I happened upon a story on Foxnews.com the other day about the Colonial-era church pictured below. Thanks to severe drought conditions in Mexico, this structure magically emerged from the Nezahualcoyotl Reservoir, which was flooded in 1966. When fully submerged, a church like this is plenty big enough to fish around all day. But you don’t really need a piece of manmade structure this size to cough up all-day action. With many reservoirs being drawn down this time of year, now is when you want to be out there looking for the manmade stuff, and the search doesn’t begin with fancy electronics like you might think.
It wasn’t long ago that the fishing industry went through a stage where everyone was in a frenzy to get the latest and greatest electronic mapping systems. Now, many of the good bass anglers are realizing that these systems often don’t tell the entire story. In order to get the full picture, anglers are turning to things like old Army Corp of Engineers maps and old paper lake maps they found at a flea market. Those are the real treasure maps that tell the whole story. To find good manmade structure you want to have a feel for where the people of the past lived, how they traveled, and what the social landscape looked like before the area was flooded with water. By the way, don’t think this type of history lesson is insignificant on natural bodies of water. I’ve found plenty of old manmade structures and lakes you’d never imagine once had a road running across them on a barn at the bottom.
I’m kind of a history buff, so this type of lake treasure hunting comes easy for me. Once I find a decent old map, I’ll basically pretend I’m back in time when there was no water. Let’s say the entire back corner I’m looking at was farmland. Then I know that’s where I’m mostly likely to find the remnants of Farmer Jones’s broken down house foundation, or maybe the cobble roadbed leading to it. That needle in a haystack foundation could be a great spot, but if you want more options, find out where there was a town, a busy intersection with a few houses, or a mill dam. Look where the old bridges crossed the creek channel, or even seek out where everyone gathered for prayer. Digging just a little deeper than the crew that made the popular electronic map (the same one that all your peers have) could help you locate that one loaded spot you take your kid or tournament partner to when the bite is super tough.