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riverbasser

Hard to be a weekend angler

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There's always been and always will be a lot of post of novice or beginner bass fisherman struggling. I know because I was and still am one. This is something I was thinking about this past weekend and thought I'd share. 

The thing that makes a novice into a seasoned angler is mainly time spent on the water. For most guys who work and have families it is hard to get more than one day on the weekends and that is normally not enough time to do what is needed to consistently catch fish. Here's a few thing I've learned from this great site that must be understood in order to succeed.

10% of the body of water holds 90% of the fish. The first step is finding the fish, this seems simple but can often be the most challenging but once you learn to eliminate water your chances go way up.

Once you have found the fish you must now develop a pattern. The pattern may consist of depth the fish are holding at, the type of cover they are holding too whether its grass, rock, wood or so on. Maybe there is a certain bottom composition they are relating too. Once you figure this out you can pinpoint spots within the spots. 

The next factor is presence of bait. Whereever there is food there will be bass. You need to know the primary forage for your local bodies of water. This will help you determine your lure choice and a retrieve. It also may tell you in which direction to present the lure. Whether its uphill, downhill, parallel, with or against the wind. If you know the forage you can pick your bait to match. If there feeding on shad then fish shad imitating lures and its even better if you can match the correct size. I do want to state that other lures can still work like craws and worms and this will have to be experimented with.

Once you understand and think you've found all these factors you can cover the lake or river looking for similar areas and use the same pattern. Of course nothing is set in stone and things change from area to area and also through the day but this is a great start and will help you try to stay on top of the fish. 

This is a lot to accomplish in one days fishing. Sometimes it can be done quickly and others it will take all day and by this time its too late to really capitalize on. This is why it is hard to be a weekend angler but if you learn to do this every time out on the water and keep a good fishing log it will get easier. If you can accomplish all this in one day especially on a bigger reservoir or lake you have really done something and can be truly efficient and deadly when it comes to bass fishing. Always pay attention to what the lake and fish are telling you and don't get easily discouraged. Bass fishing is a challenge which is why we all love it so much and always have fun. 

Thanks to this site for all the knowledge it provided and hope this helps some

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Roll in the potential mix of wild cards and variables -conditions and circumstances- and across water bodies, and latitudes, and it's a wonder we figure anything out.

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I take great comfort in knowing that the pros often struggle....not fair, maybe, but that's me. 

I love the monthly Bassmaster feature, Day on the Lake, when the pros have challenging days.  I learn a LOT about how to approach waters, but I also learn, all too often, that it is also hard to be an 'every day angler'. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Choporoz said:

 I love the monthly Bassmaster feature, Day on the Lake, when the pros have challenging days.  I learn a LOT about how to approach waters, but I also learn, all too often, that it is also hard to be an 'every day angler'. 

 

 

these are my favorite part of the magazine. its great to see how they read a lake even if its small it still gives you an idea of there thought process going in

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More time on the water = better chance of catching fish = more enjoyable

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It's hard being a weekend angler,that's for sure,but it's a whole lot easier than being a weekend angler that predominantly fishes from the shore.We all have to put in our time on the water and make sure we learn from every single fishing trip we have.

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I dont get to fish much anymore , so that one day every week or two can be challenging on a large reservoir . Its the main reason I fish smaller reservoirs a lot . Its usually much faster to locate fish . 

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9 hours ago, riverbasser said:

Of course nothing is set in stone and things change from area to area and also through the day but this is a great start and will help you try to stay on top of the fish.

Why not learn one area of the large reservoir better than the rest?

I have been thinking that fish won't migrate across the whole lake if it's large (mine is 6500 acres).. But each area with relatively deep water would have their own patterns, and that the fish would head for the 'local' deep water during cold fronts/wintering/etc.

If there is 13 ft of water over here, with structure, shallows and forage.. But 3/4 of a mile away there is 16 ft (deepest hole in the lake) also with structure and forage.. I didn't think they would travel that far.. I figured each area would have it's own little ecosystem so to speak.. 

Is this incorrect logic?

This comes from someone in a kayak as well. so covering a lot of different areas across the lake is un-doable.

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I will try to answer your question the best I can so bear with me. @bchase44

Bass will travel as far as necessary in order to follow there food and also the conditions they prefer or need to survive in. Im also assuming that when you say structure you are actually referring to cover like grass, rock or wood. While these are good they mean nothing unless the structure around it attracts bass. I cant say for sure how far the bass travel in your lake but as I said they will travel as far as necessary. The main thing to key in on is how far does the bait travel during any given day. This is something you can only learn from  your own observations. My lake is 45,000 acres and there are many different areas or sections that different groups of bass travel throughout the year but this is because they have everything they need in say 800 acres so there is no need for them to travel the entire lake.

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1 hour ago, bchase44 said:

Why not learn one area of the large reservoir better than the rest?

I have been thinking that fish won't migrate across the whole lake if it's large (mine is 6500 acres).. But each area with relatively deep water would have their own patterns, and that the fish would head for the 'local' deep water during cold fronts/wintering/etc.

If there is 13 ft of water over here, with structure, shallows and forage.. But 3/4 of a mile away there is 16 ft (deepest hole in the lake) also with structure and forage.. I didn't think they would travel that far.. I figured each area would have it's own little ecosystem so to speak.. 

Is this incorrect logic?

This comes from someone in a kayak as well. so covering a lot of different areas across the lake is un-doable.

 I regularly kayak fish a lake that I paddle 3 miles on before I make the first cast, and usually end up paddling over 10 miles each trip. You just have to want it!

I know bass will travel a very long distance if they decide they need to, but I highly doubt 3' of depth change in 3/4 of a mile would make any difference to the fish.

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Anyone who works 5 to 6 days a week making a living outside of fishing industry can only fish 2 to 3 day a month or less than 30 days a year and still have a marriage and family. 

Recreational or weekend anglers can and do become excellent bass anglers by catching bass on a consistant basis because they have learned how to catch bass where they fish.

This isn't rocket science.

Tom

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5 minutes ago, WRB said:

Anyone who works 5 to 6 days a week making a living outside of fishing industry can only fish 2 to 3 day a month or less than 30 days a year and still have a marriage and family. 

Recreational or weekend anglers can and do become excellent bass anglers by catching bass on a consistant basis because they have learned how to catch bass where they fish.

This isn't rocket science.

Tom

Tom and I may have a lot of differences when it comes to our approach but those are wise words right there. 

BTW, I've been a weekend angler for 4+ decades, most of the time I've fished from the bank and probably half of my 10+ pounders were caught on a weekend and from the shore.

As Tom says: it ain't rocket science fellas ! ;)

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4 minutes ago, Raul said:

Tom and I may have a lot of differences when it comes to our approach but those are wise words right there. 

BTW, I've been a weekend angler for 4+ decades, most of the time I've fished from the bank and probably half of my 10+ pounders were caught on a weekend and from the shore.

As Tom says: it ain't rocket science fellas ! ;)

You two don't need to bring common sense into this. You will really mess up the heads of those that think they need every rod in 1" increments, or that bass won't eat a lure without a flouorocarbon leader no matter how many A-rigs get swallowed. :lol:

Knowing what bass like, their habits in general (studying your prey) will be a great assistance for any angler. Study your local bodies of water. (maps of depths trees rock streams rivers feeding it etc) A lot of this can be done off the water. Just like practicing with your equipment. You can get deadly accurate flipping etc in your backyard.

Doesn't mean you will be as good as a guy that does the same studying and fishes regularly but you can find and catch fish. 

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You confused me. If 10% of water holds 90% of the fish, but also if there is food there are bass there. We'll what if 63% of the water holds food? Wouldn't 56% of the bass be all over?

IMHO, if there is structure...plantlife...rip rap...docks and marinas, not to mention fish like flats as well....the fish will be there...just because they don't bite doesn't mean they aren't there...that's like someone knocking at my door but I don't want to get off the couch, miss my game, and answer the door...

Tom is on to something...always has great post to add on to a subject...or you a pro or just old and fished a lake or ten?

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3 hours ago, riverbasser said:

Bass will travel as far as necessary in order to follow there food and also the conditions they prefer or need to survive in. Im also assuming that when you say structure you are actually referring to cover like grass, rock or wood. While these are good they mean nothing unless the structure around it attracts bass. I cant say for sure how far the bass travel in your lake but as I said they will travel as far as necessary. The main thing to key in on is how far does the bait travel during any given day. This is something you can only learn from  your own observations. My lake is 45,000 acres and there are many different areas or sections that different groups of bass travel throughout the year but this is because they have everything they need in say 800 acres so there is no need for them to travel the entire lake.

By structure I mean a historical lake that was submerged when the reservoir was built. The reservoir is shallow (average 4-5ft) but there are about half a dozen old ponds, lakes, creeks that get to 10-15 ft.  There is also cover, stumps, standing timber mostly which seem to be around the submerged lake (when I'm over the submerged lake I only see a few stumps occasionally)

Forage is threadfin shad, but I've never seen them where I fish yet.  There is a shoreline about 50 yards away from the submerged lake, closest shoreline to the deeper water.  Which is where I find bass about an hour before dark.  

I have been assuming in the heat of the day that they are hanging out in the submerged lake but I'm starting to question that now, I've never had a nibble or seen anything.

You guys have made me realize I'm not on a "large reservoir" .. 6500 acres is big to me, but I don't get out much.. I will be heading to Guntersville, AL in a few weeks though!

 

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We have at our disposal one of the greatest tool ever to help increase our knowledge of a body without spending countless hour on the water!

Cell phones allow me to get real time reports from Toledo Bend instantly!

I just finished texting 6 friends who live on the lake & now have clear game plan for the south end, mid-lake, & north end of a 190,000 acre lake.

You gotta have a "network" of friends willing to help each other!

Look at our thread on Toledo Bend, it has 225 pgs, 5,621 replies, & 810,284 veiws. 

The angler who can only be on the water a couple times a month now has an advantage.

We don't give out GPS coordinates but we give each other structure, cover, depth, techniques, everything need to decrease your search time.

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That's great if you live near a giant lake but most likely not a common situation for most weekenders and their favorite water bodies.

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32 minutes ago, Torn Thumb said:

That's great if you live near a giant lake but most likely not a common situation for most weekenders and their favorite water bodies.

Why ya got no friends?

It works anywhere!

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9 hours ago, WRB said:

Anyone who works 5 to 6 days a week making a living outside of fishing industry can only fish 2 to 3 day a month or less than 30 days a year and still have a marriage and family.

Recreational or weekend anglers can and do become excellent bass anglers by catching bass on a consistant basis because they have learned how to catch bass where they fish.

This isn't rocket science.

Tom

the purpose of my thread was to share just that, what ive learned in the area that I fish, and of course it isn't rocket science but it isn't as simple as you seem to make it either otherwise this forum wouldn't be full of articles and post of guys struggling. When I first got serious about bass fishing and fishing on a big reservoir I was overwhelmed and struggled. As you said only fishing 30 or 40 days out of the year, looking back it took me 2 years before I really knew anything other than what I thought I knew.

another saying to go along with the first one is that 10% of fisherman catch 90% of the fish. These are just sayings and I have no proof  of anything but I do believe it.

 

8 hours ago, MikeWright said:

You confused me. If 10% of water holds 90% of the fish, but also if there is food there are bass there. We'll what if 63% of the water holds food? Wouldn't 56% of the bass be all over?

IMHO, if there is structure...plantlife...rip rap...docks and marinas, not to mention fish like flats as well....the fish will be there...just because they don't bite doesn't mean they aren't there...that's like someone knocking at my door but I don't want to get off the couch, miss my game, and answer the door...

 

Numbers not meant to be taken literally but still I believe to be more accurate than not.

6 hours ago, bchase44 said:

By structure I mean a historical lake that was submerged when the reservoir was built. The reservoir is shallow (average 4-5ft) but there are about half a dozen old ponds, lakes, creeks that get to 10-15 ft.  There is also cover, stumps, standing timber mostly which seem to be around the submerged lake (when I'm over the submerged lake I only see a few stumps occasionally)

Forage is threadfin shad, but I've never seen them where I fish yet.  There is a shoreline about 50 yards away from the submerged lake, closest shoreline to the deeper water.  Which is where I find bass about an hour before dark.

I have been assuming in the heat of the day that they are hanging out in the submerged lake but I'm starting to question that now, I've never had a nibble or seen anything.

You guys have made me realize I'm not on a "large reservoir" .. 6500 acres is big to me, but I don't get out much.. I will be heading to Guntersville, AL in a few weeks though!

 

hard to give a good answer without personally knowing your body of water but wherever you have found fish ask yourself "Why are they there?" and "How did they get there?" this takes time but you will eventually be able to answer those questions and when you can no matter what time of year you should be able to locate the fish while everyone else hasn't a clue.

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21 hours ago, Choporoz said:

 

I love the monthly Bassmaster feature, Day on the Lake, when the pros have challenging days.  I learn a LOT about how to approach waters, but I also learn, all too often, that it is also hard to be an 'every day angler'. 

 

 

I always assumed those lakes were small private waters . I want to them do   large waters that are new to them . I'd love too see a big name pro who has never fished Mark Twain, come here   in September and see how well he does in one day . I'll wager it will not be a very exciting article .LOL

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Probably the saving grace is... that bass can be very aggressive fish and willing to chase stuff. Just... not all the time. And... not always what we'd like them to. :)

 

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We all go through a learning process and a few share what they have learned, most bass anglers don't. What I met by it's not rocket science is information is availble and easy to attain today.

I spent about 15 years bass fishing from 1955 to 1970, teen years to young adult and fished every opportunity that I could. When you consider those were my formal educational years going to school, starting a engineering aerospace career, marriage and family, the Vietnam war, racing fuel cars and boats, water skiing, motorcycles there were distractions from fishing.During that time period I logged everything and made lots of observations regarding bass behavior, set a few lake records and was asked to do a seminar on how to catch bass at a Bass Pro shop in Burbank in 1974.

This seminar was my motivation to make a chart I called The Cosmic Clock and Bass Behavior.

I tried to put everything learned into 1 chart with a 2 page explanation on how seasonal periods are governed by water temperatures, bait and bass migration determining bass location and activity levels. I did the seminar and realized my audience was overwhelmed with too much information. The shop owner loved the presentation, so I did several more focusing on more simple lure presentations which went over good.

My point is this; too much information often creates confusion. My old 1974 presentation art work has been redone and is availble on the Internet and still confuses anglers to this day, but it's has stood the test of time, the info is accurate and some of the terms have become part of everyday bass fishing. I suggest you take some time and look it over, read the instructional pages, it's my contribution to learning to bass fish.

Tom

 

 

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@WRB

 I have seen your cosmic clock and it was confusing to me. But I did not see any instruction pages to go along with it, maybe that would of helped. Do have a link to it? I get what you mean basically that its easier for guys to learn today than it was when you started and of course I agree with that even though I did not grow up back then.

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Do a internet search Cosmic Clock and Bass Bahavior and look at Casters Chronicle. The chart and instructions are shown together.

Tom

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The one thing that fishing weekends has done for me is taught me to adapt.  When I hit the water I am ready for anything

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