Find Your Lo­cal 10 Spot

Field and Stream - - ON THE COVER -

Not ev­ery­one lives close to 10-pounder wa­ters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the recipe for dou­ble-digit heaven to fig­ure out which lo­cal lake will give you your op­ti­mum shot at a per­sonal best.

Ge­net­ics Florida-strain bass usu­ally grow big­ger than their north­ern-strain coun­ter­parts, so if you’ve got Florida strains lo­cally, you’re al­ready ahead of the game.

For­age Bass that ex­pend lots of en­ergy for low lev­els of nu­tri­ents can’t reach their peak size and per­for­mance. This is why so many big-bass fac­to­ries are as­so­ci­ated with spe­cific prey like tilapia and giz­zard shad.

Hid­ing Spots Even ge­net­i­cally su­pe­rior bass fry can’t sur­vive if they aren’t pro­tected from preda­tors, and like­wise their for­age also needs that safety net. That’s why so many top lakes have thick, im­pen­e­tra­ble grass­beds or fields of thick tim­ber that pre­vent en­try by any boat.

Wa­ter Qual­ity Plenty of great tro­phy fish­eries have sewage dis­charges and in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment along them, but when you see the veg­e­ta­tion start to die off, or the bait­fish start to dis­si­pate, or the fish of any size start to look un­healthy, you may need to look else­where.

Grow­ing Sea­son Not only do the warm tem­per­a­tures of Mex­ico, Texas, and Florida pro­vide com­fort to the no­to­ri­ously cold-averse Florida-strain bass, but they also keep the fish ac­tive year-round. They may go off­shore dur­ing sum­mer in search of struc­ture-ori­ented cur­rent, but they con­tinue to feed. Fur­ther­more, it spreads out the spawn, giv­ing a year class more chances to suc­ceed.

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