By Christopher Pratt -
One thing that many avid bass fishermen focus on when it comes to increasing their success on the water are the lures they use. Yes, the type of lure that you choose will have a significant and direct impact on whether or not you entice the bass to strike, and how often. However, to be truly successful on your fishing expeditions –whether you fish regularly or more sporadically- you need to consider other factors as well.
Having the right rod and reel is key. Using the correct line also makes a difference. The particular technique that you rely on will certainly lead to more strikes and sets, leading to more fish at the end of your line. Yet one aspect that is consistently overlooked is location.
Location, Location, Location
There’s a common phrase in the real estate industry that ‘there are three key elements to success: location, location, location.’ The same holds true for bass fishing. You can spend a fortune on the best of everything –the best, most advanced lures, the top of the line rod and reel, the most advanced fish finder, the most comfortable boat, and so on- but if you don’t choose the best location to fish, you might find yourself leaving for home empty handed and frustrated, time and time again.
So let’s talk about how to choose the best bass fishing locations.
Where You Fish …
Let me ask you a simple question. If you gathered the best of everything, then headed to a remote part of a lake where there were no bass, then what’s the point of all that gear? As mentioned, you can get everything you need to catch some strong, might bass, but if you don’t go where they are, or don’t know how to find them, you might be left wishing you had done something else for the day.
Look for Isolated Cover
Bass love to hide out in isolated areas. Look for places along the lake that offer a great deal of ‘cover’ for bass. This could include a section of weeds or lily pads or even a low hanging or broken tree limb that is submerged in the water.
A lake that doesn’t offer a lot of cover will tend to have a number of different fish congregating toward the bottom of the lake bed, where there are at least a few weeds to hide within. Bass prefer to linger where there is more cover, or even isolated cover.
Isolated cover can also include a boat dock, though you’re not likely going to find many larger bass in these locations because they tend to be overfished (meaning that many people, adults and children alike, will fish from these locations because they are easy to access and offer the opportunity to drop a line for a few minutes then head home if nothing is biting). Any location that is overfished will tend to produce smaller, more common fish. That’s not what you want; you want the strong fighters.
Rock beds or artificial reefs (which is a fancy way of saying garbage or debris that is tossed in the water, which can include a sunken boat, old tires, and such) are a favorite of bass. How can you find these locations in the lake? Using a Fish Finder, you’ll be able to notice objects laying on the bottom of the lake bed. You won’t see a school of bass on that finder, but when you recognize a protrusion rising up from the lake bed, the chances of finding bass there increase.
Be Willing to Let Go of Your Prized Possessions
Let me interject here for a moment. As you may very well surmise at this point, bass are going to be surrounded by a number of potential hazards. In ‘hazard,’ I’m referring to the risk that they will put your line and lures in. Since bass love to hide among rocks, weeds, and wood, that means you will likely lose a number of lures if and when they are snagged on these outcroppings.
Are there ways to decrease the likelihood of losing these lures? Yes, of course. Fish these locations from farther away, casting your line toward them and trying to lure the bass away from the sanctuary and safety of these spots. You can also measure the depth of the rock or other outcropping and drop the line straight down, not allowing the lure to completely reach the rocks or debris.
However, if you’re not willing to let go of some of your lures, then you’re going to have more struggles in getting the best bass in the lake. Add a number of ‘throwaway’ lures (but make sure they are lures that are going to appeal to bass) that don’t cost a great deal of money and which you won’t be too upset to lose a few on any given fishing expedition.
A Weedy Cover
Weeds in the water produce oxygen. They also provide cover for a number of fish who are either lying in wait to strike smaller fish, or trying to avoid larger predators. It’s one of the reasons why bass love hiding out in them. The key to successful bass fishing in these locations is to be quiet as you approach and look for sharp, sudden movements down in the water. This is usually a sign of a bass being spooked by your presence.
Once you see movement down below the surface, stop moving. Here you’ll want to simply wait a while. Within a minute, or sometimes a few, as long as you remain quiet and still, the bass will likely return to its spot. Bass are territorial, so you’re not going to drive it away permanently just by showing up.
Sometimes the weedy cover is going to be too thick to be able to see very deep, but that’s when you need to develop an instinct for recognizing the shifting of the weeds. Unless there’s a strong current moving through the lake (highly unlikely, even with underground springs), any movement of the weeds will be a good indicator of a fish below.
Freshly fallen wood, such as a tree that has recently dropped limbs or completely fallen into the water is often a hotbed of fish activity. Wood decomposes quickly in water. It might only take a year or two for a full tree to break apart when submerged in water. Sometimes it could take years. In either case, when wood is fresh, it attracts the bait fish. Before decomposition kicks into high gear and consumes a lot of oxygen, driving the baitfish away, these areas will be ripe with bass that come for the baitfish.
Look for fairly recent logjams, or tree debris that hasn’t yet really started to break down. Approach the area slowly and casually and look for the movement you’re apt to notice just below the surface.
When fishing around these areas, you’ll want to fish from a distance, casting your line toward the wood. Again, you’re going to lose some lures when you fish in these locations, but when you find these spots, you’re going to also be met with an abundance of activity.
There are some lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that simply have more bass than others. It would require a manual, or map, of sorts to list the best ones across the country. However, when you heed the advice and tips mentioned in this article, no matter where you fish, you’re going to find better success catching bass.
This article originally appeared on The Bass Lures Blog
About Christopher Pratt
Christopher is publisher of The Bass Lures Blog. Whether you are a beginner and want to know what lure you should stock your tackle box with first or you are the pro and need to know what lure is hitting the best, there are informational posts for everyone at Christopher’s site. Christopher also feature interviews with some of the most resourceful people in the sport of bass fishing. Read Christopher’s interview with EZ Angler Publisher Brent Watters.