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IgotWood

Confidence on unfamiliar waters

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I'm still wet behind the ears when it comes to freshwater bass fishing. I thought this might make a good discussion, and I hope to learn something from it as well. I primarily fish only two lakes, both of which are minutes from my house. I would say that I have been quite successful for my first season, but sometimes I feel bored and complacent, and I get the urge to fish new water. However, often times I am a bit discouraged or intimidated to do so, due to my lack of experience, technique, and gear.

What would you say makes a rounded fishermen, who would be confident fishing on any bass water, any time of the year? I'm not talking about a guy who is a master of every single technique in the book. Rather, a guy who has a limited amount of gear, and has just a few technique he/she is good at. For example, you can only bring 3-4 rods with you, and a couple of Plano boxes, and you have NO clue where you might be going,could be summer or winter, maybe Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, California, etc.....what would you bring with you? and what techniques would you focus your tackle on?

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I've been doing this long enough that I wouldn't consider bringing along a "one size fits all" assortment of tackle.   Seasonal and local conditions make a big difference as to what goes into the boat and what doesn't.  So, basically, your question is unanswerable in its current form.   I would point out that there is quite a bit of overlap in what techniques work where.

So - your place to start is to go with what you know.  For me that would be jigs & soft plastics.

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I fish with four rods a lot out of a small boat . I carry all my gear in a cabelas tote that holds six boxes . I stuff a couple of pockets with soft plastics . One box is dedicated to hooks weights and other terminal taclke . Another box is dedicated to Square bill and lipless crankbaits . Another box holds med and deep diving crankbaits . One for top waters and another for buzzbaits and spinnerbaits . The final box hold misc lures that dont fit the other categories . If I had to limit it to two boxes , I'd just take  my fave from each box , but still carry lots of soft plastics .

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Nearly every bass angler starts off with 1 rod and reel plus a few lures. Today multiple rods and reel combination seem to be the norm, in reality you can only fish 1 at a time. 

When you go fish lakes for the first time take the rod and reel combo you catch the most fish with. Today you can research fish reports for nearly any lake in the country and determine what the locals are using to catch bass. You more than likely have something that will work, if not buy it locally when you get there. 

I traveled all over the country on business trips and only used 1 bait casting outfit and a small tackle bag, caught lots of bass everywhere using Texas rigged worms and jigs.

My tackle bag had 12 lb Big Game mono, needle nose pliers, sun screen, small flat file, 3/0 worm hooks, 3/16 oz planted bullet weights, 6" straight tail and 7 1/2" ribbon tail worms, 7/16 oz jig and #11 pork frog, all in purple and brown colors. If I needed anything else I would buy it locally.

Tom

PS, today you couldn't take that bag on a airplane!

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#1: Understand what structure is, how to truly identify it, interpret it, and then fish it effectively.

#2: Understand what the predominate prey species in your lake is and how that species relates to structure with each passing season...morning, noon, and night.

With those two I can confidentially fish anybody of water.

One should always fish to their strengths!

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  Although the consemite pro would bring over a dozen rods and half a tackle shop. You really dont "need" it all. Four rods and a smaller tackle supply is what most co-anglers take for a tournament. And they make it work. Id image you could get away with four rods with some changing anticipated. 

 Even though the basic original 6 bass lure categories are: Jigs, worms, spinners, crankbaits, topwaters and spoons. The idea that you "need" dozens of each, to cover all situations is a farse. You can set up a smaller tackle supply to cover the bases. Instead of twenty different zara spooks, take two.,, instead of bringing thirty spinnerbaits bring 6, and so on This I hope answers your tackle portion of your question. 

 As for being well rounded?,..time on the water, and utilizing techniques that cover the different depths, structures, cover and water types (clear, stained, muddy). And truly understanding them.

Considering the countries different waters, there would be an awful lot of different prey. Therefore you will most likely have to consider the ones you know, and then brush up on ones you dont know. Whether it be online, or thru "local" input,... Id imagine this would do it.

 I kind of did the same thing for my 8' pontoon style puddle jumper Basshunter boat. I got tired of constantly having to go thru my Trackers tackle, to go for a day on it, that I decided to set up its own tackle bag, and designated 4 rods. It works great and saves me alot of grief. Covers the bases too.

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Before you can go anywhere and consistantly catch bass you should take the time to learn about where the bass should be located during each seasonal period, otherwise you will always be guessing where to start fishing.

Catts recommendation is spot on and requires a lot of time on the water to master.

I wrote a article years ago called The Cosmic Clock and Bass Behavior that should help with basic preferred bass location based on seasonal periods and activity levels.

It's a life long learning experience and why bass fishing is a lot fun and rewarding.

Good luck.

Tom

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On 3 de septiembre de 2016 at 10:49 AM, IgotWood said:

I'm still wet behind the ears when it comes to freshwater bass fishing. I thought this might make a good discussion, and I hope to learn something from it as well. I primarily fish only two lakes, both of which are minutes from my house. I would say that I have been quite successful for my first season, but sometimes I feel bored and complacent, and I get the urge to fish new water. However, often times I am a bit discouraged or intimidated to do so, due to my lack of experience, technique, and gear.

What would you say makes a rounded fishermen, who would be confident fishing on any bass water, any time of the year? I'm not talking about a guy who is a master of every single technique in the book. Rather, a guy who has a limited amount of gear, and has just a few technique he/she is good at. For example, you can only bring 3-4 rods with you, and a couple of Plano boxes, and you have NO clue where you might be going,could be summer or winter, maybe Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, California, etc.....what would you bring with you? and what techniques would you focus your tackle on?

I only need one rod and a handful of lures, I have been blessed for living in a place that has pretty much almost every fishing location you can think of so other than ice fishing I can fish and catch fish consistently everywhere I have gone in the past 40+ years even though I have never been there. 

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I understand what you all are saying, and I thank you for the replies. Maybe I could have worded the question a little bit better.

If you were going to fish somewhere new, with little to no information, what is a couple of baits or techniques that you would definitely have at the ready? I know most guys will go to the jig or soft-plastics. But is there another go-to bait or technique that works just about anytime, anywhere for you?

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Today I would add a chatter or blade jig in white-chartreuse because it can be fished effectively using the same tackle and goes through and or over most cover without snagging, good universal lure.

You want lures that can work the entire water column top to bottom effectively. Soft plastic worms can be rigged lots of ways. Both jigs and worms can be fished fast or slow and used together, gives you nearly unlimited options to catch bass anywhere.

Tom

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3 hours ago, IgotWood said:

I understand what you all are saying, and I thank you for the replies. Maybe I could have worded the question a little bit better.

If you were going to fish somewhere new, with little to no information, what is a couple of baits or techniques that you would definitely have at the ready? I know most guys will go to the jig or soft-plastics. But is there another go-to bait or technique that works just about anytime, anywhere for you?

Everywhere I go I consistently catch fish with THE SAME BAITS I ALWAYS FISH:

1 Soft plastic worm

2 Lipless crankbait

3 Spinnerbait

4 Lipped deep diver

5 Jig & trailer

The problem of fishing and catching fish in unfamiliar waters has nothing to do with "the bait" , it´s what has always been ----> being able to differentiate from productive water from unproductive water. Look for locations in unfamiliar waters similar to those that produce fish on a regular basis in your familiar waters.

 

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One important piece of information, are you fishing from the bank or from a boat?

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I think, as in hunting, knowing your prey. It's food preferences, mating rituals, seasonal movements, along with its physical strengths and weaknesses. Is its eyesight more important than its hearing or smelling.  You get the pic.  Learning all you can about the fish is the cornerstone to confidence as that information is applicable to whatever water you may be on.

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i fish with 2 rods out of a yak. Have little space, and need to optimize what i bring. What I would say is start fishing fast IMO its more fun, and you can catch more fish. Then go to the tried and true worms/ senkos. I generally bring 2 colors with me pumpkins and blacks/ blues. I'm really partial to buzz baits, chatter baits, and jigs. Cranks are good, but you could fill a tackle box with different colors and depths... If i have really limited room I'll use a rattle trap, you can fish that at most depths depending on retrieval speed

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FWIW ... When I am looking to quickly uncover the "secrets" of an unfamiliar body of water I throw around a finesse swimbait (Havoc Beat Shad) on a VMC Mushroom or Darter head.   Weight will vary but I try to cover as much water as I can.   My #2 setup is a texas rigged senko.  Weightless or weighted will depend on the conditions.  

With both on my YAK I can cover a ton of water and get in and around cover.   Because those two lures have been a staple for me in my mind if they aren't biting it then they are not there.  Now I know that may not be true BUT it keeps me moving until I get something figured out.

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