Small article on deep water bassin
Okay so our club site wants a section for articles written by members. This was my attempt at coherent thought. Let me know if this makes sense to anyone.
Off shore deep water fishing is a method that I have struggled with over the past few years. Coming from New York and fishing as a kid if I caught a bass in over 8 foot I figured it a fluke. We all know now that this is obviously more of the norm than the exception. This past season I attempted to focus more of my time on water 14 foot and above. I have yet to master the abyss of 50+ feet and I may never master any technique; but I would like to take the time to share with you some techniques that can demystify the deep dark beyond.
This past year I have really focused in on learning to utilize those expensive little screen we have on our boats. A few things many anglers need to focus on is the fact that these are no television screens but snapshots. This is the area in the cone angle underneath your boat. Interpreting all those pretty arches, balls, and colors or contrasts can be a daunting task. The fish ID is not a tell all end all of what is down there, nor is that pile on the bottom that is a hump, or is it bait, or is it grass. Learning to interpret what you are looking at is very important.
The way I learned how to do this was not quite the text book way. I didnít spend my time reading the manual cover to cover. I have read it to an extent, and read many articles on line about reading your finder. However the best experience for me has come from using a feeler bait once I have located something interesting. Usually for me as many of you know I will throw a big jig down there and drag the bottom and feel for what I think I saw on my finder. This can be a hump, weeds, chunk rock, or whatever you may be looking for. Dragging a heavy bait through the abyss can shed good insight as to what is down there. If I bring up a mass of weeds I know, or if I feel branches and stick ups I know etc. This is invaluable as you can now learn to interpret what you see on your screen. Can you read the manual sure but real life experience is what sticks with me.
Once you begin to understand what structures you are seeing on your graph you can then move on to marking them with the GPS and learning to properly position your boat. This has proven invaluable to me as over time you will come to realize direction is important. For example take a look at the fish tank at Bass Pro Shops. Sometimes those fish are butted up to the rocks so tight that you can barely slide a bait by them, even facing the rocks. In this mode they are not chasing baits they are inactive against their protective structure and cover. Here you would want to look at a vertical presentation most likely coming from the front of them and not from behind. The same goes for fishing drains and submerged creek beds. Depending on the time of year the fish will be staged heading in towards shore or away from shore. Can you catch them from all directions, possibly; however as we all know certain presentations work much better than others. This is even true in shallow cover. I know some of you have fished with me and seen these drastic differences. Sometimes flipping a shallow jig bite the bait has to be dead center on the trunk of the tree, as if the fish were facing the trunk, other times they will chase a spinnerbait for miles. It is all about presentation and it is applicable in both shallow and deep water.
It is then important to look at the forage base on which the fish are feeding at the time. What time of year is this spawn, prespawn, fall transition etc. These are keys in unlocking both the location and forage that bass will be feeding on at any given time. In spring fishing deep I look for creek bends and channel breaks leading to what I would call shallow spawning areas. I donít want to stick to the word flats because as we can see in lakes such as Pueblo you do not need a flat to have a spawning area. Summer transition and the warmer months I look for deep wood and rock walls. These fish are moving towards that cooler water that is less effected by the daily traffic our lakes see. Sure you can catch them up top in the morning and with the right conditions all day long, but your deep water techniques will grant you a shot at much more consistent and reliable tournament catches. Lastly during the Fall I look towards funneling areas. To explain these would be areas with good deep water access that have shallow narrowing points in which the fish can run and chase bait. These areas can be productive year round but are often on fire once the water dips into the mid 60ís.
These areas and techniques are much easier to utilize once you learn to use your electronics and decipher what you are looking at. Most lakes have detailed maps that will show you these roadways to success. Whether using an expensive unit or even your local hot spots map, learning to decipher and understand deep water will increase your success rates exponentially.