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basscatcher8

When Do You Drop A Line?

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So I've been sitting down and reviewing notes and going back over trips in my head this year. I spent more time on new lakes this year than I ever have before. I always managed to luck into a fish here or there but wasn't really able to find where the concentrations were at.

 

I'd usually start searching with my electronics and quit cause I was anxious to fish, which led to fishing water that I had no idea or confidence in if there were any fish there. I just figured I'd ask the group. How long do you typically spend on a new body of water with eyes on the graph and not casting before you decide its time to get at it? Do you wait till you see alot of life on the screen? Do you run down the bank till you mark a brush pile on your SI and go fish it or do you look at several areas where the fish would either be in transition or staged up and decide what would be your highest percentage for success?

 

Just curious on how others think their way though this sport. I know we can all just run down the bank chucking lures but I'm just trying to find how guys spend their time efficiently on the water. Obviously when your going into a new body of water you've done your homework before hand and marked on a map primary locations where you think they would be at. I'm just curious where you guys go from there with it.

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Eyes on graph while I'm casting.

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I look for fish with my electronics, find them, and then fish for them. As I am fishing, I am looking for more.

I prefer to be fishing where the fish are, not just hoping where I cast that a fish is there.

Rarely am I within casting distance of any "bank".

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I usually know what I'm looking for before I get to a new lake by studying a topo before I get there. Yes I pay very close attention to my electronics when I get there, but I always have a plan in place to start. Electronics will quickly show how fish are staging in all but the most shallow water, and I will almost always start there. I love fishing offshore, but starting shallow is often my fallback position. Where that shallow water is depends on season and conditions.

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My routine is usually the same on new lakes as it is in lakes I fish frequently. The difference would be studying the lake maps (Navonics) before going to a new lake so I have some idea what to expect.

I launch my boat and spend some time looking around the marina area to determine what depth the life zone appears to be, metering bass is a plus, baitfish is a must. I am tuned in on seasonal periods, water temps and prey location before starting to fish.

If you meter good structure and don't see anything, no bait or suspended fish, move and try to locate some activity. I may meter around a new lake for a few hours before fishing, don't need to practice my casting.

If you can't find any bait or bass, they are where you are not looking.

Tom

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I don't have a boat, so I guess my method for knowing when to drop a line is going along the shore and looking for places that look "fishy". I usually cast around with a crankbait or jerkbait, and then if I get bit ill catch a few and then come back through with jigs and plastics and "clean up".

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If it is a new lake I will study a map, and get on google earth to study the lake. You can sometimes find great information on a lake in sites like this, especially local sites. I then get to the lake early and watch where others are running. Ill usually watch three or four groups running out in the morning and then cruse around looking to see approximate locations. I never go to someone's location while it is being used. Watch how others are fishing and the type of baits being used. You can certainly learn a lot by observing while you fish. I have learn bunches over the years by just observing what others do, and what not to do. In the mean time Ill watch the depth finder for fish, bait and depth. Once the sun comes up look for bird activity its a great indication of active fish, in a feeding mood. Talk to individuals at the ramps. Many are more then willing to give out some good information, and ask about any danger spots on the lake. Don't run around fast until you have an understanding of the lake, wear your PFD, and use your kill switch always especially when fishing alone. Do your homework before going to the lake.

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Anyone measure O2 levels?

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I use the features in a lake or reservoir (structure, breaks, breaklines, deep water, etc.) as my basic guide to where the majority of the fish might be found. Mapping of these features comes first (maps, sonar, etc.), because once you have them mapped down, they rarely change much, and then interpretation of water and conditions. These are the key starting points in my mind. These features are used at all times, regardless of the weather, season, lake type, or mood of the fish. Beyond that, you then simply use your 'tools' (lures or bait) to eliminate water and arrive at the fish. It's a pretty straight-forward process the majority of the time once you understand it.

 

As for O2, it's fun to use an oxygen meter at times to correlate with thermoclines, which tends to be pretty strong on many of my waters. But once you've understood that, your depthfinder can give you the same basic information most times. O2 itself is rarely a limiting factor on most waters, and then usually only seasonally.

 

-T9

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Thanks guys these were the answers I was looking for. I've got the before you get there research down pretty good. Dig through google earth and dig through forums using buzz words and usually find information dating back 10 years. I know lakes change but you can look at info from 10 years ago and compare to posts from a year ago or so and see how things have changed if at all. But always seems like I actually get on the water and go stupid and forget everything that I had found. Think this next year I'm going to spend more time behind the wheel searching around a lake before I drop a line to try and up my success rate. I know the only thing electronics wont eliminate is the shallowest water and that depends on time of year and day. And I know nothing beats time on the water to figure a place out..

 

 

Thanks guys!

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Do you have GPS on the boat?  Plug those spots you researched in before you head out, and make it a plan to head to those spots first.

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Lol all the places I fish are shallow and packed full of cover so I can't run around looking for fish on a screen... I just use my knowledge of where the bass will generally be that time of year then find bait fish using other signs or my eyeballs and then get to work!

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I do like others. I know before I go what Im going to be fishing. I have a plan and stick to it. May make some minor adjustments after arriving to each spot/location.  

 I then get to the lake early and watch where others are running. Ill usually watch three or four groups running out in the morning and then cruse around looking to see approximate locations. I never go to someone's location while it is being used. Watch how others are fishing and the type of baits being used. You can certainly learn a lot by observing while you fish. I have learn bunches over the years by just observing what others do, and what not to do.

This is NOT any kind of fishing skill. Using others as a crutch.

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I do like others. I know before I go what Im going to be fishing. I have a plan and stick to it. May make some minor adjustments after arriving to each spot/location.  

This is NOT any kind of fishing skill. Using others as a crutch.

 

So judgmental!!!!!  Yes, when I go to a lake I'm familiar with, I have a plan, and I go quite often.  This is a lake you have never been to before, in the original post.  If you want to put on blinders and not see what others on the lake are doing, then be my guest.  I couldn't care less!   I don't feel I'm as pompous  as you to not look at what others are doing on a new lake.  Gathering information is a constant process which includes observing.  I don't have all the answers, but gathering information never stops, and I learn something new almost every trip.  I guess some people just have all the answers!  Congrats !!!!!!!!!!!!

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So, KVD pulls up to your neighbor's dock and pulls a 25 lb. bag of fish out of there, and motors off to the weigh in. 

 

You think I'm not gonna toss under that dock next time out because of some sense of pride over finding my own spots? 

 

You think I never fish behind someone with some other bait?

 

LOL.

 

Let's be civil guys.

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Anyone who says they never have fished a bait or a spot because they saw someone else do it well is full of it.  We all do it.  When we fish we watch the locals fish, observe and make mental notes of where and what they were doing.  Someone who has the sense to be observant of others and what's going on around them is using his head.  Yeah, if I saw someone knock a 25lb bag out off of a brush pile or section of bank I'd definately make a mental note of that area for later use. Would that be my primary way of locating spots?  No, but it could key me into what depth, structure, and cover the fish may be using to look for other locations that have all the same pieces. I'm with J Francho, being observant to what's going on around you as well as your electronics is part of the game especially on unfamilar waters.

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Thanks guys these were the answers I was looking for. I've got the before you get there research down pretty good. Dig through google earth and dig through forums using buzz words and usually find information dating back 10 years. I know lakes change but you can look at info from 10 years ago and compare to posts from a year ago or so and see how things have changed if at all. But always seems like I actually get on the water and go stupid and forget everything that I had found. Think this next year I'm going to spend more time behind the wheel searching around a lake before I drop a line to try and up my success rate. I know the only thing electronics wont eliminate is the shallowest water and that depends on time of year and day. And I know nothing beats time on the water to figure a place out..

 

 

Thanks guys!

Sure some electronics technoloy will help eliminate unproductive areas in shallow water.

 

This screen shot covers 100' in less than 2' depths. It shows bass spawning beds, a creek channel with fish in it, and stumps:

 

S00040.png

 

This screen shot covers 200' in less than 4' depths and shows weeds on the right side that are near the shore:

 

100shallow_zps5d216a05.jpg

 

This screen shot covers 80' in less than 4' where I was checking along a dollar pad field for spawning bass:

 

S00189_zps9fcaee40.png

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I usually know what I'm looking for before I get to a new lake by studying a topo before I get there. Yes I pay very close attention to my electronics when I get there, but I always have a plan in place to start. Electronics will quickly show how fish are staging in all but the most shallow water, and I will almost always start there. I love fishing offshore, but starting shallow is often my fallback position. Where that shallow water is depends on season and conditions.

2 to 3 nights prior on maps and this box finding out all I can about new water. I don't listen to "dock talk" B.S.

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Do you have GPS on the boat?  Plug those spots you researched in before you head out, and make it a plan to head to those spots first.

 

Yeah I run a 998. I usually will mark spots on Google Earth then convert them over to a memory card and load them on my GPS screen. I've even made quick powerpoint presentations with overhead pictures from Google Earth so when I'm out in the boat and fishing an area I got a quick reference to look at with notes about what I was thinking when I was looking at the area.

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Sure some electronics technoloy will help eliminate unproductive areas in shallow water.

 

This screen shot covers 100' in less than 2' depths. It shows bass spawning beds, a creek channel with fish in it, and stumps:

 

S00040.png

 

This screen shot covers 200' in less than 4' depths and shows weeds on the right side that are near the shore:

 

100shallow_zps5d216a05.jpg

 

This screen shot covers 80' in less than 4' where I was checking along a dollar pad field for spawning bass:

 

S00189_zps9fcaee40.png

 

Thanks Wayne. I need to get out and practice more with SI in shallow water. If not for actually seeing fish for finding targets to cast at that might not be visible above the water.

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Before heading out to new lake I search maps for deeper spots, changes in underwater terrain. When I am on the lake, I tend to be watching how others are doing or asking them have they catched anything. I have had great luck when following seagulls too.

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