You see them all day long, running at top speed, back and forth, up and down the lake. Then at weigh-in, you hear the same guys, moaning and groaning about the lack of fish and overall bad luck. Everywhere they went they could not find fish. They had a good early bite but after they left that spot, nothing. They had a few small fish but no size, etc. “We burned 40 gallons of gas today, boy was it tough”. Chances are, if you fish much, you know guys like these.”
Fishing Requires Patience
Whether you fish tournaments or just enjoy the occasional weekend trip, patience is a virtue when it comes to fishing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I had left fish biting, pulled up the trolling motor, ran miles across the lake in search of the “bigger, better, deal”; only to find no fish. This is a common error among beginning anglers. Having just spent thousands of dollars on a shiny new bass boat, you can hardly blame them for wanting to speed around the lake. My suggestion however, is to save the boat rides for the wife and kids. Imagine spending some relaxed time in a tandem fishing kayak, you get the idea.
No matter how relaxed our schedules are, we all only have a limited amount of time to spend on the water. And couple that with the fact that fish bite best at certain times of the day, and you’ll see why keeping a line in the water is much more important than running around the lake. During a tournament this becomes especially critical as you generally have only 6-8 hours to fish. And for a fun time, sometimes it is best to just unfold your fishing chair, grab a cold one and wait for the bite!
My Most Successful Fishing Trip
My best finish in a major tournament came as direct result of staying put. There were over 250 teams in the event, and the fish were getting a lot of pressure. My partner and myself had located fish on an early bite in a prime pre-spawn spot. The problem was that the fish we caught tended to be small. Most were just barely keepers. When we arrived at the spot, first thing in the morning, there were about 15 boats already there. Everybody was catching fish, but soon the early bite slowed and all but two of the boats immediately cranked-up and sped away.
At this point we decided to move out and target a deeper creek leading into the cove. Very quickly I caught an eight pound female who was staging in the deeper water. At this point we decided that regardless of what happened we would stay in this area all day. It payed off. We had over 23 pounds, with two fish over 8, and finished 3rd. We didn’t get a lot of bites but the ones we got were good. Oh, and by the way, the other two boats that stayed also finished in the top ten, and I don’t recall any of the guys that left making a check.
Eliminating Bad Water
I realize that there are times when moving can be a good choice, but keep this in mind: Ninety percent of the fish are in ten percent of the water, and eliminating bad water is one of the most crucial elements of success in fishing. Consider using a fish finder for this purpose! And, when you are lucky enough to find fish, stay put.