Hey, are you planning on bass fishing next weekend? If you answered yes, then get ready for a day filled with some combination of the following: Wake-jumping jet skiers and water skiers. Nine guys, three cases of beer, and one life jacket piled into a jon boat that’s getting pulled over by the Water Sheriff. Some guy with the steering cable seemingly stuck in a right turn doing high-speed donuts by the ramp. Or my personal favorite; the music-blasting, mega-wake-making speedboat that comes standard with nine air bags, a retractable water balloon launcher, and the optional Rally Fun Pack. But I don’t let any of that stop me from getting on the lake. This is going to sound crazy, but because I fish heavily pressured waters a lot, I actually like when there are plenty of pleasure boats cruising around. If you can remember these three simple rules, you can use the traffic to help you score plenty of bass despite the army of holiday yahoos that are likely to plague your favorite lake next weekend.
Fish The No-Wake Zones: Sounds trivial right? Not so much, because no wake zones are often overlooked. Although at other times of the year when you’re itching to get on plane “No Wake” buoys are a bummer, on high-traffic days they’re like beacons of hope. In these areas, the fish at least have a chance to chill out and may actually bite because they’re already used to the sound of boats passing through at a slow speed. If you go out on the main lake during midday on a holiday weekend, not only will you eat few scrumptious wakes, you’ll be dealing with churned up bank sediment. This makes water clarity poor and puts the bass on edge.
Think Finesse Right Out Of The Gate: In turbulent, wake-infested water, you often need to present your baits as naturally as possible to trick bass that are on high alert. And I’m not talking about the just the conventional “finesse” methodology of using smaller baits and lighter lines. I’m saying it’s in your best interest to use baits that are as natural looking as possible like straight tail plastic worms, natural colored creature baits, or even smaller skirted jigs with small trailers. Also take that extra second to let that bait sit still in the sweet spot before twitching, or last but not least, taking one or two extra casts to the sweet spot if you didn’t hit it just right the first time. No matter how much holiday weekend madness is happening around them, no matter how wary they become, the bass still need to eat at some point.
Cast Where No Man Would Ever Think Of Casting: If you’re doing your best to hide from the swarm of pleasure boats, assume the bass are, too. Cast to places that are really hard to reach. Let’s say you have a dock with four chains connected to the bank, eighteen pilings, four separate floating platforms and a brush pile underneath the walkway. Most likely the alpha bass lives in the exact spot among all that structure that it will take a miracle cast to reach. You’re going to botch some attempts, but when you nail it, you’ll score big even with wakeboarders ripping past.
On a final note, take time to thank a Vet next Monday and remember those who have died serving our great country. It is because of them that we are able to freely enjoy pastimes like bass fishing. Have a great holiday, and stay safe out there.