The Tip of the Week Presented by Jackson Kayak
Keep the Faith to Find Hidden Fish
By Drew Gregory
At some point in my bass fishing development I began to realize something critical. There is, actually, more to fish than the bank of the lake or river.
A strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence, is faith. And, faith is what you’ll need in order to confidently fish these spots. Like religious faith, faith in these areas takes time to develop. However, it can be developed quicker today due to technology -notably clear satellite imagery/ Navionics, GPS, fish finders and some common sense tips on how to read the water.
Satellite imagery and Navionics:
In clear water, satellite imagery can actually show structure under the water. During a tournament I did well in recently I used my iPad to look for structure (brush piles, rock piles etc) that other anglers couldn’t find. The iPad also shows my location so all I have to do is line myself up with a significant object that I can physically see, in person and on the iPad (big tree, point, gap in the treeline etc.). Once you’re lined up to where your lure should hit the structure it usually only takes a couple casts to find it and/or the fish.
I’m not going to spend too much time here because most people know they are a good way to find drop offs, rock piles, submerged trees and old river/creek beds etc. They should almost be called structure finders because that’s what I use them for – finding the zone. You can then make casts in that area to determine if fish are there.
Some (not so) common sense tips:
In rivers most anglers know that fish hang out in current breaks to save energy and wait for easy meals to drift by. Of course, most current breaks are visible and those are the ones that people mostly cast at – exposed rocks, logs, and cut outs made by the bank. A bass doesn’t care how or where the current break is, just that they are resting in one. An exposed rock or log protruding above the water’s surface creates an obvious current break. Other rocks create breaks that are not obvious. When a rock or log that you cannot see protrudes off the bottom of the river a couple feet it is also creating a nice calm spot for a bass to rest in.
How do you know that it’s there? In a river you can see turbulence on the surface that clues you in that something is below creating that turbulence. From there you must have faith in those casts and stick with it.
Current seams (calm water next to swift water) mid-river also hold fish. The seam is the result of water forced to travel a certain path. Fish are often in the middle of the river sitting on the calmer side of the seam looking into the swifter water.
On lakes these current seams are also there, but more subtle. They’re created by wind blowing off a point or in tight areas of a lake (bridge, narrow gap between points) when a dam is releasing water downstream.
On both lakes and rivers you can also looks at the trees that line the bank to help you determine what kind of bottom will be near that part of the lake/river. Although I could tell you which trees give you clues that there might be boulders down below, I’ll leave that for homework to be done by those who really want that extra edge.
Lastly, don’t forget when the volume of water is high in a river, or you’re fishing this structure deep on a lake, you may have to use heavier baits and rods than you’re used to. I often use one-quarter ounce to one-ounce spinnerbaits and jigs to make sure my lures are getting to the bottom and knocking off of those rocks and stumps that I know fish are hiding behind.
Stick with it, keep the faith and eventually it will pay off!
Drew Gregory is kayak river fishing’s foremost authority – if the man didn’t invent it, he’s arguably done more than anyone else to get the word out. Geese have a thing for him. Gregory is a Jackson Kayak factory team pro staffer, and also the mind behind the River Bassin’ Trail.