Let’s be honest, with the obligations of work or school taking up much of our daily schedules, it can be hard to find time to get out on the water at all, let alone only on the weekends. It just isn’t that common to see anglers on the water during the week these days, which forces many of them to limit their fishing to weekends. This angling pattern can create different challenges, though, and today I have a few tips for the weekend warriors out there that might help bring more fish to the boat on your days off work each week.
I’ll start be letting you know up front that bass behavior tends to change a bit on the weekend. They’re not smart enough to go into preemptive hiding on Saturdays or Sundays, but their internal clock creates an instinctive awareness of the increased amount of pressure during the weekend, and they adjust their activity accordingly. Anglers who are only able to fish on the weekend will have to accept this increased difficulty right off the bat, in order to quell any potential frustration due to inactivity.
Your first tactic on weekend trips will be to locate cover. Increased fishing pressure will push bass off the easy targets and into the thickest cover available, which means anglers must make precise casts directly into fish hideouts. It’s critical to make the first cast to each target count, and you can do this easier by picturing where the fish might be in the cover. If you make a lot of noise or miss the mark, any bass that might have been attracted to your lure will go on the defensive. Fishing pressure also forces bass from shallow-water cover into deeper water. When nearby depths offer plenty of cover, chances of success improve because fish feel secure and become more aggressive. Anyone who finds several large stumps in deep water near an area where there’s a lot of pressure may discover a more aggressive school of bass. If others in the area are fishing deep, however, the bass may move shallower, especially if the shallows offer abundant cover. This is when more stealthy tactics, such as flipping, are your best technique.
Aside from simply capitalizing on a bass’ need to hide when fishing pressure is high, you can also stand out from the crowd and do things differently to catch them on highly-fished weekends. Sometimes, you simply can’t get away from a crowd. When this happens, you must find ways to fish around it by being different. For example, if you’re forced to follow other boats along a bank, purposely go with different presentations, or rather than follow other boats the same direction along a bank, go the opposite direction and use different lures, or at least different colors. In deep water situations, go with a vertical presentation if everyone else is going horizontal. Furthermore, if an area known to produce fish is being pressured heavily, seek other places that probably hold fewer fish. No, such locations might not hold as many fish as the popular spots, but there will be fish that haven’t been hassled as much. You’d be surprised at what such differences can do for your results.
When you’re forced to limit your fishing activity to the weekends, you’re presented with a different set of challenges than others. The tips outlined above will help you catch fish when their instincts tell them to go into hiding on the weekend and they just aren’t as eager to bite as they would be during the week.