How To Catch Pressured Fish

Boy has it been hot lately. I even heard one guy say that it’s too hot to go fishing. While some say that it’s never too hot to go fishing, they also suggest going early or late in the day and take plenty of water and sunscreen. They say that even when it’s hot the fish will bite, and they’re right! There are always a few fish willing to be caught. However, from mid-summer until mid-autumn, we need to keep in mind that we’re dealing with fish that might be a little more reluctant to be caught for a couple of reasons.

Right now, and for the next few weeks will be a time of plenty for predator fish. There’s lots of food in the water. The baitfish that were born this spring are now at a size where the larger predator fish can use them as food. In many bodies of water, fish-food isn’t hard to find.

Some anglers like to “match the hatch” which suggests that we use a bait that looks like something a gamefish would eat and lives in the same water as those gamefish. Pretend you’re fishing for walleyes on a lake that has lots of perch, and many of those perch are 3 to 4 inches long: perfect walleye food. The walleyes see and eat those perch every day. It’s like people. We see and eat hamburgers regularly, so when we’re offered the choice between a hamburger and a slice of pizza, many times we go for the pizza. I don’t know if that’s the way it is in the fish world, but I do know that I’ve seen lots of times when a bait that looked nothing like a perch outproduced a bait that looked like a perch on a lake that had a strong perch population. If the fish aren’t responding to a bait that looks like something that they often see, try something that doesn’t look like something they regularly see.

Fishing pressure is another consideration. Jay Przekurat is a bass tournament pro from Wisconsin. He fishes across the country in those tournaments and has a first-hand look at fishing pressure. In the southern states, open water fishing goes on year ‘round. Bass fishing is extremely popular in the south, and some of those lakes get fishing pressure every day of the year. Sometimes on weekends, Jay says anglers take turns at fishing the best locations. He says that when this happens, he tries to find spots that aren’t as popular and throws baits that the bass haven’t seen as much. Flippin’ a Texas-Rigged four-inch Rage Bug around shallow water cover or casting a 6XD crankbait in deeper water has helped him achieve much fishing success.

Other anglers do other things to catch fish that have been fished hard. I’ve had success by fishing lakes that aren’t as popular with anglers. These lakes often have fewer fish, so they don’t get as much fishing pressure. Fewer fish in lightly fished lakes often will result in more bites than on lakes with more fish but also more fishing pressure.

Some anglers like to go after different species of fish than they usually do. White bass or channel catfish can often provide action when the walleyes and bass don’t want to bite.

We know that summer is winding down, and we also know that autumn can provide some of the best fishing of the year. However, this time between the dead of summer and mid-autumn can provide some memorable fishing also. All we need to do is get on the water with an open mind and a willingness to try different things. If you do, you’ll find yourself looking forward to this mid-summer to mid-fall fishing every year.

– Bob Jensen of fishingthemidwest.com.

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