The Tip of the Week Presented by Jackson Kayak
Finding Bass: Search Simplified
By Joey Monteleone
Anglers tend to get too caught up with today’s high-tech equipment. They forget to use their own senses. If the batteries go out on your bottom-scanning, temperature-taking, speed-monitoring, GPS-navigating equipment, you can find and catch fish using your common sense and cognitive skills. Consider giving credence to water temperatures and water color and ‘bass-strology’ – the moon phase. Fish feeding, migration, insect hatches increase during the new and full moons.
Start your search with these factors in mind:
Knock on Wood
Fishing wood is a great start. Submerged trees, wooded stake beds or underwater log jams are gold mines for bass. Cover is a basic bass need. Wood is cover. Food is another bass necessity. Wood grows algae, algae draws minnows and baitfish, minnows and baitfish draw gamefish. Wood also presents a current break for river or stream fish. Bass hover in and around wood for cover. Ambush points are a great place to search for fish. Don’t pass fallen trees and submerged wood with making a cast or two into and around this critical cover.
Rock and Roll
Most waters have areas with rock. In manmade lakes with a riprap bank, chunk rock is very common. The hard surfaces of rocky banks, shores and bottoms retain and radiate heat in the spring and winter. A few degrees can be the difference. The comfort of warmer waters is important to a creature whose lifestyle is in part predicated by temperature. Spawning fish migrate into areas with rock bottom structure. Rock is an excellent source of bass forage, the place crawfish emerge from their winter hiding places. Rocky structure is ideal for early season fishing, at night, during the spawn, during cold fronts and year round.
Bass in the Grass
Aquatic vegetation in the form of cattails, hydrilla, lily pads, coontail moss, pencil grass, and cabbage leaf is desirable for cover oriented bass. The presence of green aquatic plants signifies healthy bottom composition, and plentiful oxygen. It also serves as an ambush point. During spring the first greenery to emerge draws and holds fish. Conversely in the fall the last of the vegetation becomes a hangout for fish. Even the use of plant life like lily pads as overhead cover is common everywhere. Forage for fish, shady relief from the heat, a hiding spot or just a curiosity aquatic vegetation in all shapes and sizes should not be ignored by anglers.
Bass have four specific needs, oxygen, food, cover and a deep water escape route close by. Find the compacted area that serves all these needs and you’ll find fish. The hard part isn’t catching fish, it’s finding fish.
Joey Monteleone knows a thing or two about bass. The TV host, outdoor writer and radio host claims he’s caught over 29,000 bass in the last three decades. Monteleone is a Jackson Kayak regional pro staffer.