Fishing pressure is a newly coined phrase that virtually did not exist many years ago. Simply because there was not any fishing pressure in years past, when most of our newly formed man made impoundments were in their prime. Back then an angler could fish any spot on any lake and usually the end results was a good days catch. As more and more anglers began fishing for bass it soon became apparent that the inevitable had occurred.
Today, the banks of most of our lakes – those that look the fishiest – always get fished the most. On a daily basis there is a very good chance that banks featuring loads of cover such as aquatic weeds, wood cover, rocks, or even an entire line up of man made cover such as piers and boat houses, has already been fished before you arrived. So fishing used water has become the norm, as more and more anglers hit the water each day, throughout each season.
But still, it does not have to be that way. There are many, very visible places on all of our very crowded lakes, that the majority of bass anglers pass up for more perfect looking water elsewhere. Conditioning yourself to avoid these so called, “community holes” can aid an angler in discovering lots of new, under fished places that the majority of anglers ignore.
Even today’s bass tournament anglers, often while in route to their favorite GPS saved fishing hole (usually far from the lakes shoreline), are still going to eyeball these fishy-looking, cover filled banks, as they run their boat up or down the lake. But only those that know, will stop and fish a bank that everybody else avoids. There are many places on all lakes, in a variety of fishing situations, that are so obviously void of fish holding cover, its no wonder today’s savvy bass angler passes them up.
So here’s some places, some with various types of unseen, featureless cover, that can be found on most man made impoundments…and all are worth investigating.
Aquatic Weeds – Some Lakes Have Them, Some Don’t
If you fish a variety of lakes, its a sure fact some lakes feature some type of aquatic growing weeds. Of those lakes that do feature this oxygen-rich, fish-holding greenery, its hard to find a spot that other anglers have not fished as well. But its a given fact, if an angler “thinks” like other anglers he can then judge where to, as they say, “boldly go where no other has gone before”.
Take for instance feeder creeks. A major influx of incoming water that all anglers love to explore. Unless its during the spring spawning season most anglers will fish the banks near the deeper creek channel. Targeting small cuts, pockets and flats within these feeder creeks an angler may discover places other anglers avoid. If a small pocket within a huge feeder creek is very featureless with bare banks and/or little or no aquatic weeds, and it has a hundred yards of shallow water averaging 1- 2 feet deep far from the security of deeper water, most anglers will avoid wasting time here.
Isolated patches of weeds are often passed up by most anglers that are looking for more to fish along the banks. If a patch of weeds is the only weed patch in a creek or on a main lake flat and its within a half mile or so of deeper water, its even better. Usually these small, weedy spots have a big, dominating bass hanging around that sees very few lures.
Another thought to keep in mind when it comes to aquatic weeds is fishing the slop. Scummy, nasty, sloppy-looking places most anglers avoid due to lure hang-ups.
Wood Cover – If its Under water its Better
Every lake has some form of wood cover. Visible brush piles, stump rows, lay down trees, logs and man made cover like piers, boat houses and marinas are all some form of wood cover. Still, the fact remains. If it can be seen, its fished. But find a bare looking bank and there’s a good chance you will discover stumps along the flat close to the bank or there could be a stump row found along a shallow-to-deep drop-off nearby. A place good for many trips…if you keep it to yourself. A spot with little no fishing pressure.
Wood cover abounds in the upper reaches of most man made reservoirs. Here the lakes headwaters look more like a river than a lake. Flooding can pile up wood cover in such places as deep outside river bends, or the upper ends of islands and along any point protruding out in the main river channel. There is usually so much wood cover in these upper lake headwaters, that bare banks go unnoticed and they are usually under fished.
Then there is isolated wood cover – places most anglers avoid if that’s all there is. Find a lone brush pile, far from any other type of fish holding cover and most anglers won’t even take the time to slow the boat down and fish it. And just like an isolated patch of weeds, one lone brush pile can often hold one big, dominating bass. A bass that sees very few lures.
Bare, featureless banks always have some form of wood cover hidden underwater. Using your boats electronics or probing the lakes bottom with bottom dragging lures such as worms and jig combos are a few ways to discover this wood cover. You can return during the winter months when some lakes are lowered for winter pool. Visible wood cover on an otherwise featureless bank will attract other anglers looking for that fish holding stump, brush pile, laying tree and logs.
But keep in mind, many anglers forget about these places when the lake is returned to full pool.
Rocks – The More the Merrier
There are times when some banks have too much rock cover, thus being avoided by most anglers. Rock bluffs can continue down a bank for miles. Most anglers will only fish some of it. The best looking portion of the rock bluff such as points, broken off rocks, big boulders, and rock bluffs featuring a mixture of weed and rock cover, get fished the most.
Man made rip-rap rocks such as those found along bridges, causeways and the dam area can get pounded by anglers that simply love to fish rocks. Seawalls, block walls or brick walls are also attractive to the average angler. Even bridge pilings get fished daily. Finding small places within these rocky spots is what separates the knowledgeable anglers from those that just don’t know.
Try fishing a bare bank along a rock bluff or a spot where man made rip-rap rocks meet a bare featureless bank. This tactic will aid an angler in discovering places that are usually avoided by the cover-beating anglers.
Other Places Most Anglers Avoid – Some are so Obvious its Funny
* Below Dams, its hard to find a spot that does not get fished. But if you look close and observe other anglers, you will often see small out-of-the-way spots that do not get fished at all.
* Backs of Creeks, are good year round, but few anglers will go to the trouble of navigating the boat far up a creek or trolling long distances up in some tributary that runs for miles. Its worth the effort and sometimes you will discover that school of unmolested bass far up in some major tributary other anglers missed.
* Around Marinas and bass release sites. These are places where bass tournaments have been held both day and night all throughout the hot, summer months and there are literally hundreds of bass to be discovered.
* Red Clay Banks are avoided by anglers looking for better spots nearby. Red clay banks can muddy up fast from constant boat traffic. Bass could be feeding all day in the security of these stained waters on these bare, featureless banks. Often bass on these red clay banks go unmolested and most of these bass are just waiting for the bare bank angler to discover.
No matter what lake you fish on a regular basis you are as guilty as the next angler, when it comes to passing up banks with little or no fish holding appeal. Bare banks are banks most anglers avoid.
You owe it to yourself to spend an entire day fishing these types of places. You may be surprised at the outcome of your efforts. Some of these places go for weeks at a time with little or no fishing pressure. While other anglers are fishing nearby…in those fishy looking places with few bites, you may be loading the boat with quality sized bass that nobody fishes for, in places other anglers overlook!
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