How do you prepare for future bass fishing trips?
No I am not talking about bass video games or my casting practices session on our snow-covered yard during winter!
What I am talking about is observing the terrain surrounding our lakes, ponds and rivers when the water is often low during the late summer and through much of the winter.
Where most of us don’t spend as much time on the water as we would like, we do tend to travel around local water bodies on a regular basis. Taking the time to scan the terrain and identify hidden bass fishing cover exposed during these low water periods can be extremely beneficial when lake return to their normal water levels.
Though there are many times when dry period observations helped disclose hidden bass fishing cover (future honey holes), two specific examples spring to mind.
In one instance, a reservoir I often fish is subject to significant water level fluctuations over the course of a year.
During a couple of late fall trips, I noticed a sharp drop-off feature (four foot ledge) on a gentle sloping bank about 50 feet off the high water shoreline. The next spring, I caught several quality fish off the ledge enabling me to upgrade my limit on both days of a two-day tournament bolstering my overall position into second place for that event.
The second example came the summer after noticing a cluster of stumps and fallen branches along a steeply sloped bank ~ 5.5 feet below the summer pool level in a small creek arm off the main lake. At normal summer pool, the shoreline is peppered with bushes overhanging the water. Normally many keeper-size fish can be caught by pitching baits to the edge of the bush line. The stretch with the stumps at depth, however, is another matter all together typically holding better quality fish. Over a two week period, I caught two fish from that small stretch that were over 18 inches and one was over six pounds (my largest from that reservoir).
So … ready to run a couple of low-water scouting expeditions?
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your dry terrain scouting expeditions:
- Keep a notebook (and camera or camera-phone if possible) in your vehicle for those times when you are in the area, stop at various points along the shore and make notes about exposed cover;
- Include a sketch of the area and exposed bass fishing cover in your notes if you don’t have a camera with you;
- Be sure to note the normal water shoreline features as well as the exposed offshore cover to assist you in locating the honey holes when water levels return to normal pool;
- Do you have a portable GPS? Carry it with you and set a waypoint for the location (definitely helps identify the area on computer mapping systems); and
- Take time for a low-water fishing trip or two so you can observe and record observations from the water and access parts of the lake not easily reached from shore.
Taking the time to scan the lake terrain and learn hidden bass fishing cover during low water periods can definitely be rewarding plus pay substantial dividends in the future!
Be sure to grab the bass fishing e-report series (see sidebar) for more helpful bass fishing (and more importantly … catching!) tips and tactics.
Tight lines and full livewells forever!