How to Find Fish
This video takes you through the process of locating and catching fish every time you hit the water.
Hey, guys. This is Gene Jensen, with BassResource.com. I’m going to do a little day on the lake today. This is Clark’s Hill Lake. I haven’t been out here since . . . it’s been a while, since late winter; December, January, something like that. It’s now the middle of March, middle to late March. I am basically just going to come out here and figure out the fish. I don’t have a whole lot of information about what’s going on right now, but I’m going to talk you through what I’m doing today, and hopefully, I can figure these fish out.
To start off with, I got on the lake. First thing I noticed was the water temperature is 56.4. It’s coming up, but we just had a cold front the day before yesterday, so it’s the second day after a cold front. I don’t suspect the fish will be very active. I’ve idled across, keeping an eye on my Lowrance coming across this little pocket, and I’ve noticed that every single pod of baitfish that I’ve seen has been at 15 feet deep. That tells me they’ve probably pull back a little bit because of this cold front, but I’m going to keep motoring around.
The first thing I do when I get to a lake is I check the temperature of the water, especially in the springtime, and I look at the water color. The watercolor gives me an idea of what lures I’m going to use. This is a little bit stained. I may not stay in this pocket; I may go out towards May Lake and find some clearer water. Actually, this is quite muddy for this lake. I checked the watercolor, I’ve checked the weather, I’ve paid attention to what’s been happening the last couple, 2 or 3 days; a cold front. If the fish . . . and I heard last week that the fish had pulled up shallow. If a cold front came through, that means the fish have pulled back out. I’m guessing that all these fish I’m seeing at 15 feet are . . . that’s where they pulled out two. Let me run around and see what happens.
Let me show you what I’m seeing. This is the 10 to 15-foot range, and I’m seeing balls of baitfish. This is what I’m seeing all across this cove, and I’ve gone probably about a half mile, but I’m seeing balls of baitfish. There’s a larger fish, right there, and this may be a little bit larger fish right here. I’m seeing the majority of the concentration, the majority of the life, in this part of the lake, at 10 to 15 feet. Now I’m going to go out to a little bit clearer water and see if I see the same thing. I want you guys to notice, I’m spending a little bit time early in the morning. I’m not so concerned about catching fish right now. Why waste my time throwing a bait if I don’t know where the fish are? I’m going to spend quite a bit of time trying to figure these fish out, using my depth finder, using my local knowledge of the lake, and things like that, before I even tie the baits I want onto my rods and lay them on the deck. Let’s keep going and see what I find out.
Basically, I went out closer to the main lake. What I do is when I get to . . . when I’m going up and down the creek, this is a main creek that’s on Clark’s Hill, I divided into thirds: first third, middle third, back there. That’s what a lot of people do. The boat ramp is in about the middle third, and I just idle around there to see what the baitfish are doing. Every single baitfish was between 10 and 15-feet deep. I came out here closer to the main lake. What I’ve got behind me as I’ve got just a little spawning base, spawning flat, back with a few boat docks in the back and stuff like this, with the main point that’s coming out in the middle of it. You’ve got an arm here and an arm here of the spawning pocket. My thought is that these fish, if they’ve pulled out of that pocket, are going to be sitting right on that point, in about 10 to 15 feet of water. Every time I went over a hard point, it had baitfish sitting on top of it. Some of them had fish on them, larger fish, some of them didn’t, but most of them had a cloudy . . . a cloud of baitfish on them, or a school of baitfish.
What I’m doing is I’m just rigging up my rods to fish that depth, 10 to 15 feet. Some of the things I’m tying on is my favorite deeper point, or deeper structure fishing rig, is a Carolina rig. I’m tying that on. I’ve got a deeper diving Lucky Craft Squirrel 79; try that one out. This is a Strike King crank bait, goes 10 to 13 feet. I don’t know what series it is; probably a Series 5. A jig, and that’s it for right now. We’re going to see what happens with those. I’m just going to cover that depth for the next half hour and just see what happens, see if I get a bite. I’m going to try to . . . because this is a Green Pumpkin Lizard, which is my favorite color on this lake, I want to brighten it up a little bit because the water is quite a bit stained. We had a lot of rain the night before last when that cold front came through, and ton of rain, so it’s muddied up the water. To brightness up, I’m going to dip the tail in some JJ’s Magic and try to throw bright colors. As you can see, this is the only deep-diving jerk bait I’ve got, but I think it’ll work since it’s white and it’s got a little bit of chartreuse on the sides. I’m going to work it fast because it’s 56-degree water. Let’s just see what happens. Who knows?
Typically when I first get to lake . . . I’m a point fisherman. I love to fish points. The first place I look any day of the year when I come out fishing is I’m looking to see what is going on on the points, because that’s a major ambush spot for largemouth bass. If it funnels the baitfish up and over or around in areas, so I’m going to go looking for it, for points. If they’re not on points, then I go ditches, pockets, and creek channels, stuff like that. I’m pulling up on this point. This is a main point back in the middle of this pocket. Like I said earlier, the channel splits; it’s a little spawning pocket, and the channel splits. I’m going to put the boat in about 20 feet of water, and I’m going to cast towards the bank. That should put this crankbait down close to the bottom by the time it gets down there. I’m going to just slowly work this point out.
I’m going to start off with a crankbait, and I’m going to move from a crankbait to something that’s on the bottom, a jig or a Carolina rig. I like to have things on the deck that will cover not only the water column, but speeds and things like that. If I’m working the bank, if I’m searching for fish, I’ve always got a bait, like a spinnerbait, a Rat-L-Trap, or crankbait; something that’s moving bait. I have something that I can pitch to cover that I see or to boat docks, and I always have jig tied on somewhere. That usually helps me cover any situation that might come up in front of me.
I just switched from a crankbait to a Carolina rig. I’m going to let it go down to the bottom. Look at that. Like I said, you spend a little bit of time with your electronics, if you have boat. This isn’t a big fish, but he came out deep. He’s pale, he still got that winter color to him. He’s a little buck bass, but they’ll get bigger. If you spend a little bit of time with your electronics early in the morning, don’t worry about fishing right away and figure out what the baitfish are doing. Find the baitfish. The baitfish is always the key. Then go looking for the structure that would hold the bass at whatever level the baitfish are at. If the baitfish are scattered, then you’re going to have to move around a little bit faster. I caught one fish. I’m going to see if I can catch another one and get it on video, and see if I can’t figure out some big ones.
I’m going to back off a little bit. The boat moved up into 15 feet of water and that bass hit in 12. Where were the baitfish? Between 10 and 15 feet of water. Whatever level the baitfish are at, 9 times out of 10, that’s where the bass are going to be. Let me see if I can duplicate that and catch another one. Just had one hit. I don’t know if he’s still on it. Yeah, he still on it. Here we go. Same size, another pre-spawn male. One of the little bitty fish, though. Still looking for a big one. That’s how I find a fish every time I’m out. 9 times out of 10, they’re not going to bite, but I’m lucky. I’ve got out here. I found a school that’s going to bite. I can probably catch of fish every cast here, for the next few casts, and eventually, finds some big ones.
I’m going to go around the lake and use this pattern for a little while, and see if it holds up. It took me all of 45 minutes, 30 minutes of motoring around, 5 or 10 minutes to rig my rods. I started out with something moving to see if they were a little bit active. I wasn’t getting a bite. I only made 3 or 4 casts with a crankbait, switched over to a Carolina rig because it’s on the bottom, and of course, it’s a Carolina Rig Lizard. It’s a rage lizard is what it is. For years, I used Zoom Lizards too, but I like a Rage Lizard, because the tail moves a little bit easier when you’re in the water so you get a little bit more flutter action in the water. Dip that sucker in JJ’s Magic and it’s a bite every cast. That’s 3 casts, 3 fish. Little bit better fish.
Like I always say, visit BassResource.com for the answer to all your questions about bass fishing. BassResource is where I learned all of this stuff. I didn’t learn it by chance; I went there years ago and figured it out. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you for all your comments. Thank you for supporting my channel. I really appreciate all my subscribers. Get out on the water, try some of the stuff out. Like I always say, have a great day.