DON'T STOP SHORT--go to the end boundary waters to start...

APRIL FEATURE: Much like explorers of centuries past who searched for the very ends of the earth, bass fishermen would be wise to follow a similar path as they search for catchable fish—especially in “new” waters. The reason, as levels rise from spring run-off or increased tributary flows, black bass explore the newest boundaries of their habitat.

Since the beginning of the modern bass fishing era, anglers have understood this. One of the oldest axioms in the game states: Rising water, fish shallow. Bass fishermen have long observed that as the water level rises, inundating the flat or modestly sloping banks, their quarry could often be found investigating the new real estate.

Logic suggests that there are at least three reasons for this movement to the bank:

–One, the fish must instinctively realize there may be new sources of forage in this freshly flooded zone. Some may be winged insects, some amphibian and some terrestrial, but surely this predator recognizes opportunity.

–Secondly, since bass are not known to travel widely in a given range, their investigation of new, shallow areas allows them to become familiar with this new element within that range. They may react to murky conditions, running water coming into the area, or perhaps unusual or manmade cover that may provide sanctuary or ambush points. In any event, home guard bass know, even need to know their own territory.

–The third reason is instinctive. Spring means spawning season is at hand. Bass would be coming into shallow water to take advantage of warmer water and enough sunlight penetration for their eggs to mature. Locating areas to forage and eventually establishing nests is part of the spring ritual and it may be enhanced if the lake level is rising, or has risen above the norm.

On the one hand, however, rising water can exacerbate the problem of locating specific fishing areas. After all, not only is additional shoreline cover inundated, it is so new there are rarely any tried-and-true spots with which to rely.

Enter Gary Klein, former Oroville resident and 29-time Bassmasters Classic qualifier. His advice is always the same when it comes to tackling new water: “Go to the very ends of the lake and/or tributaries. Go until your boat can hardly float.”

YOU CAN START CASTING when you've reached the end of a particular environment...

His rationale is both logical and even selfish. On the one hand, we already believe that black bass will investigate all the boundary waters in every part of the lake. Traveling to the backs of the arms or creeks assures that every key portion of these extreme ends has been investigated by the fisherman as well.

And from a selfish standpoint, he says specifically, “You never want to get beat by someone who went around the next corner to find the winning fish.”

Ideally, then, the best way look at new water is to view the shoreline as well as what’s below (by sonar) while slowly traveling to the back ends. This will allow the angler to see if these boundary waters are stained or clear, if they offer diverse shoreline cover that could hold fish, or if such boundary areas have obvious signs of bait on sonar or by way of diving or shorebird activity or other clues.

Then once you have explored to the very end of the boundary waters, you can work your way back, stopping to cast at those most promising spots or stretches.


One Response to “Where to start? Go to the very ends…”

Great read as always, George.