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Do you have a routine game plan or do you just "Wing It"

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I am sitting here planning my next fishing trip this weekend, and it got me to wondering what others do: 

When you go out on the water, do you hit the same spots that you always hit?  Do you have a game plan that is pre determined before you go?  Do you just play it by ear each time? 

I have been hitting the same 2 lakes for the past year.  I try to get out every weekend...each day if everything work out...but at least every 2 weeks.  I have not fished the entire lake on one lake, in fact I've only fished a very small portion of the western shore.  We normally start at the southern end of it and troll north fishing the whole shore.  By then, it's usually time to pack it up and head home because it's either dark - or we have duties to tend to.  

I think a lot of it has to do with confidence, and experience in these certain areas - but eventually I need to expand.  

Just curious how it plays out for other fisherman.  

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if you haven't explored the whole lake for two years then you definitely need to expand, go fish every spot on the lake to get a feel for the depth and the type of vegetation it holds, and maybe on the way pull in a lunker or two. I personally can hit about half my lake in a day so i fish were I think they'll be at the time according to the time, weather, date, etc.

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6 minutes ago, BassMaster17 said:

if you haven't explored the whole lake for two years then you definitely need to expand, go fish every spot on the lake to get a feel for the depth and the type of vegetation it holds, and maybe on the way pull in a lunker or two. I personally can hit about half my lake in a day so i fish were I think they'll be at the time according to the time, weather, date, etc.

Yeah...I know it sounds a little crazy..and in my defense...it hasn't been quite 2 years...closer to a year and a half...but yeah...every time we go - we pretty much fish the same areas.  

Won't have a lot of fishing time this weekend...only small bursts (maybe 3-4 hrs each trip)...but I think I will force myself into uncharted territory.

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Every Tuesday for the last 2 months I've fished a marsh with two of my sons. This marsh is federally owned & is closed from October thru March for duck hunting & the spawn.

The first Tuesday we caught 2 bass & scrapped that game plan. The next Tuesday we caught 10 & missed several. 

Since then we have fished the same area with the same lures & averaged 10-15 bass. Now keep in mind we are only fishing 5 hrs per trip & mornings only.

Now with all game plans I'm subject to bail at any time!

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4 minutes ago, Catt said:

Every Tuesday for the last 2 months I've fished a marsh with two of my sons. This marsh is federally owned & is closed from October thru March for duck hunting & the spawn.

The first Tuesday we caught 2 bass & scrapped that game plan. The next Tuesday we caught 10 & missed several. 

Since then we have fished the same area with the same lures & averaged 10-15 bass. Now keep in mind we are only fishing 5 hrs per trip & mornings only.

Now with all game plans I'm subject to bail at any time!

I usually have my son with me as well, age 12.  I think he is one of the reasons we tend to stick to what we know - so that we can put fish in the boat.  Want to teach him how to find fish too though, so I need to start exploring. 

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I usually have a plan before I start . I even have my rods and reels set up before I leave . Then I get to the lake and do something else . 

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I usually have a plan for each lake that I fish before I get there but the plan is subject to change, if needed. Most times I have a good idea as to where the fish will be and what they will hit.

If fishing a new lake, I will make plans based on what I see on the Topo.

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13 minutes ago, scaleface said:

I usually have a plan before I start . I even have my rods and reels set up before I leave . Then I get to the lake and do something else . 

this except a jig always stays tied on. I also haven't fished my whole lake and its been about 3 years since I started it. it is 45,000 acres but there are other reasons. I think I might have only really fished about 50% of it. I also need to spread out my territory

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Just now, riverbasser said:

this except a jig always stays tied on. I also haven't fished my whole lake and its been about 3 years since I started it. it is 45,000 acres but there are other reasons. I think I might have only really fished about 50% of it. I also need to spread out my territory

I know exactly what you mean riverbasser - for different reasons, I have just stayed in the same area...whether it be motor troubles...rough weather...short on time...whatever the reason.  Like I said earlier, half of it is confidence....I know where the fish are in the area I've been working.  

I'm amped to venture out now though 

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yep like you said weather conditions have stopped some of my exploring. even nearest boat ramps make up my decision. its easy to get stuck in a rut especially if you are catching. Get skunked a few times in a row though and I would be all over the lake:P

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The game plan right now is to learn as much as I possible can from my home lake, I think when I start tournament fishing next year that all of this will change but for now it's just me and sometimes the family, I don't have any pre-determined spots, I'll just go around areas I haven't visited and scan and mark waypoints of interest and then do a little fishing if I find some good spots.

 

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2 minutes ago, Nitrofreak said:

The game plan right now is to learn as much as I possible can from my home lake, I think when I start tournament fishing next year that all of this will change but for now it's just me and sometimes the family, I don't have any pre-determined spots, I'll just go around areas I haven't visited and scan and mark waypoints of interest and then do a little fishing if I find some good spots.

 

I definitely understand your perspective.  That's kind of my foundation too - I am trying to learn as much about my "close-to-home" lakes as I can, then expand from there.  

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Game plan? Hm, probably formulated one over 
the years for each of the reservoirs I fish. I tend
to follow instinct (game plan) now since I'm so
familiar with them. But there are still areas I've
not explored but want to.

In terms of how I'm going to fish, that's gotten 
pretty straight forward. Wacky, drop shot, TX, 
split shot rigs with wacky and DS the mainstays.

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My gameplan is completey relative a set of variables but is pretty much second nature. Weather, time, season, whether I have the kayak or not, daughter or not, etc.. Essentially, I've been to my set of lakes so many times, I have an idea of how everything is going to happen before ever getting there. However, adjustments are sometimes needed.

For new lakes, it's all about the topo. Develop a plan by looking at the topo and considering the aformentioned variables. Then adjust once you're on the water.

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I always start with educated guesses regarding weather patterns, and time of year. So I rig up my rods with lures I "think" should work. I then usually start with hitting the spots I've caught fish before, but if no dice then I either change lures or techniques, then move to different spots. 

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Absolutely, based on season, weekly trends, and hourly conditions and circumstances. Results vary from clockwork to flying by the seat of my pants.

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I always have a plan every time I go fishing,and make changes when needed.

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Excellent question.  I guess I'm a creature of habit, because I have "confidence" spots and presentations.  No matter what I say before the trip if my approach isn't quickly getting results, I revert to my confidence mode.  I may still not have a great day, but I'm comfortable and I 'believe' i'm doing the best thing. 

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Do you have a routine game plan or do you just "Wing It"  ?

A routine game plan ?  No.  If there is any hope of continued success, the vast number of bass fishing variables completely preclude anything routine.  Now establishing a Pattern is different and often fleeting.

As for winging it ~ if your definition of winging it is to invent a way to deal with a situation you are not prepared for, to improvise; then my answer would be Yes, I definitely do that.  Hopefully not every trip but it's something that I'm proud of being able to do and has resulted in many of my most satisfying & memorable days on the water.

A-Jay

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 I'm glad you brought this topic up, ,. please bere with me for a few

No matter where im going to fish my rods are always ready, a gameplan is in order, but its subject to change. And it usually does. None the less Im like spongebob, "im ready, im ready, Im ready",..lol....I know the smaller lakes and ponds around here because i made a tuteledge many years ago to scan them completely as i came to the same crossroads your at now,.. and when i plan to fish one now? i usually have the areas picked out and it mostly works.

The larger bodies of water? I have yet to completely fish every area, but Im working on it. My favorite is Quabbin Res and i had fished all of the available areas there a long time ago (geez, almost 20 yrs ago, im gettin old), but up north theres a few i have yet to complete. I will complete them as well, as that tuteledge continues.

 I planned on doing this when i first bought my 7' 11" basshunter  boat back in the early 80's, idea was to fish all the bass lakes and ponds in New England, (and beyond once im done), I started on the cape, and worked my way north and west. Massachusetts is almost done (Just a few out west) as well as New Hampshire (a little more on Winnepesaukee), Vermont has a few that i fished in the 90's  (short of Champlain) Im skipping Rhode Island cuz its only got a few, and I have fished alot in CT already.

Maine is going to be a task, i've probably spent more time fishing Maine than any other, and I have to say its nothing short of AWESOME. If you ever get the chance to fish there. DO IT!  Theres great salmon, trout, and any species up there for that matter.,,, But the bass fishing?  simply incredable. As Ive creeped my way up the state from south to north fishing any and all in my path I have been amazed, in awe, at the beauty and diversity of the bass waters available there  Ive gotten as far as the cobbosecontee area so far with the "all" thing. And i must say it just keeps on getting better as I go further north. And from what Ive heard I got a long way to go

Gameplan? you bet!    Knowing where to fish?,...lol     Same spots?   ahhhh  not really

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I always have a plan before I go to any body of water.  The plan always begins with a weather report, and studying the weather patterns for the area days prior to the trip.  Is the water rising or falling is always important.  My most important factor is wind direction and wind strength for that fishing day.  Heavy winds prior to a trip will often turn the water chocolate, which always makes fishing more difficult.  Our Florida waters are traditionally shallow and it is important to stay off the trolling motor as much as possible while fishing.  Let the wind be your friend, and propel you silently why you fish.  This is key to any success on days when the bite is tough.  Off and on the T/M in a weed filled flat, is like a burglar wearing  a flashing red light at night.  On windy days I will drag a wind sock to slow the boat and still stay off the T/M.

1). I will always have a Hollow body, or swim frog weightless for top water.  2). Plastics a senko,  fluke, or trick worm.  3).  A flipping rig, jig or 1oz. bullet with a beaver. 4). A swimbait rig, Gambler E-Z swimmer.  That's the basics.

I will pick a body of water after studying the morning weather report.  I am very luck to be surrounded by about 7 close bodies of water that provide a number of different situations on any given day.  The key is always, keep the day simple, enjoyable, and share it with a friend! 

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First, I go to my favorite spots in a body of water and fish fast and aggressive.

If that doesn't work out, I slow down and revisit some of those spots with a more subtle presentation. 

If that still doesn't work, I explore new spots using all sorts of baits and play it by ear.

If that still doesn't work, I go home.

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the weather can make you or break you in several ways. thus, a good fisherman should be able to both plan and adjust for it....at the very least, be aware of daily conditions and current trends. same thing goes for the bite. knowing the body of water is key to any game plan. i am a planner. my cousin is a wing it guy. we are both hard headed and sometimes we clash but somehow we manage to put some in the boat. go figure.

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I make an attempt at a plan when I am loading up the night before...Think about my action plan for first light. I use a few options.

When the sun comes up, and the shallow water/bank bite slows, I switch it up, again, a few options. I will stick with what is working until it's not working anymore. Then I try something different until something works, then I stick with it until....

I try not to get caught up in "what is supposed to work", I go with what is working...unconventional as it sometimes is.

My fishing days are not dark to dark anymore, so I don't have nor want the time to fish a certain crankbait until it starts to work for 1/2 a day.

If a spinnerbait is getting the hookups, then it's spinnerbait time. If not, I give it about 1/2 hour to maybe 45 minutes, if nothing, I put it up.

If the senko is working...same thing.

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Generally hit the spots where I catch/ caught fish first, but eventually try other spots, gets kinda boring sitting in the same few spots all day, especially for 2 years, or 1.5.

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