To the back of creeks and churn the water as they gorge themselves before the upcoming
You can catch a lot of bass a lot of different ways. With so many options, choosing can be overwhelming but with the current drought situation we facing at the moment, this certainly throws a “spanner in the works”. So how do you go about approaching a low water level and highly pressured dam?
I believe this four point step is the most reliable method to put you on the money.
“To understand the owl, study the mouse”, quoted US bass pro Rick Clunn. This is so true in locating bass. It is important to know what the baitfish are doing because if you can locate the baitfish, you will find the bass. It’s unfortunate today that most anglers have the misconception that weather is the cause for most of bass behaviour, but actually it’s the baitfish. “Study the mouse to see what makes the owl tick”, therefore study the bass food- baitfish. Bass follow the bait and thus most of bass movements are due to the bait behaviour under the certain weather circumstances. Yes, weather affects the activity level of bass but they will always be in close proximity of their food, and its main course meal is baitfish.
If you want to dial in to bass, research the bait. Get to know what species are in the given dam, their habits, movements, behaviour and spawning periods, etc. (Great information on bass prey can be found on the SA Bass website - Ed).
Match the hatch is an important rule of thumb. Always be sure to match your lure size to the bait the bass is zoning on. A good pair of polarized sunglasses can be a valuable accessory.
By general lack of shoreline vegetation, contour break lines plays a bigger role. A contour break line is a perceptible change in the bottom contour, it can be anything from a sharp 6ft drop to a subtle sloping ridge or a 3ft drop in mining ditches found commonly in Zimbabwe lakes. Whichever form of break line it is, bass use these as migrating routes following bait to the back of the bays or creeks. Finding contour breaks next to large flats can be excellent areas to start. Otherwise start from the point of a bay and work your way down to the back of the bay and locate where they are.
Bass form “little wolf packs” this time of the year, bunching up and cruising the shallows. They seem more orientated on the baitfish than cover in autumn. If you can intercept the bait and migrating routes in a bay, you will find bass. Isolated cover, stumps, lay-downs, etc. is perfect pit stops along these routes, so be sure to make a cast.
A personal successful technique is small crankbait cranking. Cranks diving to depths of 12ft can be purchased, get a variety of different depth diving baits to cover all depths of contour breaks under 12ft, I wouldn’t go deeper than 12ft.
If there’s one aspect of fishing the trio combo of break lines, bait and adjacent flats, it is timing. Timing is everything and this requires an attribute that angler’s lackpersistence!
To find a productive area is just the first hurdle, but the willingness to return to an area several times a day is what separates the average from better. A few factors like wind, current or whatever it may be can activate those bass and that’s when you want to be right in the midst of the action as the “little wolf packs” bust in on the flipping baitfish. You have to be willing to keep at it until you hit it right even when it means revisiting areas a few times a day. It becomes a whole lot easier to figure things out once a place turns on.
“We all know that bass fishing is not all physical, but 80% mental”, as bass pro Kevin VanDam said on an interview I once watched. The mental aspect of bass fishing might not seem important to some, but I’m sure most of us can refer back to a time when you realised it does. May it have been fishing your local divisional tournament with