FINDING THAT RIGHT SPOT
We have many times heard others say “You sure are Lucky to catch that big fish”. We will not disagree that luck can play a part but there is more to it than just luck,
things such as knowing the habits of the fish you target and how to find the right spot plays a bigger role in catching fish.
Our article last month was on Locating Fish and since we had a couple questions, we will elaborate some to hopefully help. As you may have discovered from our past articles, we are basically multi-species anglers, but for this article we will focus on the largemouth bass.
You may find yourself catching many smaller bass when fishing in shallow areas. This is because the younger fish will inhabit or roam more in these areas but can also be found most anywhere in shallow lakes. However, the more mature bass will occupy or be found in more specific spots with the right comfort zones. By comfort zones we are talking about spots with the right light penetration (or lack of), the right or best water temps and the best spot to ambush prey. To make this the right spot while providing the best opportunity for big bass to feed, it should serve as a funnel. Funnel spots are something also used during deer hunting and we now apply the funnel principle to fishing for big bass that are feeding more. Other water qualities that help to form that zone of comfort is pH levels but is not as important during cooler months as water temps. Even though these bigger fish reside in specific spots, they still perform seasonal migrations to and from these spots where they spend most of their time.
Let us start by talking about FALL which is approaching. This is a time when bass are in a transition pattern or are migrating into creeks to chase or follow schools of baitfish. So the key during this time of year is baitfish. You may now find the bigger fish by looking for edges of these creek channels. Cover along these edges such as stumps can really be good but remember the key is still baitfish. The bass will be schooling and feeding so spinnerbaits work well during this time.
During WINTER is a time when water temps are key and fish will be found in their comfort zone with best water temps or in deep lakes at a depth of the thermocline which many times may put them suspended in the water column. Look for any break or drop-off with cover near deep water such as channel breaks or out off a sharp breaking point. When we are fishing clear deep lakes like Bull Shoals we key into bluffs and more so with standing timber, boulders or large rock cropping to help pinpoint a prime spot. This is the time of year when the strike zone is more limited, so we would vertically fish with baits such as maybe a jigging spoon.
SPRING is another transition period when the big bass are driven by warming waters and longer days to make the migration to shallow spawning areas. This will be done along edges again with cover and a food source with deep water nearby for a sense of safety such as channel bends, junctions or saddles. During this time bass will become somewhat territorial and a jerkbait is a good lure choice that stays in the strike zone longer. Look for water that warms faster such as northern shorelines during this period. The first bass you may catch will be the males searching and making beds while the bigger females can be found out at the first break. We have read articles by former fisheries biologist stating the big females may go onto the beds even at night, lay eggs and move back out into deeper water. This may explain why so many of those bigger females are not caught and why I have always thought spawning during new & full moons can take place during the overnight major period.
As SUMMER arrives with hot water temps, the big bass move out to deep water structures such as humps, flooded timber or along a main channel and to make it even better yet, there needs to be some cover or sunken brush. Fish are more scattered now and the bigger fish will feed during low-light conditions. We find the crankbait to be a productive lure and this is a time we like some wind to help break up light penetration while keeping us cool too. Also try bouncing your bait off the stumps or other cover to get those reaction strikes.
Most any time you will find the object oriented bass out around humps, weed edges, breaks of any kind, isolated objects, underwater stumps, submerged rock piles and we find points can always be good spots but look for a break out off these points for the better fish to be holding. And just remember, big fish like to hang out in heavy cover, they do not roam much and do not like to chase their prey vary far.
Hope this helps and please visit us at www.larrysfishinghole.com for Fishing Reports, Product Reviews, Events, Tips, our Classified section or check us on Facebook for some of our fish photos.
Till Next Time GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !