So many places to fish with so many fish to catch but often so little time. As multi species anglers, we follow some proven tips to shorten our search for fish giving us more catching time.
When we go to a new lake or if we have not been on a lake for some time, we begin looking for fish in shallow water of 5-10 feet. Often our first bait for locating fish may be a jig head with a twister tail, a swim bait or a roadrunner. This is a good initial search lure for working faster till we locate fish at which time we switch to slower and more thorough lures such as plastic baits, etc.
As for the rig, our colors would be a combination of White/Pink or Chartreuse/Orange for clear water or Smoke colors and maybe with some Blues in slightly stained water. We would use a moderately heavier weight jig than normal allowing us to reel semi-fast in a swimming motion. We throw to the bank, underwater ledge or other target and as soon as it hits bottom, start reeling in to give it a fast action until it hits an object or bottom again. If it's not hitting bottom, slow down the reeling or let it sink until it hits something, but never let it sit there. Remember, this is searching, so keep the bait swimming to cover more water swiftly.
The moderately heavier than normal jig head does a number of things that make it effective for learning new bodies of water fast:
- It casts farther than normal, thereby covering more water on a single cast
- It sinks faster than normal, saving descent time on the way down
- It can swim along bottom faster than normal
- It triggers snap-reactions not only from aggressive but also inactive fish
- It will unveil to you what type of bottom structure and cover is underwater
If the fish are not present or biting shallow (less than 12 feet), you can use this same search bait to work out deeper by switch to a heavier jig head without changing the grub, but move into 12 to 20 feet of water. No fish there? Then search all the way down to 30 or 40 feet deep with the same grub and jigs up to one ounce. Just bounce the bottom and reel quickly enough to keep from getting snagged while you steadily swim the grub without stopping. You'll cover lots of water, you will uncover what habitat is down there for future reference, and you will trigger snappy reaction bites in the process.
Other Search Baits we like using for Bass are – Spinnerbaits, Buzzbaits and Crankbaits.
A spinnerbait is just a jig too, with a wire and flashy blades over its head. You can burn a heavy spinnerbait faster than any other lure - period. Burn the spinnerbait up high just within your visibility and you'll flush out the locations of some fine fish that may have gone totally undetected using slower baits.
Speaking of spinnerbaits, we have field testing baits and found some of the best well-constructed ones are hand built which command the attention of fish.
We love fishing topwater and a buzzbait that is just a jig too, with a pinwheel over its head that churns the water while making bubbles. As a search bait, it covers water faster and is more snag less than many other topwater lures. This is due to you being able to visually steer it away from imminent danger while fishing through emergent wood, brush and weeds.
And if you know us very well you know a crankbait is always a part of our arsenal and tied on and ready to cover water in search of fish.
If you want your searching for fish to include catching, then you should have a follow-up rod ready. First you need to find a likely area to start your search. Next fish within that area by casting until you found them small pockets within the area, and then you can predict or pattern the fish. When we find short-striking fish on the jig, we backed it up with a light or no weighted plastic such as a fluke to work more slowly now that we know they are there. Having a follow-up rod handy is good advice if you want fish in the boat but many anglers don't have that, which is unfortunate. Be one of those few anglers who do the "searching" and it will suddenly equal “catching” for you!
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Till Next Time GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !