Look around before you fish

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James Overstreet

Now’s the time when our bass start moving out, and we have to move out with them. That can be a problem for some anglers, though. Things are easy to see on the shoreline but not so much out in open water. 

The thing about this kind of fishing is that you have to put your lures right on target to get a bite, most of the time anyway. Crankbaits, jigs and Texas rigged plastics need to run right where the fish are located to be effective. 

I admit there are exceptions to this. There are times a bass will chase these baits, but they don’t come along often enough for you to count on them for a livewell full. So, for my thinking it’s best to look around before you start casting. 

The only way I know to find productive offshore spots is to spend hours and hours looking around. There are no shortcuts to this. It’s a matter of watching your electronics while you put your outboard on idle.   

I follow every creek, every channel, every weed line and any rock or wood I can find or that I think might be under my boat. I always have one eye on my Raymarine units, and I mark anything that looks like it might be productive.  

We all want to fish. This is true with pros as well as recreational anglers. But blindly casting around might make you feel like you’re trying, but it won’t make you feel good at the end of the day. It’s no fun to sit behind the steering wheel of your boat for hours at a time staring at a tiny TV looking screen, I know that. But, if you expect to be successful, that’s what you have to do. 

And while we’re talking about watching your electronics it’s important that you take the time to learn how to use them. You need to be able to tell the difference between rock, mud and weeds. And, you need to know how to adjust them so that you get the best information from them as well as how to correctly mark waypoints.

This isn’t hard with modern units. They show information clearly and they’re intuitive. Believe me when I say that to you. You’re talking to a guy who used to do all of this with a flasher. That’s hard. Modern electronics are a dream compared to them.  

Something else that needs to be mentioned is that some anglers overlook when they’re out there searching is their outboard. The importance of it can’t be overstated. Running a big, high horsepower motor for hours on end at idle puts a lot of stress and strain on it. A lot of them will load-up and run poorly in just a few hours. 

I run an Evinrude E-TEC G2 250 H.O. That baby will idle quietly all day and then fire off like a rocket when it’s time to go back to the dock. No stutter, no jerks, no hesitation, no problems. I can’t imagine running anything else. 

If you do what I’m suggesting, you might only fish two or three spots in a day. But those few spots will set you towards catching, instead of fishing.