By Jack Payne
I enjoy reading and studying experts in their respective field. When it comes to fishing four anglers stood the test of time with me. Al Linder, Jimmy Houston, Buck Perry and Doug Hannon. Location of the bass and how bass feed are critical.
When fishing a point the back sides are protected from the wind and this is also where plankton and baitfish will blow across. Consider the angle of the sun as well. Fish the structure that offers the most shade.
A large weedbed is like a giant buffet. Bass snuggle into a thick weedbed ready to pounce on anything that will fit into their mouth. Once you find a weedbed narrow your search down to the areas that are the closest to deep water or to a sharp drop-off. The deep water provides a sanctuary from danger.
If you look at a contour map you will locate areas where the contour lines come tight together. If it connects to deep water and to a large weed flat, mark it. This is a high percentage location.
Another high percentage spot would be a cup or inside turn on the weedline. Using your graph and your eyes you will locate areas where the weeds go in and then out. If this is your first time trying this throw out a few barker buoys.
One more location which ties in with the first spot would be any weeds that extend outward from the main bed. Weed points or land points both offer seclusion from the sun and access from the deep water to the prime feeding areas in the shortest amount of time.
One of the first things that I learned was that bass feed up much quicker and easier than down. The eyes and mouth are up on a bass and anglers will hook more bass if they can keep their bait at least three inches off of the bottom. This is one reason that the drop-shot rig is so popular.
The same applies when fishing a jig or a worm. How often do you hook a bass on the rise or drop of a lure as compared to the lure sitting flat on the bottom?
The plastic worm is another old standby that still produces. The Whacky Worm is perfect for these conditions. It flutters almost like a feather and is easy for a bass to suck in without feeling any resistance.
One of my favorites is the Bass Stopper Worm from Stopper Lures. This pre-molded worm works great without any weight and is a killer along the deep sides of the weeds with one split shot.
A bass will suck in the weightless worm and not feeling resistance it will run with it. Imagine a feather fluttering in the wind; well it’s the same with a weightless worm. With the two or three molded hooks one will stab the bass in the mouth.
Another easy bait to master and a favorite of Jimmy Houston is the spinner bait. The Stopper Spinner Bait comes in two weight sizes. Shallower water use the quarter ounce. Deeper water try the three eight ounce.
If you concentrate on the high percentage locations and slow down I believe that your catch rate will increase three folds. Hit likely spawning and shoreline cover early in the season, slowly move to the new weed growth and finally hit the deep edges and deep-water points. Hit each weed clump, every log and stump and hang on. With this weightless worm you rarely snag.
Other advice that I’ve heard and used over the years that is well worth repeating: learn a few basic lures as described well. Master these before going on and pick out one or two lakes and learn them well. Confidence, practice and master are the three keys.