When to Be More Versatile While Fishing

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When to Be More Versatile While Fishing

Smallmouth Caught on Blade Bait
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher/R&J Fishing

Have you ever gone out fishing and got dialed in a bite that made that day one of your most memorable days of fishing? 

I think if you have fished long enough, we have all hit that magic fishing time. 

The real question is, “what do you do when the bite is tough, or you’re fishing amongst a lot of fishing pressure?”  There are plenty of days where it seems like the fish have seen every lure you’re casting out. 

Two of the toughest questions to answer each time out are “where the fish are located,” and “what they are biting on?” 

Let’s work on breaking down these two questions to get more bites on the end of your line.

Fish Location

If you’re fishing a familiar body of water, fish tend to gravitate to the same areas at different times of the year. 

Spawning fish will look for back pockets, creeks, or hard bottom areas to lay their eggs. They will often travel to these same places year after year. 

I’ve had dock owners tell me about the same fish bedding under their dock every year. It may very well be the same fish. 

The bottom line is that fish have tendencies that, biologically, are hard to break. They are going to follow these same, consistent patterns because they are hard-wired to do so.

During summer time, you may find bass holding on specific points, rock ledges, or a drop off. When this happens, you will often find these spots saturated with anglers all seeking to target the same fish. 

Sometimes you will notice one angler or boat doing better than others.

The reason? He is either offering a slightly different presentation with the same lure, or he is using a lure that the bass hasn’t been conditioned to.

Pressured Bass

Collection of Bass Lures
Photo via Rick Vogelbacher/R&J Fishing

My partner Jim and I often run into these scenarios where we are targeting pressured bass. This past April was a perfect example of this. 

We fished Lake St. Clair along the mile roads where hundreds of anglers flock every spring to target the smallmouth moving up. 

These bass have seen a majority of the lures by the second week and tend to get a little tighter lipped on certain days.

To succeed during tough bites, it’s key to see what mood the bass are in. 

If they are in a non-aggressive mood, it may take a lure that they haven’t seen yet to trigger a strike. What we have found out is being “versatile” is key to putting the most fish in the boat during the day. 

Here’s an example. You may have a school of 20 bass, and 19 of them have seen a tube jig, but one hasn’t.  That one may strike it where the other 19 won’t. 

If you keep fishing your tube jig in that area, you won’t get any more bites. However, if you fish a jerkbait and 18 of the 20 bass have seen it, but two haven’t, you might get two more bites. 

Then, if you cast a swimbait, for instance, and 18 of the 20 bass have seen it, but two haven’t, you may get another two bites that you wouldn’t have if you had stuck with the one lure. 

The video below will give you a perfect example of how one of those days played out for us on Lake St. Clair.


The next time you’re out fishing, don’t hesitate to switch it up and keep switching it up to get more bites. 

Sometimes it’s best to stay with one lure when it’s getting consistent bites, but other times it’s in your best interest to keep changing it up to get more bites.

Good luck and tight lines on the water!

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