When it comes to their local lakes, most anglers have their own favorite spots and honey holes where they seek out big bass. However, what if you’re fishing new waters or need to bring a few keepers to the boat on tournament day? There are a few ideal locations where experienced anglers head when they’re faced with such situations, and today I’ve listed a few of them to help you out when you share this challenge.
This manmade cover—usually consisting of piles of rock—can be found in most bodies of water. Its network of gaps and holes is a nearly year-round hideaway for much of the prey items bass love to eat, such as crawfish, bluegill, and baitfish. Rip rap is easy to find and easy to fish as well. Medium running crankbaits in patterns that imitate natural prey will effectively pick apart rip rap, while a shay head worm will attract the more stubborn bass.
Fishing points—extended sections of shallow water jutting out into deep water—is one of the most productive tactics you can employ for bass on any given day. Points can be barren or have grass, timber, or rock on them. Also, some points are located out in the main part of the lake, while others can be found at the mouths of coves or back in creeks. On the shallow portions of points, try spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits, and then switch to deeper diving crankbaits or Carolina rigged plastics at the deeper ends. Once you get a bite, find more similar points and you’ll have no problem putting a pattern together.
In areas of a lake where wood or grass cover is scarce, bass tend to hang out around boat docks and even spawn near them. Most anglers pick around the edges of docks and make the easy casts, leaving fish in the interior available to the more persistent angler. Skip or pitch jig with a trailer or other plastic bait (tube, creature, etc.) into these hard-to-reach areas of the dock, and make repeated casts to key areas.
Barren stretches of the lake where there isn’t a lot of cover might not hold a lot of fish, but the ones living in the area will all relate to anything that is there. Whether it’s a lone collection of weeds, a solitary boat dock, a rock pile, or even a few pieces of junk in the water, this isolated cover will be to bass what a roadside diner is to drivers on a road trip. Fish isolated cover from the distance with a spinnerbait or crankbait to catch the active fish, and switch to Texas rigged plastic bait after a bit of time without any action. Believe it or not, a tiny piece of isolated cover can produce multiple fish, even after you’ve caught a few on the same piece of cover. Also, don’t just fish productive areas once; come back later in the day and you’ll likely find a few more fish using the same piece of cover.
Most lakes in the country contain one, two, or even all of the go-to spots I’ve listed, so you’ll have some options available. If you find yourself fishing a new lake and are in a bind when it comes to locating fish, look to the locations outlined above to find big fish and you’ll be reeling in lunkers in no time.