How Deep Should I Be Fishing For Bass

Jerry Tate The Legend

Whether it’s hot, sunny, cold, raining or dead calm, fishing is fishing the conditions. Every body of water has a current of some sort, whether it is man-made by boats, dam control, river flow, tide flow, or storms, there is always water movement.  It may be subtle but could still affect a fish’s location.  There are multiple factors when pursuing game fish, but Depth, Speed, Size, Action and Color will make or break your day.

Bass Preference

Understand what a Bass needs before you can locate Bass. The food source is one of the things that will dictate their location which also will depend on the time of year.  Light penetration will also affect the his location. There is great significance in the kind of structure that is in the body of water you will be fishing, whether it is natural by nature or man-made.

Structure

Underwater Structure
Underwater Structure

Structures to consider are submerged trees, bluffs, submerged points, river beds, submerged roads,  living plants, rocks, docks, and dead vegetation. Sometimes dying vegetation will give off toxic chemicals which will affect a Bass and they could migrate from their current position into 2 feet of water or even move out to 50 feet of water. Sometimes they will stay, but become lethargic.


Fish Locators

Fish Locator
Fish Locator

Fish Finders today are so advanced that they give you the bottom contour, as well as the structure below that may possibly hold fish. Today’s electronics can show you the fish and may have GPS capabilities so you can mark your structure for future reference. If the lake is man-made the water will fluctuate and when the water level is down you can go back to that location and see the structure you were fishing, and it may give you the answer as to why the fish migrated to that location in the first place.


Maps

Topographic MapFor future reference you can dissect the area and be able to duplicate the structure and the pattern in another part of the lake, or even at another lake. For example, I have over 1,400 photos of one body of water at its lowest elevation which helped me locate fish and structure when I had my guide service. To see the bottom contour and know that drainage, such as a river bed or wash, does not always run straight, is very helpful. You don’t need to go to this extreme but it has helped me to be successful not only on this one particular body of water but on other lakes as well, no matter the species.

Get a good contour map as there may be one subtle thing like a drop off, rock, river bed, creek or structure that is not on that map that will draw a fish to hold to that location. Sediment over time may change the contour of the bottom so electronics are very important. If you know your equipment you do not need the latest and greatest in order to locate structure or fish.  Although your electronics may be outdated, you can still locate and catch fish.

 

Reference Links

Topographic Maps by State

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