Few things are more rewarding for an angler than having a lake (or at the very least, a fishing hole) all to himself. There is something magical about cruising across glass-smooth water and seeing nothing but a tree-lined shore, the occasional bird, and an orange sun glimmering on the morning water. Life doesn’t get any better.
But let’s face it, we don’t always get that experience. Far more often, you’re fishing on crowded lakes, trying to find a spot for yourself without encroaching on other anglers. Some days, especially the weekends, it seems impossible to have a successful catch without bumping into your fellow boaters.
What’s an angler to do? With these tips, you can have a great day on the water no matter how many boats are crowding the lake...
Leave Plenty of Space Between You and Another Boater: When you are on the water, make sure you give plenty of space between you and other anglers. Don’t crowd people, don’t obstruct casting lines, and always let people pass, even if they don’t return the same courtesy.
There’s No Such Thing as “My Spot”: Even if you were at the spot the previous morning and marked a dozen fish, you still don’t have an inherent right to that location. If you come back and someone is fishing on “your” spot, it’s time to find a new one. Chances are high that the encroaching angler marked fish here as well, so you’ll just have to keep moving.
Slow Down Near Other Anglers: When an angler is fishing with trolling motor out and a line in the water, show some decency and slow down. The last thing you want is a big wake tossing your boat around, so offer the same courtesy to your fellow anglers.
Go with Natural Colors: When bass get lots of pressure, they eventually start to recognize artificial colors and lures, so it’s often a smart strategy to go with natural bait colors like browns, green, silver, and white. Bass don’t have a problem finding baitfish and crawdads, so don’t assume that your dark-colored lure is invisible, even in murky waters.
Mix Your Presentations: Bass will see the same presentation over and over again, so mixing up your retrieve and presentation tactics is essential. Many anglers will slow down their retrieve, giving fish a chance to catch up and make a strike, while others will cast to a single spot over and over and over again, hoping to agitate a fish into biting.
Go After Dense Cover: What areas do most anglers avoid? The dense, thick, snag-infested regions. Throw on a weedless jig and fish the areas that most angler would never approach. These spots often hold bass and other species that have yet to see many lures or feel the pressure of a crowded lake, so the chances are high that they’re waiting for a good meal...
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Kyle Alsop and Taylor Bivins of Kansas State University are the winners of the 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, thanks to a series of consistent weights. They finished the tournament on Kentucky's Green River Lake with 36 pounds, 4 ounces.
The Kansas State team was the only one in the field of 89 teams to bring in more than 10 pounds every day.