Catching More Bass by Covering More Water

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There often comes a question every angler faces when out fishing: 

Should I stay or should I try elsewhere? 

Several factors determine what is the right decision to make on the water:

1.       What stage are the bass in (pre-spawn, post-spawn, summer, or fall feed)?

2.       What is the main forage the bass are feeding on?

3.       What types of cover are the bass utilizing?

4.       What are the weather conditions?

The early season pre-spawn bass tend to congregate on points and the mouths of coves and spawning pockets and flats. 

If you locate bass this time of season you should not move a whole lot. More fish will tend to move into the area and it is one of the best times of year to catch lots of bass.

Seagulls
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher

Forage is often a major factor on how much bass move around.  If smallmouth and largemouth are feeding on shad, emerald shiners, or other small bait fish. 

You will find them moving sometimes long distances following their prey. This is a good time to take note of any seagull or bird activity. Electronics are key for locating these fish and once you find the bait, the bass won’t be far away.

Bass Cover
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher

Structure and cover can play key roles in where and how far closely related bass are. 

If you have no vegetation or very little vegetation you will want to look at docks, laydowns (trees that have fallen in the water), and rock. These types of cover not only offer the bass concealment, but they also offer a perfect ambush point to get prey.

Wind Blown Flats
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher

Weather conditions also play a huge role in where the bass will be located. 

If you have a bright sunny day, the bass tend to gravitate toward shoreline cover and deeper water where they can be hidden in the shadows from their prey.  If you have a wind day with cloud cover you can often find the bass cruising the flats and weed edges. 

The wind stirs up plankton which the smaller bait fish eat and it gets them active.  In turn, the bass take this opportunity to ambush their prey.  This is why often you find a cloudy windy day much more productive bass fishing than a bright sunny bluebird day.

Spawning Pocket
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher

Let’s revisit post spawn and where the bass will be. 

This is often a difficult time to catch bass for anglers.  Bass may be stressed from the spawn, and often spread out to many different depths and cover.  Jim and I experienced one of these typical days on Lake Erie this past May. 

The video below should give you a good idea of our approach and even what we expected from the get go at the beginning of the day.  I hope these little tips on understanding bass and their movement get you more bites in the future.

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