; they couldn't find their way back to the boat ramp. They
searched and drove around for quite some time before finally finding the cove that contained the boat ramp they had
used to launch their boat.
After burning up more gas finding the ramp than they used to find fish (according to the friend that wasn't driving), they
trailered the boat and returned home. This story, funny as it was, brought to mind a couple of points I wanted to share.
It is always important to familiarize yourself with landmarks when going out on the water, especially if you are not familiar
with the lake. A boat house, a large rock at the mouth of a creek, a peculiar looking tree or whatever you can use to
mentally mark your location is always a good idea.
With the technology of a GPS (global positioning system), it is a good idea to mark a waypoint at the ramp before heading
out on the water. I know I've used mine to help me find the exact location of the boat ramp after a long day of fishing on a
new lake. These units have become more affordable and user friendly over the past couple of years.
In the event you do become lost, the first thing to do is to stay calm and not panic. Most lakes will have some place you
can stop and ask for directions, such as a marina or another boat dock. You can also ease up to someone else on the
water and ask for directions to the boat ramp you are looking for. Most people are more than willing to help you out.
Finally, it is always a good idea to carry a portable cell phone with you in the boat. This can be a lifesaver in the event
of an emergency. I have known more than one individual that has used their cell phone to call for help after witnessing
an accident on the water or being involved in one them self.
Last March, my Ranger boat dealer, Gary Wendeborn of Gary's Marine in Gatesville, TX came upon a boat wreck in the
middle of Lake Amistad. They had a phone and were able to summon an ambulance and other authorities to be waiting
at the boat ramp when they brought in a badly injured fisherman. The fact that the ambulance was at the ramp waiting
for them when they got the man out of the water, in their boat and to the ramp, probably saved his life. Don't leave that
phone in the truck! Take it with you and turn it off if you don't want to be disturbed. If you need or want it, you can always
turn it on. As for my buddies, they got home safely. Fortunately they had enough drinks and cigars to help pass the time
until they found their way back to the ramp.
Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.
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” bass.
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, and if you understood more about these two,
You would definitely become a much better angler, and they are;
and 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:
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
several 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 numbers.
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 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 like;
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