Did you ever have a day on the water when noticing how a subtle change in cover seemed to make a huge difference in catching bass?
I know I have!
It sometimes amazes me how sometimes the even a subtle difference results in a tremendous change in either the quantity or quality of bass brought over the gunwale …
I remember one time fishing South Watupa Pond in southeastern Massachusetts when my partner and I were working a shoreline with numerous overhanging trees.
As we worked along skipping baits (un-weighted, Texas-rigged, black Fliptail lizards) under the branches, we were catching a keeper bass (12’-13” range) here and there until we came upon a willow tree. When skipping the plastic lizards under the willow branches, however, we quickly boated four bass all over 14.5”, a substantial difference.
Better yet, the willow tree pattern continued for the rest of the outing and even produced our best fish of the day, a 3.75 pound smallmouth. This was definitely a total surprise since most of the fish coming from the tree rows were largemouths!
Another example happened years later when fishing a team tournament on Mill Pond (also in southeast Massachusetts).
During most of the morning, my partner and I were working various types of cover managing to catch a limit of keeper size largemouths. As noon approached, we headed back toward the lower edge of the pond stopping to fish a small, shallow cove full of coontail and lily pads that averaged about four feet deep on the way.
Since the early morning cloud cover had cleared, we started pitching five-inch reddish-colored Senkos to pockets and holes in the weed cover. After weaving our way through the different weed beds, we entered a small clearing behind a several weed beds and noticed the water depth increased from four feet dropping into a small depression (~50’ x 30’) averaging 5.5 feet deep.
No sooner had we started to work the weed edges surrounding the depression that we started to catch bigger bass. Forty-five minutes later we had completely culled our original limit (~ 7 pounds total) with five fish ranging from 2.9 to 3.6 pounds and increasing our total weight to just under 16 pounds for the tournament (good enough for second place).
It still amazes me to think that such a seemingly minor difference in the cover or bottom conditions can make such a huge difference in bass catching results …
Keep that in mind the next trip on the water when things suddenly heat-up after a prolonged slow period. Always remember to take a moment to note the nature of even the most subtle difference leading to a sudden surge in your bass fishing success.
Keying in on similar areas for the rest of the day can be very rewarding!