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Three Simple Steps for Finding Bass In Unfamiliar Water

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May 06, 2013

Three Simple Steps for Finding Bass In Unfamiliar Water

By Dave Wolak

A few weeks ago, a reader asked a question that I probably get more often than any other: How do you figure out where to fish on new body of water? The truth is, there is a ton of detail that goes into breaking down unfamiliar water to find fish, but the initial steps are fairly concrete. In the tournament game, the process has to be sped up, because I need to find the right class of bass fast. Recreational anglers have the luxury of chipping away at a body of water over time. But if you’ve been hesitant to splash the boat in a new lake for fear of getting skunked, here are three key factors that I lean on every time I hit new water. They'll help make the decision of where to fish much easier.

1. Find the Grass - It's a simple, universal rule. If the lake or river has grass, you should be fishing around it. Aquatic vegetation offers a home for forage, oxygenates the water, and provides cover. Large populations of bass immediately find it and use it. Now, what takes time is figuring out which species of vegetation holds the most and biggest bass in that body of water. But even if you find grass that’s not fully established because of weather patterns or growth stage, bass will most likely live somewhere around it, even if only temporarily.

2. Deep Water Access – Bass are naturally always in survival mode, and as a bass matures and gets smarter, it elevates its level of survival mode by using its topographical environment. Big bass don’t like to be in a position where they can’t escape quickly, so always look for areas with fast access to deep water. Even if a big bass commits to an ultra-shallow area to spawn, more times than not I see that location somewhere near deeper water or abundant cover that they can reach quickly to chill out for a while if they are threatened.

3. The Current Factor – Most bodies of water have some sort of current flow, whether it occurs naturally in a river, is produced by prevailing wind on a lake, or is manufactured on demand in a reservoir by a power-generating station. In all cases, current plays a huge role in where bass post up. The funny thing is, sometimes the fish seek current and use it to feed on prey in the flow; other times, such as when the current is running too hard, bass just want to be out of the flow in quieter water. Once you find an area of current, it’s up to you to figure out how the bass are relating to it by working in the flow and in the eddies and surrounding calm spots.

Comments (10)

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from buckhunter wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Dave, Is is good to stay away from brown or dying vegetation?

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from David Wolak wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Good question:
It depends on the surrounding choices so the answer will vary. I would say generally yes, but not always. Some brown or dying vegetation has various adverse effects on oxygen levels, PH, ect which steers bass away to other choices. You see that mass exodus in instances like when grass is sprayed. Sometimes they are there for cover mostly, so they just deal with it. Some lakes don't offer better choices at the time, some do. The general trend in my experience has been to find the green stuff. That's where more and better ones live and are thriving. thanks.

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from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Congrats on the caricature and new blog name.

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from buckhunter wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Joe, Did you not get my 1,764 emails asking to be Merwin's replacement?

I guess I understand. Wolak is a hell of a lot better looking than me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nick Anderson wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

You should also check out www.findmefish.com It's a new website where locals post their hot spots and you can buy for pretty cheap. Cool site.

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from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

Nick, You must be new to the internet and fishing spot speak, welcome!

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from badsmerf wrote 49 weeks 22 hours ago

Dave, how do you find grass? Usually, I find it by picking some up on a deep diving crank, snagging it with a texas rig or some other chance method.

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from David Wolak wrote 48 weeks 5 days ago

There is really no one method to finding grass. Grass sometimes will grow in an area one year then not the next. Generally it's best to look in flatter areas. Just keep poking around though, it's worth finding. thanks

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from tleichty1989 wrote 46 weeks 6 days ago

Its no fun to spend the whole day on the water and not catch anything. Then again with me it happens a lot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cheapo91 wrote 41 weeks 5 days ago

I just found a new lake to fish about 15 minutes away from my house. You can't launch a boat at this lake so I have to bank fish, but these tips were very useful and helped me find out the patterns of some of the fish.

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from buckhunter wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Joe, Did you not get my 1,764 emails asking to be Merwin's replacement?

I guess I understand. Wolak is a hell of a lot better looking than me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Dave, Is is good to stay away from brown or dying vegetation?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Good question:
It depends on the surrounding choices so the answer will vary. I would say generally yes, but not always. Some brown or dying vegetation has various adverse effects on oxygen levels, PH, ect which steers bass away to other choices. You see that mass exodus in instances like when grass is sprayed. Sometimes they are there for cover mostly, so they just deal with it. Some lakes don't offer better choices at the time, some do. The general trend in my experience has been to find the green stuff. That's where more and better ones live and are thriving. thanks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 2 days ago

Congrats on the caricature and new blog name.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nick Anderson wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

You should also check out www.findmefish.com It's a new website where locals post their hot spots and you can buy for pretty cheap. Cool site.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 49 weeks 1 day ago

Nick, You must be new to the internet and fishing spot speak, welcome!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 49 weeks 22 hours ago

Dave, how do you find grass? Usually, I find it by picking some up on a deep diving crank, snagging it with a texas rig or some other chance method.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 48 weeks 5 days ago

There is really no one method to finding grass. Grass sometimes will grow in an area one year then not the next. Generally it's best to look in flatter areas. Just keep poking around though, it's worth finding. thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tleichty1989 wrote 46 weeks 6 days ago

Its no fun to spend the whole day on the water and not catch anything. Then again with me it happens a lot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cheapo91 wrote 41 weeks 5 days ago

I just found a new lake to fish about 15 minutes away from my house. You can't launch a boat at this lake so I have to bank fish, but these tips were very useful and helped me find out the patterns of some of the fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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