When you’re bass fishing, how often do you take a few minutes to just look into the water? Do you pay more attention to the cover above the water line than what’s below? Do you rely more on your electronics more than the contrasts in depth and color shades that your naked eyes can easily distinguish? The reason I ask these things is not to plug my favorite polarized sunglasses. I ask because a lot of people I’ve fished with over the years simply don’t look into the water as much as they should. Whenever someone on my boat catches a fish, I always ask if they saw that fish before casting, saw it move on the lure, or took note if there was any submerged cover that it came off of. Too often, the answer is “no.” And even if it’s “yes,” many times the person will fail to use that clue to direct their fishing for the rest of the day.
Even when the water’s muddy, you might catch the flash of a fish that misses your bait, or the vague silhouette of the top of a barely submerged stump. That may be all it takes to help you figure out a little pattern, but again, you have to be looking. If the water has decent visibility, your eyes are absolutely your best connection to what lies below, and that info can essentially help you predict the outcome of your day. Just seeing one bass relating to a lone piece of wood surrounded by rocks is invaluable, and not something a fishfinder will make clear.
A good dock fisherman, for example, is not good only because he can skip a lure under the planks. He’s good because he sees more than the obvious casting targets above the water, like that one barely visible broken-off piling, or the top of a submerged brush pile below the walkway. The same goes for an angler that excels at fishing grass or cranking submerged ditches. You can bet that he see’s every hole and every curve, every change in veggie type, and every subtle water color contrast to gauge depth or grass maturity levels. If you’re lacking in the looking department, it’s a resolution I strongly suggest making. I promise it will help you catch a lot more fish. Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for reading in 2014!