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Sneaking up on Bass
Victor Leake

Catching bass on public lakes is getting harder, fishermen are smarter and at times it seems the fish are also. The old days of having a "Honey Hole" all to your self is just a memory. If you catch fish from a brush pile hidden in a secret cove more than once, I will bet Aunt Vellam's tomatoes on the third trip there you will find someone sitting on it.

Bass become very conditioned to boat traffic, noise and lures. They know you are there and become very hard to catch, often retreating into thick cover. Don't just charge into an area you plan to fish; study the map before hand and then try to enter the area as quite as possible. Slamming lids or splashing the trolling motor down alerts the bass that you are there. Bass fishing is like hunting, those who amble around in the woods get a deer once in a while, but to be consistent time after time requires being sneaky.

By stopping some distance from the target area and then fishing up to it cuts boat noise down and the fish are less spooky. Run the trolling motor on low, the fast turning blade moves a lot of water and could alert the bass. When possible, allow the wind to drift your boat into the fishing area, this will give you the most silent entry. Try to refrain from rocking the ship (boat) as the waves caused by a boat rocking to an Fro will disturb tree limbs hanging in the water or splash against the shore, alerting the bass of danger.

Using an under handed cast keeps movement to a minimal and allows the lure to enter the water at a low angle, causing less splash and/or noise. On bright sunny days an over handed cast will cause a shadow to dance across the water, often spooking active bass.

Fishing a lure that the fish don't see very often and increase your chance of catching that bass. If you hear that everyone has been catching bass on a white spinner bait with gold blades; try casting a crankbait. By changing the hooks that come on most crank baits to a size larger will increase bass catching, by using short shank hooks that curve inward you will have fewer hang-ups in wood.

In some areas of a lake bass have become so used to people noise that you can use that as an advantage. These fish get excited by noise, an area where skiers are, people jumbling into and out of the water can hold a surprisingly lot of bass. When everyone else is looking for quieter water, try the active areas, around marinas and boat ramps.

On windy days you need not be as cautious as on calm windless days. But even with wind blowing into a pocket a quite entry can add a few more bass to your numbers. On windy days deer will become more nervous as they lose the use of their hearing and sense of smell; Bass being a predator use the wind to help confuse the pry and will feed heavy in shallow water if the water temperature is higher than 55 degrees.

Fish often, catch all you want; keep just what you need, and release the rest for the future.





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