Written by : RB bass Angler, Christopher Anthony Evola
Probably one of the most popular questions people ask experienced anglers is, how do you break down a new body of water you’ve never fished before?
The first thing I do long before my boat is launched is I research the body of water I am preparing to fish. I find out what species of bass inhabiting that particular body of water, and what forage is present for those specific species of fish.
After I’ve done the research on the fish, I figure out the water temperature, this will give me an idea of what stage the majority of the fish are in. Winter transition, pre-spawn, spawn, post-spawn, and fall transition, are all phases I take into consideration.
Once I’ve figured out the species of fish I am targeting, the forage present, and what phase those fish are in, I then look at a map of the water I am planning to fish. I look for main lake points, secondary points, creek channels, spawning flats, and any additional water flowing into the lake. These areas have all proven to be intricate spots on any body of water for fish in all phases.
There is a couple things that never change when planning a tactical approach to catching bass in any body of water. It doesn’t matter if your in Florida on Lake O or on Clear Lake out here in California. One thing you can always count on is the sun will rise in the East and set in the West. The most crucial but rudimentary concept that so many amateur anglers overlook. Some of you reading this article are asking yourself why is this so important? Why is he talking about the sun? Some of the more intellectual readers are thinking, but what if it’s overcast, and the sun is no where to be seen? Well my friends I guarantee you bass will always and I emphasize ALWAYS spawn first on the North and Northwest facing banks in any body of water. In those areas the water warms up faster because of sun exposure. Also those areas are protected from the arctic North wind which can drop water temperature inhibiting or delaying the spawning process. Find the North and Northwest facing banks and you’ll find fish.
So now that we know the basics of what we’re looking for when fishing a new body of water, we must now take it once step further. The night before I am going fishing I look at moon phase, weather conditions, and tide movement if applicable. Bait fish tend to be more active on nights where the moon is present, thus triggering the predatory fish to feed. If fish are feeding heavily at night, then they are less likely to feed during the first part of the day, and more likely to feed in the afternoon. Stay optimistic and if the bite is slow in the morning continue to grind into the afternoon. Eventually the fish will bite and you’ll capitalize if you keep a positive mind set.
Weather conditions play a huge role in making my decision on how and where to fish. Wind can help the fishing for the better, however it can also shut down the fishing. Pay specific attention to wind direction. Areas where the wind is blowing directly into a point or pocket can be little honey holes loaded with quality fish. The wind can congregate the bait fish triggering the predatory fish to feed on the generous offering. Wind can also stir up the bottom washing up protein rich crawfish that so many bass gorge on during every month out of the year. Over cast skies developing low barometric pressure days can be some of the most productive fishing days. High pressure days with little to no wind can prove to be more challenging. Fishing pre-frontal conditions or during a front can yield high numbers of bites and these conditions can trigger the bigger fish to bite. After the front passes and the fish have gorged themselves, fishing can then be its most challenging.
Those of you reading this article without having any prior knowledge of breaking down a lake, are probably starting to understand the logistics. Furthermore the last and final topic I’d like to discuss is selecting different baits when learning a new body of water. I have broken it down to the acronym CWFAE. This acronym stands for cover, water, fast, and, efficiently. Fairly simple to remember and after pondering the topic it really opens up tons of avenues for bait selection. Crank baits, spinner baits, swim baits, jerk baits, and chatter baits, are usually the baits that immediately come to mind when thinking about covering water. Some of the uncommon baits people usually do not associate with covering water fast are; heavy jigs, heavy Carolina rigs, heavy Texas rigs, or heavy shakey heads. Notice the trend and the commonality amongst these techniques is the adjective heavy. When I say heavy I’m talking about 1 ounce jigs, or an 1 1/2 ounce Texas rig. These baits are traditionally not recognized as baits that are associated with CWFAE.
I hope this article helps you break down a new body of water you have never fished before. These are the basics I’ve learned through the years from reading countless fishing articles, asking lots of questions, and applying the information I’ve learned out on the water.
Tight lines, and good luck next time your out on the water. Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding this article or just fishing in general.
Christopher Anthony Evola