Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
roadwarrior

The Challenge is Finding the Fish

Recommended Posts

Rick Clunn wrote about the challenge facing tournament pros when fishing unfamiliar water. The article was really about changes in BASS rules governing pre-fishing and the impact it might have. Clunn's point was that finding bass is the challenge and forcing the pros to find their own spots to fish is what really separates the men from the boys.

I was fishing Bull Shoals last weekend with a guide of thirty years. We motored about ten miles to a very specific primary point. From my perspective, we passed about twenty other points that appeared to be identical to the one we fished. After pounding this point for about forty-five minutes, we pulled out and traveled twelve miles to another point where we ended up smoking them.

So, the question is: Why point X instead of A-W? They all look identical. My guide, Tim "Hot Dawg" Curtis claims that 90% of the lake (all lakes) is unproductive. Through trial and error over a period of decades, Tim and a hand full of guides have identified productive areas. They don't all work all the time, but some seem to work some of the time.

As a recreational fisherman, I want to spend all my time where it's most likely I can catch fish. Bass are fairly easy to catch if you can find them and that's where the guide comes in, especially on big water that you only fish a couple of times a year. Good luck to all of you tournament fishermen, I admire your efforts, but I don't want to emulate you. I want to catch big fish and lots of 'em.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roadwarrior, like to know where you saw the article, I would love to read it.

Growing up there was friend of my dad's who fished almost seven days a week...he was good at it too.  He took me out the first time and was taking me to a lake where even as a kid I knew (or heard all the time) wasn't very good for bass.  I asked the guy, he looked me straight in the eye and told me, "You can catch fish there. You can catch fish ANYwhere - you just have to know where to find them."  He ended up being right.

That is the one thing that interests me about the professionals that win everywhere, all the time.  They have a skill/instinct to be able to find fish on about any body of water in a short period of time.

Whenever I go on a trip to a body of water for the first time, I always get guide for the first day.  I don't mind going out and finding fish when it is close, if fact that is part of the sport I enjoy, the challenge of finding fish when I see others coming in saying they are 'not biting today'.  But if there is money being spent and travel time away, I am definitely going to invest in somebody that knows for a fact why to pass points A-X to get to point W.

By the way, what did you mean in your tournament fishing/want to catch fish comment?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my first experience with a guide on Table Rock about 6 years ago.  My family couldn't get there until late June and when we arrived, the guy at the bait store told me rather matter of factly that the bass were suspended at 30 feet.  My initial reaction was how in the **** am I going to find any fish out in 30' of water.  The guide picked us up and we headed out to deep water and then he stopped right in the middle of the lake.  We were about 4 or 5 miles from the nearest shore.  The next thing I knew, he started rigging our tackle (he supplied) and was putting the sinker below the bait (drop shot, but I didn't know it at the time).  I thought this guy is nuts.  The depth finder read 70' and he began letting the line out until he reached 30' and then marked the line. He was keying on schools of bait fish that he could see on his depth finder.  Well, we caught a boat load of spots and large mouth that day and I was convinced that I would never fish a large body of water again on a casual basis without a guide.  By the way his name is Pete Wenners and his website if hookedonbass.com, if you ever want to look him up.  I have booked him on two other occasions and we have always caught fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what I do: I look for "my" lake when I fish an unfamiliar lake, bass behave pretty much the same way everywhere ( ponds fed by wells are an exception ) so since I know where the fish are in my lake at any given day I 'm pretty shure I 'm going to find them in similar locations in an unfamilar lake, the only lakes that give me a little hard time are natural shallow lakes because there 's very little or no structure, but in them I use the weeds as a reference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R/W I don't tournament fish either. I don't get up early enough. I also like to catch a lot of fish & big fish. I really enjoy finding a new spot that is productive, It gives you a rush to know you did it and you are good as the big boys. With a good GPS unit, Depthfinder & a map that shows contors you can do it, & it's great fun. I can't tell how many times I have said to myself "well I'll be" or "so that's how it works" or just plain WOW. I have also discovered that you can find bass in shallow water (15' or less) all year long where I fish. I fish on Santee Cooper in South Carolina. I would bet that would be the case anywhere that had the same climate as we do. When I find a spot that has the ingredients to be productive & I don't catch any fish I still mark it & go back to it at different times & under conditions for a good while before giving up on it.

I also like trying different tackle & equipment in different conditions. You will be suprised on what you learn. When I read where you switched from Pline to Yo-Zuri I decided to try it. I have been using 12# smoke & like it so far.

I also would use a guide if I were going somewhere on vacation and time was a factor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ball_coach_1,

What I meant is that fishing a tournament on unfamiliar water requires a lot of time spent searching for bass. It also requires catching smaller bass or whatever you can to make your bag limit. Then you can target kickers.

I think it was Larry Nixon that tried fishing for big bass on tour and got his butt kicked. From what I read, you just can't fish for big bass and expect to win tournaments.

I generally fish the same water (Tennessee River or ponds), but when I travel I always hire a guide. I want a guide that puts me on fish, preferably big fish. Most of a lake and particularly big water, is unproductive. That's why finding bass is such a challenge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

scbassin, I always enjoy catching bass on lures or gear I had not been successful with in they past. However, you just gave me something else to target.  FINDING and CATCHING bass in NEW locations.  It should be a challange and a learning experience

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well guys, I know its fun to find your own spots and obviously it can be done since lots of guys do. The problem I am addressing is that everything looks the same and it all looks good.

I'm going to focus on Bull Shoals just because I know the lake a little and was just there. I fished the lower end of the lake near the dam. Let's say within twenty miles of the dam there are forty primary points and at least twice as many secondary points on what I'll call the northern side of the original river channel (the other side is generally steep cliffs). All of the shoreline is owned by the Corps of Engineers, so it's undeveloped. Well boys, it all looks the same to me and it is VERY close in terms of depth, slope of the point, bottom composition and a TOTAL lack of vegetation (during high water periods some brush and trees become partially submerged). So, there must be some other subtle differences that attract bait fish and subsequently predators.

It's challenging. I'm going to stick with my guide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 That's a good point about the Rick Clunn article.  Allot of people just don't think of it that away.  I also think its a good point to point out that a person can't have success on the tournament trail just targeting big bass like Nixon did and several other California anglers have tried as well.  I was watching Loudmouth Bass a few weeks ago when they were talking about the world record being caught or not caught.  They had on probably one of the best Big Bass fishing guys in the world...Mike Long, who says he believes he will catch the world record eventually.  Zona asked Long how many bass over 15 pounds he had caught in his life and he said something like over 65 officially.  That's incredible...but it is also a perfect illustration of what RW said about targeting big bass.  You would think this guy could go out and win every tournament he entered having the experience of landing that many big fish...it doesn't work that away though.  On Mike Longs home lake he might be able to win a tournament or two but send him to Alabama or something and I am sure he would have trouble.  He could adapt over time possibly, because most good guides can, but it would take awhile.  He would have to change everything about how he fishes...and come to think of it he probably wouldn't even fair well on his home lake due to the rules he would have to follow...i.e. no live bait.

Excellent points RW.  

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree about hiring a guide on strange water. Couple years back I was in Florida on vacation, hired a guide on lake Toho. He took me to three locations in six hours and my arms were tired by the end. Well worth it! However, being from Pittsburgh, my office over looks the 3-rivers point. With the Classic coming here in the end of July on the 3-rives, I've been watching all kinds of bass boats going up and down these rivers. Yea the pros may find the honey hole on lakes, but I bet these rivers, dams and locks will be a challenge they've not come up against in awhile! Anyhow, can't wait for the event. ;D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were somewhat hopeing to be able to take a trip to Forida and also do some camping in Arkansas.  I was planning to try to get guides for some lakes in Florida and Bull Shoals had we been able to have gone.  Everything I have ever read and heard about Bull Shoals sounds like can be a puzzel to fish.  Not to mention, totaly different than what I am used too.  Even Beaver's lake OK. is a complete change from home and it's only 100 or so miles.  Even on these lakes around here a guide could be an asset.  I wouldn't want one everytrip but I think it would be neat to let somebody else worry why we aren't catching anything.  I think that it might make a nice trip.  Of course thinking about and acturally unclenching the wad of cash it takes to hire one are two sperate entities in themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me and my Dad hired a guide in Toho and beat the guide lol. I think I was only 13 or 14 years old at the time. The guide wanted to borrow a worm off of me because he didn't have that color or style and it was whipping his butt. ;D I think it was a gambler 7 inch hooktail redshad worm. I'll tell you what a guide is a great start on new water. While your fishing with them pick their brain a little. They will give you great insight on how the lake fishes during the year. As far as 90% of any lake is unproductive I would agree with that. Locating fish in any water tournament or not is hard business. To do it day in and out is even harder. Tournament fishermen and guides are more or less the educators who always come up with new ways to catch the same old fish always pushing the limits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

R/W,to give an opinion on guides I wouldn't know.That really didn't seem to be the topic.Why point x and not  a-w.I fish Kentucky and Barkley lakes.Points,humps,and ledges are key this time of year.I've been hitting the lake pretty hard here lately.I have found spots that really produced and some that didn't,but I have stuck to finding spots that have somethings in common.(8-15ft. dropping to atleast 20ft. with some structure)I have probally found 20 of these ledges or points and I have marked them all.Out of the 20 only 2 produced.So I found myself asking the same question.I have started going back to these spots today one of them that I didn't even get a bite on the first time produced 2 keepers.One of the spots I caught 5 keepers on recently didn't even get bit there.There has been a difference in weather and current between these trips,but I do believe that bass love to migrate somewhat and there's got to be reason for it.Other angler pressure is a big reason,baitfish,current,weather,or their just get tired of hanging out at the same ol' spot(LOL)In other words I would say your guide probally had a good hunch on what spots would produce better for that day,something I wish I could do myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday I checked a spot that I had checked several times with no luck & still no fish. Today the wind was out of the northeast at 20 knots & I found the fish there. I caught 9 largemouth all about 2-2 1/2 lbs. The lake was very rough,waves were breaking over my bow as I was running the trolling motor. The drop goes from 5' to 8' to 10' to 13' than out to deep water. I was fishing a carolina rig down the ledge & they were taking it as it came off the 10' ledge. It was a great feeling to catch fish there knowing that I found this area by using my GPS with maps & my depthfinder. Now I'll put 4 or 5 piles of brush down & maybe have a honey hole that will hold more than flies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing

    fishing forum

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×