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A good set of maps are probably the single most important item
a person can carry in their boat. I cannot tell you how many bad
days have been saved by this inexpensive tool. What is it with most
people including myself? We all seem to have this problem with reading
the directions before we start to put something together. About halfway
through the assembly process, we pick up the directions and all say the
same thing “#%@#**#%&*#@.” How did I miss that piece? How
much time could I have saved if
I HAD ONLY READ THE DIRECTIONS! Fishing is no different than assembling
a toy for your child or putting together the new weed whip you got for
your birthday. If you will take a few minutws to read the directions
or, in this case, a map of the body of water we plan to fish instead of
fishing and then reading the directions. It will make locating aggressive
fish a whole lot simpler than just shooting in the dark. Breaking
down a lake by use of a map is not as difficult as it may seem. There
are a few key pieces of information you will need before we can start this
Now that we know the key pieces of information, let’s break down
a lake using a dry erase marker to mark key areas on our map for reference.
We have noted the time of the year is summer, which means we can rule out
spawning and post spawn fish. So don’t go fish a spot you pounded
them in April when they were schooled up tight. Summer also means
there can be several bites going on the same body of water, so you should
approach the breakdown process with an open mind. Water clarity is
our next piece of information to plug in. Most predators are sight
feeders, so even though deep structure is a great place to hunt aggressive
fish in summer, remember this. If they can’t see it, they can’t eat
it. So think shallow when fishing a lake where the water has been
muddied up by storms, high winds, or excessive boat traffic. With
water temperatures in the 80’s, our presentations can be aggressive.
By aggressive presentations, I mean we can cover a lot of water quickly.
Lures’ speeds can be sped up because the fish have a higher metabolism
rate which, in turn, means they will chase a bait further and attack it.
High water temperatures also mean we want to find areas adjacent to deep
water where fish can retreat to be more comfortable. The forage base
is shad, so one of the first places I will look for fish will be on mud
flats. The shad are there feeding on emerging insect larva and other
crustaceans. Now I don’t have a degree in fisheries biology, so I
cannot say what they are feeding on exactly, but I know when summer hits
the shad hit the mud flats. Another good spot to hit are main lake points
and humps, especially the ones with deep water around them. Winds
of 15 to 20 mph will play a major role in choosing what flats and points
to fish. Not only will it play a role on which ones to start on but
where to hit first. You have heard the old saying, “a spot on a spot.”
Now you can hit the lake with a lot more confidence knowing you have done your homework and that one of these spots should hold fish.
SO DON’T TRY TO PUT TOGETHER A PATTERN BY TRIAL AND ERROR, USE THE DIRECTIONS.
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