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Felix77

Finding fish - deep to shallow or shallow to deep

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Just curious.    What is your methodology for going out and finding fish.  Imagine you are on a new lake ...

Do you start shallow and work out deeper?  The other way around?

Does that vary to you by season or based on weather or otherwise?

Do you don't even bother and just fish patterns and depth is just a smaller variable in your equation?

 

Thanks

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Ok ~ I'll play.

 For me, Deep & Shallow are terms that are relative to each particular body of water, the season, the water temp & clarity.

In the early days of my bass fishing I never fished "deep" - ever.  Still caught some but mostly spring & fall,  very early & late in the day or at night when bass are typically shallow.

As my time on the water & experience increased so did my confidence to start fishing off the bank.   Before "electronics" (I know right), Deep weedlines & Off shore humps that were more or less visible from the surface accounted for the majority of my not on the bank bassing. 

Several years and quite a bit of time on the water later, except for early & late in the season, I rarely fish visible shallow shoreline cover choosing instead to fish a little deeper on lake structure.    Finding cover on the right structure is like striking gold.

A-Jay

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Interestingly it also sounds like a description of shore fishing vs. from a boat

 

 

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When evaluating a map I look at the deepest water first.

Bass must have a visible path of breaks and break lines on structure from deep water all the way to the shallows; which is where the bulk of food is available to bass. 

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This time of year, I tend to fish deeper water the most and try to find areas with cover on structure. That said, fish can also be caught shallow this time year, especially if deep water is nearby. This is especially true if it is cloudy, or there has been a heavy rain and the lake level rises, it is very windy,or if there is vegetation present. Even still though, I tend to prefer to look offshore, looking for schools of bass.

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Where I fish deep water is only a casting distance away the the shore line as the banks are steep even in bays or coves, not a lot of shallow water less than 8' deep is available. Outside or off shore structure is either a long point or underwater island/ hump of which there are only a few are fishable depths depending on the seasonal period. Shallow to deep or deep to shallow becomes how you position yourself or boat.

Long points you can position a boat in deep water and cast towards shore working shallow to deep, near shore cast away working deep to shallow or cast over the sides of the point working up one side and down the other. Same holds true for underwater island/ humps.

How deep is always a question to solve year around....very important in structure fishing.

LMB, SMB and Spotted bass tend to prefer different depths in the same lake, so it also matters what type of bass you are trying to catch.

Tom

 

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Depends on the the time of yr for me. But in the middle of summer like now my majority of fishing is deep but I usually start and end the day shallower. There is nothing more satisfying than finding fish on deep structure and catching them. It's like spot and stalking deer.

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7 hours ago, Catt said:

When evaluating a map I look at the deepest water first.

Bass must have a visible path of breaks and break lines on structure from deep water all the way to the shallows; which is where the bulk of food is available to bass. 

Is there a website you get your maps from? 

I'd like to have one of the lake I fish to help me understand it better,  plan on where to try, ect. ..

 

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11 minutes ago, FordsnFishin said:

Is there a website you get your maps from? 

I'd like to have one of the lake I fish to help me understand it better,  plan on where to try, ect. ..

 

There are may sites, Navionics, Hummingbird, Lowrance, & other.

I have detailed paper maps ;)

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On a new lake, as Catt said, you evaluate or interpret the situation (map) from the deepest water, but when you/I begin fishing, I always start in the shallows. Why? Because Buck said ;) Once you learn the structures, breaks and breaklines (paths) in a lake the fish use regularly, then you can start in deep water if that's what your experience tells you to do.

-T9

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1 minute ago, Rick Howard said:

Where do we find detailed maps on paper?

In most cases you have to make then yourself ;) However, you can sometimes find some hidden gems in the USGS and Army Corps archives.

-T9

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In summer and winter I fish the same way. I look for a shallow flat with a steep drop off into deep water first.  If that doesn't work I head for deep structure.

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18 minutes ago, Rick Howard said:

Where do we find detailed maps on paper?

My are Army Corp of Engineering maps made before Toledo Bend was flooded.

It show things no other maps do! ;)

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I have a corp map of Mark Twain lake  . Its like 40 pages and shows everything , even out buildings and fences . I had to color it in with a high lighter . Heres an example .

 

IMG_4234.jpg

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In the picture above  , those draws that lead from the flat to the channel are lined with standing timber . In the summer would you fish them shallow to deep or deep to shallow . I fish them shallow to deep .

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I start my map study at the creek/river channels & search shallow.

Once I've selected structure to explore I always (well almost always) fish up hill. Fishing up hill keeps my lures in contact with the bottom all the way to the boat.

Yes I start on the bottom with Texas Rigs, Jigs, & Carolina Rigs the move to mid-depth with cranks, spinnerbaits, swim jig, swim baits, & chatter baits.

There is a shallow top water bite early & late but there is a deep water bite early & later as well.

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5 hours ago, FordsnFishin said:

Is there a website you get your maps from? 

I'd like to have one of the lake I fish to help me understand it better,  plan on where to try, ect. ..

 

In addition to the army corps of engineering maps, some game and park comissions provide them or links to them on their website. You might check there as well. 

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If I start in on a new lake, I almost always start shallow, because it's my strength. In my neck of the woods though, there's always a population of bass shallow. We have a lot of weedy natural lakes and the grass is by far the most abundant cover. Fishing shallow first will usually give you an idea of the population of bass in a lake as well.

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Let me clarify something!

When I say that I start on "deepwater" stutucture. 

That statement is both true & fasle!

Probably a more accurate discretion is needed; when available I start on offshore structure, I also start in 15' of water plus or minus 3'.

This 12-18' of water is the shallowest around, therefore I actually starting in shallow water.

Why 15' +/- 3'?

Simple!

This is the depth most submergent grass stops growing...outside grassline!

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23 hours ago, Felix77 said:

Just curious.    What is your methodology for going out and finding fish.  Imagine you are on a new lake ...

Do you start shallow and work out deeper?  The other way around?

Does that vary to you by season or based on weather or otherwise?

Do you don't even bother and just fish patterns and depth is just a smaller variable in your equation?

Thanks

The fastest way I know of to "take their temperature" so to speak, is to just run points ONLY for a while:

- Take 3 rods, a topwater (Buzzer or Hard Bait), a mid-range (crank or spinner) and a bottom bait (Jig or T-Rig).

- Just go from point to point, primary, secondary, main lake, from front to back in the creek arms, big ones/small ones, etc. Skip all of the straight banks in between. 

- You can cover a lot of water very quickly with this method because you are eliminating over 90% of the lake.

- You can alternate from fishing shallow to deep (Boat over deep water) and from deep to shallow (Boat next to the bank) every other point

- You want to make about 5 quick casts with each presentation on each point until you have started getting a few bites.  You're not trying to saturate these areas at this stage, you are just trying to take their temp right now...Just make a few good casts and move on, you want to hit dozens of these in a day!!  Obviously, have some fun when you hit the schools, but don't camp out and try to force-feed fish if they don't hit after the first few casts-you are on a new lake looking for active fish, which will lead you to the places you'll want to camp out later. 

- You can also alternate the angles you make your casts from point to point - fire across from a perpendicular angle one time, then next time crawl it up by fan casting from the bank out to the deeper sections, then reverse that angle and fan-cast from the drop-off back towards the bank. 

- Once you start getting bites, you start looking for what the productive points have in common. 

- Are the main lake? Are they long tapering ones or do they break quickly? Do they touch creek channels? Are they back deep  in the creek arms (Fall or Spring?)

- The POINT is, this is a quick way to break down a lake right off the bat, you will obviously expand on the pattern as you begin to get a grip on what sections of the lake and water depths they are relating too. 

If you've got wind or current hitting those points, you may never even need to expand on it, or put down the Buzzer and Crankbait rod either :) 

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The only reason I don't start shallow on the shoreline or points is everyone else is there.

Probably 90℅ of anglers reading this are intimidated by offshore structure!

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16 hours ago, Rick Howard said:

Where do we find detailed maps on paper?

Not sure about your area, but the Wisconsin DNR contour maps of most lakes on their website.

Assuming you fish around where you've indicated your location is, I'd start here:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9920.html

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43 minutes ago, Catt said:

The only reason I don't start shallow on the shoreline or points is everyone else is there.

Probably 90℅ of anglers reading this are intimidated by offshore structure!

I agree on the shoreline part, but I honestly don't see a lot of people just going point-to-point. which to me is the more efficient way to go about your bank beating and near-shore structure fishing. 

As far as the offshore thing goes, it's gotten really crowded on the ledge lakes since GPS/Mapping combos have become more or less ubiquitous.  It cracks me up a little, whenever I'm running down the ledges at Pickwick or Kentucky Lake, I can see the ledges coming up on my map and you'll see boats up ahead on all of the obvious ones-the boats look like they're just out in the middle of the lake unless you have Navionics, which all of them do now :) 

The only unmolested ledge fish are the ones on sections where Navionics didn't map out the ledges in 1' contours. A good example is KY Lake for a long ways below Pickwick Dam.  There are the same wonderful ledges on that part of the lake that the whole river has, but it's a ghost town when you fish them because it's not laid out for people automatically on their GPS.  It sort of breaks my heart - NOT!!! :) 

The poor bank fish are all but forgotten these days on some lakes!!

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