Tips for fishing a new body of water.

Something that has really become a favorite thing to do is fish new water. When I was fishing from a boat I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on gas for the truck and boat to try new lakes, so I would always stay close to home. I would spend all my time on wheeler lake in Decatur. The lake was close to me, I knew all the ramps and had a few spots close to most of them. Now that I have moved to a kayak I have been able to move to many new lakes that I was not able to get to before. Some of the lakes are no gas motor lakes, some are well known lake like Weiss lake, Smith lake, and Wilson lake. 

Time of year matters the most. If you are going to Guntersville in spring bringing your frogs likely isn’t going to be your best bet. 

1. Spend some time on Google.

 Check the local guide reports. What are the guys that do this for a living doing with their clients? These guys post a ton of information for you to look at right at your fingertips. 
 Check the maps of the lake. Knowing what area that you want to launch at. Knowing the area that you are heading to can save you a lot of time. Also look at maps like Navionics chart viewer. Starting the day at a ramp that doesn’t have the type of water you want can be a real drag. Checking the maps can put you right where you want to be from the start.
 Look at the aerial photos of that area. Be sure that you know a general time of year when the photos were taken. 
 Watch some YouTube videos. Watching videos about the lake you are going to can be very helpful.  

2. Know what to start with.

This will depend a lot on what time of year that you are fishing. Spending time tying on 10 different baits on the water can make you a lot less efficient and keeps the lure out of the water. The fish are in the water not in your tackle box.  

 

 Spring  The fish are going to be targeting bait fish in the shallow water getting ready to spawn.The same baits will also cover you after the spawn when the fish are feeding back up. These are not the only baits that will produce. A buzz bait can be an amazing bait as the water warms up on a sunny day. Don’t be afraid of it, not a lot of people are throwing it. 

Chatter-bait. This is one of the best prespawn baits that you will find. It is not the best bait around wood and rocks. Open flats and grass flat this bait will flat out shine. 

Swimbait. The storm 360GT or the kietecheasy shiner

 

Lipless crankbaits. Red or chrome. Play with the weights some. 

Swim jig

    Texas rig plastics. Yum dingers and Senkosare a go to this time of year. Depending on the area and the water depth I will sometime throw it weight-less. Lizards are another favorite of mine. Green pumpkin or June bug are the colors that I prefer.

 

 SummerTry these baits when the fish have moved back out deep to the humps and ledges. 

Football Jigs. I like big heavy jigs in green pumpkin or black. 

Deep crankbaits. 20-25ft worked on ledges and humps.  

Big worms. Zoom olmonster is my go to. I like it in black and green pumpkin with a pegged 3/8 to ½ oz tungsten bullet weight. 

Frogs on grass lakes. There is a time when the fish are going to move back shallow and get in the grass. This usually happen at the end of summer/early fall. In Alabama the outside temp would struggle to tell you that fall has started but the water temps are starting to drop and the grass beds are starting to die off and turn to mats. When this happens pull out your frog rod and go to work.

 

 Fall – Fall fishing can one of the best times to get on the water. The fish will typically move to the backs of the creeks and pockets chasing bait. Fast moving baits and top water bait will produce some amazing numbers and some big fish. 
  • Spinnerbait. Throw you favorite one. I like a 3/8oz white or chartreuse and white willow blade. I always run a trailer hook.    
  • Fluke. Zoom flukes are always in my boat somewhere. Weightless, I target schooling fish with this more than anything else. 
  • Sammy. This is go to bait for fishing fall. The fish can’t help but to eat this bait.
 Winter – this time of year can be a headache. It cold often cloudy and the fishing can be slow.  
  • Football Jigs. Working a football head jig on a rip rap bank is a good way to pick up a few winter time bass. The will improve as the sun gets higher and warms up the rocks. 
  • Jerk baits. Once the water temp drops below 55 there is always a jerk-bait tied on. Play with the twitches and pauses. The fish will tell you what they like.  
  • Shaky head worms. Shaky head worms fished on light line is a soild winter time bait. 

3. Speed up a little. 

I like to cover more water on a new lake. Spending an hour working a jig around a rock wall as your first option may land you a fish or two but will take a lot of time to tell you a solid pattern. Covering a lot of water quickly should give you a good idea on what the fish are relating to and help you break down what you are looking for.  Once I can figure out what the pattern is I will slow down some and try to pick apart a smaller area. I really like a Spinnerbait, squarbills and, Chatter-bait. for this.Once a have came up with a decent pattern I will change things up a little and fish that pattern. That doesn’t mean that I will put down the spinnerbait and start fishing a worm. It just means that I will spend more time working a laydown or weed bed. You will often find that there is a pattern in a pattern. You will realize that the larger fish are often on the inside of a corner on the weed bed or that most bites come from the middle of the laydown vs the front or back of it. Think about your catches when one bites. It will tell you a lot. 

4. If you’re struggling Fish the wind. 

You can almost start with this and if you are unable to do anything thing else you should start with this. Fishing a wind-blown bank is something that we all know. Yes, it can be a challenge in a kayak sometimes, but it can be worth it. Fish chase bait its that simple. Wind pushes the bait against the bank and give gives the fish an advantage in that chase. The bait fish can’t fight against the wind and then they are stuck. 

5. Have confidence in yourself on the water. 

Having confidence in your ability to catch fish no matter where you are or when you are there is one of the biggest keys to being successful on the water. You can gain this confidence by spending more time on the water and trying new lakes. Just go fishing you start figuring out how to pattern fish and what lures to throw and when to throw them. Throw baits that you believe will catch fish. It doesn’t have to be a bait from the list above just throw something that you like.

 

As I stated in the beginning fishing a new lake is something that I have really grown to enjoy. The excitement of catching your first fish on a lake that you have never been to is a great feeling. Then when you get it figured out and you start catching bigger fish on that lake it will really get your blood pumping. Take these tips and information, use them to piece together a great day on the water. 

 

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