How to Find Largemouth Bass on a New Lake by Fred Kane (c) 2001 Occasionally your buddy and you decide to fish a new small body of water out of your home area. What is the best approach? Where do you fish? What lures do you use? What is the best presentation? Bass are the same coast to coast and they follow patterns they repeat over and over. Bass always need food, sanctuary, a comfort zone and a proper oxygen account. GET INFORMATION- Before driving to the lake your best bet is to call or write the local newspaper sports writer for the area you wish to fish. Give him your date of arrival. Tell him you plan to fish for largemouth bass and whether you plan to rent or tow your own boat. Ask him if he can recommend a boat livery? Does the boat livery have a decent launch ramp, so if you tow your boat you won't have problems launching and retrieving. Is there adequate parking? If you decide to rent a boat you'll need a small motor. Does the boat livery rent motors along with it boats? Ask what section of the lake has the largest population of bass? WHAT IS THE BEST APPROACH? Also talk to your fishing friends, and local tackle store owners about the body of water. Maybe somebody's Uncle Charlie fished the lake and knows the waters. Obtain as much advance information as possible. Call your wild life management office to find the responsible officer for the lake and speak with him. If possible secure a map of the lake. With a map of the lake you can find the streams and creeks entering the lake. Find any land marks on the map. Also you can find the area with a good shallow, weedy flats with deep water nearby. At your kitchen table find the 15 per- cent of productive water on the map. Divide the lake into four sections. Mark the areas on the map you feel will be productive and follow your instincts and knowledge of bass behavior. Find the points of the lake on the map. Jimmy Houston says, "If I never saw a body of water I would fish points first." WEATHER- Find out if the weather changed drastically or there was a shift in the water temperature. Bass will seek an area where the water temperature remains constant. Being cold blooded, bass will adjust their body temperature to the water temperature and this area becomes the comfort zone. FOOD- Rocks hold crayfish. One of bass' favorite foods is crayfish and any area holding crabs will bring bass to the area to feed. Most anglers using crayfish imitating lures will usually fish rocky sections of a body of water. Crevices in these rocky areas have dead meat wedged in the cracks that draw leeches followed by the bass. Lily pads draw frogs and insects. An unsuspecting frog that decides to swim among the lily pads often becomes a meal for "old bucket mouth." Also on the under side of the lily pads insects live and small fish eat the insects followed by the bigger bass. Another good holding spot is under over hanging trees. Bugs and insects fall from the trees into the water, luring bait fish to the spot followed by bass. The predators gulp up the insects and bait fish immediately. SANCTUARY- usually refers to the deeper water off a drop off or point where a bass swims to avoid problems and be safe. In most bass feeding grounds you will find a drop off next to the feeding grounds so the bass may rest after eating. HOLDING SPOTS- Largemouth bass lie beside logs, pilings, dock supports or a large boulders off the weed line and use these as ambush points. Immediately after the bass attacks his prey he returns to his ambush spot. Ambush points will always attract bait fish followed by the predators. COMFORT ZONE- usually refers to an area where the bass can adjust his body temperature to the water temperature with little change. Bass find the comfort zone at about 65 degree Fahrenheit. OXYGEN COUNT- Without aeration the weeds won't grow, flowers don't bloom, minnows and crayfish and other bass foods die and the bass without food eventually dies. An example of this is a small pond next to a large lake in my home town. During the summer months the big lake washes so much sand to the mouth of the inlet to the pond that the pond has no inlet or outlet. When the air temperature reaching the high 80s and 90s without aeration from the main body of water the weeds, prey and predators die. The pond will not come back to life until spring when the water rises above the sand bar. WHERE DO YOU FISH? Check with the marina owner as to where he knows the bass strike hard and fast. On a new lake do as Jimmy Houston suggests, fish points. Now find the outside edge of a weed bed that has sanctuary nearby. Any structure will hold bass so examine these areas of the lake. If you have a particular area of any body of water you like to fish then go there and fish it like you do in your home waters. WHAT LURES TO USE? My fishing buddy uses spinner baits around docks and sunken trees followed by presenting a rubber worm. The spinner bait will cover more water and can entice a strike. Many bass anglers prefer a white or yellow skirted, silver, single bladed spinner bait to start with. If successful with a spinner my partner stays with it or changes to a rubber worm. The worm should be black or purple in color and about 8 inches long. Most bass anglers use a Texas or Carolina rig when fishing a plastic worm. POINTS- Fish from shallow to the deepest part of the structure. When fishing a point use several presentations. In the shallows use spinner baits and worms rigs across the shallow end of the point. As you move deeper on the point, crank baits and lipless crank baits prove productive. What body of water doesn't have sunfish, minnows and perch. Crank baits emulating these bait fish will bring bass to the net. Finally at the deepest part of the point use a jig or jigging spoon. WHAT IS THE BEST PRESENTATION? - When angling lily pads with a worm rig always cast beyond the pads and then twitch the worm slowly across the tops of the pads. As you slowly retrieve the worm across the lily pads you may see the pads move behind your worm. Often my buddy will work the worm across the pads, stop and let a little part of the worm dangle over the edge of the pad. Be prepared for a boil. I wasn't ready the first time and when the water boiled, the pads opened up as a big bass attacked the worm. It startled me so I jumped. The next time I prepared myself. Any of these places are holding spots for lake bass and the fish are in five to fifteen feet of water. The best lake is one you can fish in one day and find the honey holes after five to seven trips. KNOWLEDGE- Use your bass knowledge. Listen to the fish talking to you. When you generate a strike, note your approach, where you fished, the lure you use and the presentation. Now look for the same structure elsewhere on the lake and repeat your presentations. Always watch for fish locators. Diving birds mean bait fish with predator fish below. Cast your lure into the school of bait fish using lures that imitate the bait fish. Turtles on a log mean small food fish nearby and structure. Don't back off fishing a log with turtles. They eat bait fish too and the bass will be near the log. Your plastic worm works well by turtle sitting logs. As they say in space age movies: preparation will get you there with the RIGHT STUFF.