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Here’s How To Find Your Next Hot Spot

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A bass angler’s best dreams feature these: Magical spots where one bite comes after another, and every fish is a chunk. The good news is that these aren’t only figments of their imagination. They exist, including on the waters you regularly fish. The challenge is finding them.

There’s no getting around it. Discovering reliable and productive fishing spots takes work. Bass don’t swim everywhere in a lake, reservoir, or river. Every angler learns that lesson on their first day on the water. But finding them gets easier when you understand what makes a great fishing spot. That begins with identifying what bass want, including:

  • Cover and structure: Bass use cover and structure for various reasons. Structure — changes in bottom contour — include points, creek channels, and humps. Bass use it to ambush prey and as a “road” between shallow and deep water. Cover — items that sit on the bottom — include aquatic vegetation, rock, and brush. Bass hide in it to shelter from environmental changes and ambush prey.
  • Food: Bass have to eat, so they gravitate to spots with plenty of prey. You might see schools of baitfish on your electronics or moving under the surface. It could be bluegills milling around a row of boat docks in the summer. Crawfish, a bass favorite, are impossible to see, but a concentration of them will attract bass.
  • Water quality: Bass may not be capable of understanding what they need, but they know it when they find it. That’s especially true with water conditions. Temperature and dissolved oxygen are two of the most important. But water color — clear, stained, or muddy —  is essential, too. Bass seek out the best of each that’s available.

The particulars of these three points depend on where and when you’re fishing. So, don’t pigeonhole yourself into looking for aquatic vegetation or baitfish every time you hit the water. And none stand alone; instead, they all mesh in different combinations. You must look at the larger picture first, putting a sharper point on your approach as you learn more.

There’s a lot of water out there, so use these five steps to narrow it down to the best spots. And once you find that next hot spot, it’s up to you whether you tell your fishing buddies about it. 

  1. Understand How Bass React To Their EnvironmentSome spots are timeless, producing bass trip after trip and year after year. Those are the ones that are the basis of legends. But most have a time limit, only producing when conditions permit. So, it’s essential to understand how bass react when conditions change.Bass don’t process information like we do. There’s no reasoning, logic, or consideration of choices. They react to their environment. For example, they slide into deeper water if the water level drops. Or if clouds blow in, they swim further from the cover where they were hiding when the sun was shining. Seasonal changes are the overriding factor of bass location. Most bass swim toward shallow water in spring to spawn and in fall to chase baitfish. They move to deep water in summer and winter. Depth is relative. On a Western reservoir, where cover is sparse and water gin clear, shallow may be 20 feet. In an aquatic vegetation-choked natural lake in Florida, it may be less than 1 foot.While seasons dictate overall movements and locations, condition changes dictate daily movements. Bass will move shallower and be more aggressive when the surface is ruffled by wind or water stained by recent rain-runoff. However, these minor adjustments are made about seasonal movements. Bass won’t swim distances because the sun shines on a particular day. Weather changes will change a bass’ mood, and the season changes location.Studying how bass react to environmental changes is essential to bass fishing success. And being able to recall that information on the water is vital. But the only way to truly understand them is time on the water, where you can experience them in real-time. And the more experiences you have, the better angler you’ll become because you can re-apply them when faced with similar situations in the future.

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