Captain Roger Lee Brown
"The Bass Coach"
When it comes to bass fishing, boat positioning is probably just as important as having your rods and reels on board with you. Using your boat properly while bass fishing can definitely make the difference between catching bass or not catching bass, especially when certain circumstances prevail during the course of the time spent on the water. For example, letís say that you were fishing for bedding bass during the Spring. Many anglers are aware of the sensitivity nature of the bass during this time of the year, they can be very skittish and frighten (or you can spook them) very easily right? Now, you certainly wouldnít want to motor the boat right up on top of the beds and scare the bass before you had a chance to fish for them would you? of course not! In this article I hope to help you understand the importance of boat positioning by giving you a few scenarios that many anglers encounter during the course of their time they spend on the water.
Many of my Bass Fishing School students are amazed when I teach them the importance of boat positioning, especially when theyíre actually shown How and Why one would position his or her boat a certain way while learning to fish the many different environments offered by many bodies of water through out the nation. As important as I feel this subject is, I always teach my students and even my bass charter clients how and why I would position my boat certain ways when fishing: drop-offs, fall-downs, gradual slopes, rip-rap, steep bluffs, current conditions, vegetation, channel contours, rocky areas, points, windy conditions, etc. just to name a few, and when the students and charter clients begin to start understanding the whys and hows of boat positioning, they canít help but to increase their angling skills, confidence, and ability to become better anglers.
First of all weíll need to find some of these areas that you would normally find beds in. Most of the time these bedding areas would be located around: shallow water, structure (usually found in the more shallow water areas), shallow vegetation areas, sandy or hard surface bottoms areas, and especially the warmest shallow water areas you can find.
As I mentioned earlier the bass get very skittish during this spawn period and you certainly wouldnít want to do anything that would spook the bass before you had a chance to fish for them. So first, weíll start with the daily conditions. Letís take a brief moment and think about what the best approach would be for bed fishing if the day offered a bright, sunny sky with no cloud cover. Any Ideas?...... First of all, I would consider the shadow cast of the boat and myself over the beds. Donít think for one minute that the bass wonít spook when they quickly get a shadow cast around a bed area from a boat or a person!.... because they most definitely will, and donít think that a sudden noise made from you or your boat (trolling motor, something hitting the floor, slamming a compartment shut, etc.) in a bedding area wonít spook a bass... think again!
The best approach an angler should use under this situation would be to approach (as quiet as you possibly can) the bed area with the sun in front "facing you!" This will avoid any shadow cast into the bed area before you start fishing the bed, thus not spooking any bass in the area. Secondly, make sure you stop your motor several yards before entering the bedding zone, even including your trolling motor. Many times anglers will carry a "Push-Pole" with them so they can quietly push the boat closer to the beds they plan on fishing allowing them to make as little noise as possible. Now, if the sun is at your back, try (again as quietly as possible) to move your boat around the area to prevent the sun at your back... Get the picture?
There has been times in the past where I have actually got on my hands and knees and approached a bedded area using my hand to steer my trolling motor (on the lowest speed) so I could make my casts close enough to reach the beds.
FISHING DROP-OFFS AND STEEP LEDGES
FISHING POINT DROPS
.....Always think safety first! Donít ever get into rough water situations with a boat that canít handle the rough water.....
.....If fishing during a windy day point your boat into the wind for the best control, or if youíre fishing with the wind (letting the wind push your boat) try using what they call a "sea anchor" or a "wind sock" this is a device thatís been around for many years, you tie it to a cleat towards the back end of the boat, throw it into the water and let it drag behind, while your boat is moving it will open up like a small parachute and slow your boat down......
.....Use an anchor if you need to fish a certain spot (honey hole) always trying to keep your boat pointed into the wind or current for the best control.....
There are many, many, different situations you will encounter over the years of bass fishing and I hope this article will serve as a starting point. As I said before, I canít stress the importance of boat positioning enough especially to my bass fishing school students that really want to learn more than just simply casting different baits. There are many things to learn about the sport of bass fishing for one to become a more consistant, successful angler, and boat positioning is just one piece of the puzzle.
If you have any questions concerning boat control and positioning or may be interested in my 3-day bass fishing school or just a day of bass fishing on Lake Champlain or Lake George, NY, please contact me anytime at my email address: [email protected] or you may phone me at: (518) 597-4240
Until next time! Take Care & God Bless!
"The Bass Coach".....Roger Lee Brown