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bassmaster8100

Big Waters And Where To Go

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Just recently got back to bass fishing. When I was fishing regularly before it was almost always in small lakes from like 100 to 300 acres. I now live right next to a 33,000 acre reservoir that I'm very unfamiliar with. Any tips for locating fish on a large body of water like this that you are unfamiliar with?

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I fish a large reservoir as well. A topo map helps me a whole lot. Finding the creek and main lake channel and places where they touch points, bluffs, and etc. has proven to be quite successful. However, spots on the map are much larger and harder to cover once you get out there on the water. If you don't already own a boat and a good sonar unit, I'd save up and buy them as soon as possible.

Aside from a topo map, it's good to ask some locals. Good Luck

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I just recently purchased a small 15 ft boat with a 55 on it. Just has a cheap Eagle depth finder on it. I did pick up a map at BPS tho.

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With a working knowledge of seasonal patterns, a good topo map, your small boat and Eagle depth finder, and some basic tackle you are good to go. Just do it. Some of my best fishing memories are of my brother and I fishing Bull Shoals lake in a 14' deep V with a cheap depth finder. Good luck.

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Do you have a trolling motor and is the boat set up to bass fish from the front seat?

Spend this year learning how to control your boat. Your boat isn't fast enough to cover a lot of water, so break down the lake into sections you can fish effectively; within 5 to 10 miles from where you launch to start with.

Go to the local tackle shop; take your map with you and ask some questions about where to bass fish, mark those areas. Main lake areas are harder to learn boat control due to wind and boat traffic, so pick the largest creek arm near your launch area, this should be the area to start and learn everyting you can about that area. Where bass spawn, where pre spawn bass go after the spawn and where those bass are located during the summer, the creek arm is your home lake for awhile, so pick an arm with a lots of depth changes/ break lines, secondary points. The main lake major points at the mouth of the creek arm, 1 point is usually longer and drops into the main river the channel, that should hold some bass. The creek arm channel that leads to the spawning areas should intersect those secondary points inside the creek arm, they also hold bass. Coves, cover, boat docks, trees are all easy to find and some bass should be near cover from time to time and out on structure like the deeper breaks and points.

After learning what the bass are doing and where they locate in that creek arm, the rest of the lake should be similar.

Tom

PS: don't overlook the marina area they always have bass nearby; find the bait, the bass will be close....the depth where the bass are active is the secret to consistanly catching bass.

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Head out early on the lake when a major tournament is going on and just cruise around to see what everyone is doing.

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When I'm fishing a tournament on Lake Okeechobee (400,000+ acres) me/my partner will typically be one of the slowest boats out there. We both have flats boats that max out about 42MPH. We can't run all over the lake...it would be an inefficient use of time. The key for us in fishing big water is to break it down into several smaller sections. We will pick a section we think we can be successful given recent weather patterns, water temp/clarity, seasonal patterns, fish reports, etc. We will focus on that one section and fish it like a smaller body of water.

IMO, the way to learn big water is to do it section by section. It is too overwhelming to try and learn the whole thing at once. Take it section by section...learn each section really well and over time, you get closer to having the whole picture.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. A few of you mentioned fishing it a section at a time sounds like a good approach I will try that. And no the boat I bought doesn't have a trolling motor but I'm getting one for it next week. I used to have a small bass boat when I fished regularly so I understand boat control guess I was just a little intimidated by the much bigger body of water.

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