Use your hard copy map first!
With all of the advances in electronics these days it’s easy to get lazy, and use the map in your Lowrance HDS7 or the Hummingbird in your dash. Don’t get me wrong, these are invaluable pieces of technology that help anglers find the fish, especially with the newer side and down imaging technologies. But let’s face it, even the biggest of those screens are only 10″ or so and a hard copy map like the Fishing Hot Spots maps can be wall paper size..lol. Which can be spread out over the dining room table for pre-trip study, or in the hotel room for day end recaps, and most importantly in the boat. When you mark that special point or spot on the GPS and are looking to move on, that’s the time to pull it out. Take a look, only takes a minute, and that minute could mean everything. I used this method at my last bass tournament at Lake of the Ozarks. I found a point that had the elements I was looking for, pulled out the map, did a minute of study, and Wham, I found one Better just up lake. Would have been a lot of scrolling on that little screen, and there was a good chance I would have missed it. We like to think we have the maps memorized for the patterns we are after, but a refresher look isn’t cheating! Use it!
Have you done the latest software updates?
When the lake that you are fishing goes for miles and miles, with a lot of the same structure or cover, you have to look for something special. With docks it could be the front left corner or the ones with ladders that put a pattern together. When confronted with a bluff wall 2 miles long or a lake filled with them, to find fish, I find the river channel.
The river channel is the key to a bluff wall!
It is the highway to the life in the lake, most everything that follows bait fish for survival are using this highway. I have found this to be true in all types of lakes deep to shallow from one side of the country to the other. The main lake points that are on either end of that bluff wall are as my father says “Easy off, Easy on”. They are the McDonalds just off the highway or Cracker Barrel if ya wish…lol. Figure out what’s on the menu and Fish On!
Cover and Structure definitions
Cover and Structure are two different things.
Cover is something that the fish can hide in, around, on, underneath, beside, etc.
Cover = A place to Hide.
Structure = A geographical anomaly or an irregular feature on the bottom of the lake. A depth change results in some type of structure.
Structure = River channel
Now of course this is a simplified definition, but effective!
Putting it all together
Find a feature on the map that indicates both of these conditions exists. A main lake point on one end of a bluff wall with the river channel that swings close by is a good place to start. Maybe it is something a little more subtle, perhaps a bend in the bluff wall, with the river channel running right next to it creating a ledge…hint hint… But looking for the irregularities that can be the game changer we are all looking for.
This exact template was used to place 5th in our tournament at Truman Lake. The template was right. We had our five fish limit on a day when there where 200+ boats tournament fishing.
Pro’s to Joe’s where there in force and just finding an open point to flip was about impossible.
We zigged while they zagged. We had the bites to win, but a bit of bad luck with lost fish put us out of the top seat. Not bad for being the first time to the lake with a outboard that wasn’t blown up…lol..but that is another story of a boat long gone…hahaha.