I was fishing recently with my friends John Peterson and Chip Leer. John and Chip are both outstanding multi-species anglers: On this day we were chasing largemouth bass. The events of that day reminded me what successful anglers need to do to catch fish on a regular basis. Here's how our morning on the water went.
We were fishing a natural lake that has clear water and a small river coming in and going out. The lake has an excellent population of largemouth bass.
We started out fishing the deeper reeds with spinnerbaits and swimming jigs. The bass are usually in areas like that on that lake this time of the year. Today a few were: In fact, Chip caught a nice one on his third cast. However, action wasn't as good as we thought it should have been. We caught a few bass in the deeper reeds, but not many. We checked the shallow reeds, caught none and didn't see much for signs of life from bass or baitfish. We kept moving.
Next we tried some shallow sloppy cover near where the river came in. We threw Jaw-Breaker spoons mostly, as Jaw-Breakers are excellent spoons in the slop. They stay on top well and slither through the vegetation. We had a couple blow-ups on the spoons, but nothing too serious. We started scratching our heads trying to figure out what our next move should be. We decided to make a short trip up the river. We didn't know if they would be there, and none of us had been up that river before. However, we knew they weren't where we thought they would be, and when that happens it's usually a good idea to try something different. The trip up the river was different, and it was productive. Big time productive!
The river was only about thirty feet wide, six feet in the deepest, and had some color in the water. There were cut-banks and shoreline cover. We caught a bass right away, and after that the action was good. Not fast, but good, certainly much better than we had been experiencing out on the lake.
We continued to throw spinnerbaits and spoons. We were working the baits with the current. Some spinnerbaits don't work well when fished with the current, but the hardware on Reed-Runner spinnerbaits enable the blade to turn even when they're worked slowly or when worked with the current.
We caught fish from the middle of the river and some attacked our baits from the cover of the cut-banks. We continued upstream until the water got too shallow to float our boat.
Why were the bass in the river and not out on the lake locations where they were supposed to be? The river water was warmer by about five degrees, that might have been the reason.
The water had a little more color to it, which contributed to the warmer water and also reduced light penetration. That could also be a reason.
Or, maybe, the bass just didn't know they were supposed to be somewhere else. Oftentimes fish are pretty predictable and behave the way they are expected to. Sometimes though, they just do things differently than we think they will. Outstanding anglers like John Peterson and Chip Leer know that when you're not catching them in a certain place or on a particular bait, you need to go somewhere else or try a different style of bait. If you keep that in mind, you'll catch more fish more often.