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Lip 'em!

Help With A Tough Lake

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Theres a lake near my home town that i fish fairly often in hopes to figure it out. Its around 800 acres so its not huge and it receives alot of pressure despite having the reputation that it sucks. However there are a few local guys that fish tournaments there often that know how to fish it and consistently weigh in sacks of 18-20 lbs and i have seen some hawgs caught out of it. The lake has shallow habitat (losts of boat docks and lily pads and water willow during the spring/summer) deep water creek channels and ledges, rip rap banks, and steep bluff walls.

Now to get to the point. I fished it this past saturday from noon till 5 and only caught 1 little dink on a 3inch grub. I threw suspending jerkbaits around points, rip rap, and laydowns near deep water. Then i tried a flutter spoon in the creek channels around 15-20 ft deep and no luck there either. I drug/hopped a black and blue jig on the ledges and channels as well with the same result. I dropshotted a fluke jr around the bluff walls, and even threw the a-rig for a little while with no luck either. The water was around 45 degrees and had some color to it. My question is...where should the bass be with this kind of temperature and habitat? I figured they would be deep since the water is still fairly cold, but i watched another guy catch 2 flippin a beaver on a laydown in 6 ft of water. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on what cover/depths to fish and what to throw this time of year with the water around this temperature. Thanks! ---Lip 'em

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There is always fish in shallow water.  There is a guy in my club that does not fish over 10ft PERIOD no matter what season or conditions he is faced with and he usually is in the top 3.  I would have done everything you did maybe add in a crankbait.  Usually I start with 10 rods on deck with everything from topwater to deep and add or minus rods as the day goes on.  One thing you could do is slow down as in deadstick.  Everyone fishes shallow stuff quickly but few deadstick their baits.  They are so preoccupied with make a flip to a tree, shake once, twice, reel in for the next flip within a few seconds.  I would bet thats what the guys who do well there are doing.  Everyone is fishing fast and they can't buy a bite, the few that figured out to fish painstackingly slow are the ones reaping the benifits.

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I always downsize when I can't buy a bite.

4" finesse worm on a shakey head would be my choice. Downsize your line and fish slow. Not the most fun way to fish, but it feels good when you finally catch a fish.

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Theres a Reservior near my home that is very similar, its about 760 acres and gets tons of pressure. For a long time I couldn't catch anything bigger than a dink. After more days than I can count, I started learning the nuances of the lake and gradually began to catch better quality fish. I'm still learning and studying the lakes characteristics, but its all about not quitting. I know guys that wont fish there because they think its a waste of time, but I'de rather fish there because I know the potential of breaking my PB is there. Keep working at it, find a map of the lake and study it well. For this time of year try to find the areas that have high potential for fish to spawn near. During prespawn & spawn I like to throw shaky heads with tapered straight tail worms in natural colors (baby bass, watermelon, pumpkinseed, black, junebug). Also, try tossing a rattle trap to cover water (IMO one of the most productive spring lures).

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Bigger than a pond, smaller than a reservoir often gets the "fishing sucks" or "hard to fish" label (If you keep seeing a lot of the same well worn bass boats, don't believe it) nothing to do but hunker down and learn the water if you know they are in there, no short cut here...

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I would say focus on an area they are likely to be. Saturate that area with all the baits you mentioned above. When you think your fishing slow, fish slower. At this time of year, I'm only ripping baits like cranks and spinner baits when the temp is on an up swing. Like a 2 day warming trend.

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys and its good to see im not the only one who has this problem. On the topic of the shakey head...as soon as i got home i tied one on in preparation for next time. Its about the only thing ive had any luck on at that lake. Ive probably caught 5 or 6 small ones and one 3 lber on it with a zoom finesse worm.

I had thought about the crankbait as well, but i wasnt sure whether to throw a shallow, medium, or deep diver??

Next time out i will be sure to slow down. Waaayyyy down! And not be scared to fish shallow even when its cold.

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You can find fish shallow, especially if there is a warming trend with some good sun. When that starts to happen, I look for rocks. The more of them the better. They will warm up with the sunlight and hold heat longer, they offer great ambush positions for fish and tons of forage use rocks as their homes.

 

Warmer water, cover and bait. Seems like it should produce. I know it does for me. ;)

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