man once told me that prepa- ration is the key to success, whether it is bass shing or anything else you’re in- volved with, there is no substitute for being prepared. Another ingredient for success is foresight or the ability to recognize po- tential changes and adapt to them quickly. This as opposed to hindsight is probably one of the hardest things in shing and in life, as it is easy to evaluate changes after they happen and formulate a solution back at the dock. It is not so easy to do that on the water during real time. One of the most asked questions I get while traveling around the country for seminars, appear- ances or tournaments is how we nd sh so quickly, what type of baits do we select and how to approach a strange lake and my basic answer is preparation and fore- sight, both of which often begin well before I ever launch my boat. My preparation begins with some map study that initially may not even in- volve locating speci c shing areas. At rst I like to just get the layout of the body of water in my mind and make mental notes of launch sites, major creeks and bays. I also want to make note of the sun’s posi- tion to determine areas that will receive the most sunlight and warm up quicker. Understanding that the biggest creeks or bays in the given body of water will often hold most of the ingredients a bass needs to live – cover, food and deep to shallow transitions make these a prime candidate to explore during any season, but especial- ly in the springtime. As the waters start to warm up bass begin their annual migra- tion to more shallow areas and locating these key springtime routes bass take will save a lot of time. When it comes time for more intense map study I really like to use the Navionics NavPlanner 2 software for my PC. This tool allows me to have a complete lake map with contour depth lines right on my computer. I can maneu- ver around the lake with my mouse and lo- cate speci c area I want to sh during the day. Furthermore I can place waypoints on the map and transfer this to my Lowrance HDS unit so I know how to get there when I arrive at the lake. It’s also a useful tool for retaining these areas and also performing the opposite task of transferring places I nd on the water back to the software for future use. Speci cally what do I look for when targeting these springtime locations? As stated before, I am looking at a major creek or bay and preferably with the most available sun penetration, but this may still
How one of the points on the map looks in reality.
be quite a large area to dissect. I am go- ing to begin my focus on transition areas where channel swings meet shallow water areas such as points, ats and pockets. As- suming I may have many of these areas located throughout my route, I now have an initial game plan in which to locate some sh. As I start to sh a few of these areas and catch a few, I will discover speci cally what the bass are relating to, in short this is what we refer to as pattern shing.
» THE SEARCH BEGINS
The name of the game for me is being able to maximize my time while ef ciently generating some strikes and the best way I know how to accomplish this is with what
we call search baits. It just does not make sense to start by shing the areas you have located by shing them slow and simply takes too much time, but after I have lo- cated numerous areas I will always retrace my steps and slow down with other presen- tations. In my opinion there are few baits that can dissect an area quite like a crank- bait and I use a one-two punch method de- pending upon the type cover I encounter. Let’s suppose the rst area I come to is a point where the channel swings close by but is visually void of shoreline cover, I need a bait that can search out and tell me if any cover is present underneath the wa- ter. One thing I have to make known is my target area is 8 feet and less as I am look-