What To Look For When Fishing: 101

When you get by the water you’ll need to know where the fish like to hide and where they sit and wait for their prey. There is a lot of different structure, weeds, and rocks that you will have to learn to look out for if you want to catch the big one. As you read through and follow up with this site, this will become second nature for you.

For the most part if you are fishing a bobber and just looking to get those pan fish you can find them by docks, amongst weeds, and close to shore. Pan fish are small so they tend to hide in areas that will keep them safe from predatory fish such as in between weeds, behind rocks, or amongst tree stumps. That being said the big fish will also follow those pan fish into the shallows as they too need to eat, and pan fish can make a nice meal for a largemouth bass or a pike. My number one suggestion for fishing pan fish is to bait your hook and just cast it out there. What you will want to do, especially if this is your first time fishing a new body of water, is to locate just how far off shore the fish are hiding.

First cast pretty close, you’d be surprised how close to shore fish can tend to hide. If you think about it this makes perfect sense. Where do a lot of the insects, frogs, leeches, and other creepy crawly things that fish like to eat live, that’s right close to the shore! How close is close you ask? That depends on how quickly the water becomes deep, what we call the drop off point. If you come up to the shore to inspect your fishing locale look into the water, you can usually see right through the shallow water and see where the drop off begins from the shore. There are also tons of variations throughout the lake and have a good fish finder should help you find those spots. This drop off is where the fish cruise and peer into the shallows for a quick snack. It is also an excellent place for fish to run into deeper water or come up closer to shore depending on the time of day, how warm the water is, and where the food is. Fish the drop off and you won’t be disappointed.

Another favourite hiding spot for fish is structure. What we define as structure is a stump or tree in the water or even a pile of rocks. These offer fish a variety of places to hide from predatory fish but they also attract a ton of the bigger predatory fish. A tree in the water is a great place for fish to catch insects that slip off the tree and end up in the water. Trees and stumps are my favourite honey holes for fishing that never seem let me down. As you become a better angler you’ll be able to throw your bait right in and around these types of structures without getting caught in the branches. I find that with some practice and getting tangled a few times you will quickly learn just how to cast right into the sweet-spot of different types of structure. The picture below is an excellent example of the type of tree structure that I am talking about. If you look closely you can see the bottom of the lake so you know its shallow but yet I have fished this tree many times and have always been able to pull out a few nice largemouth bass. Throwing a lure or even a worm on a bobber can prove to be productive in this situation.

Fallen Tree Structure

Fallen Tree Structure

Flooded Tree Structure

The other type of structure that holds a ton of fish is weed beds and lily pads. Small fish tend to hide inside the weed beds where they know they are protected, so if you are looking for a day of pan fish this is perfect. However if you want to bring in the big one the best place the throw a lure or a minnow on a bobber is right at the edge of any weed bed. This is where the big boys like to cruise and snap off any little guys that have come out of the weeds.

Lilly pads are a favourite of largemouth bass. They will hide in and amongst the pads waiting to pounce on something that is swimming by. What I love to so, and it offers a very exciting way to fish, is to throw a top water lure in the lily pads. A top water lure can include a frog, a mouse, or my favourite top water lure the “Jitterbug”. I have caught numerous largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and perch on these lures. The beauty of fishing a top water lure is that you can see where the lure is going so you can avoid getting it stuck on the pads, but what ultimately provides the most fun with this lure is seeing and hearing the fish attack it. Top water fishing has to be some of the most exciting methods to use.

So just to re-cap remember to look for a drop off, structure, weeds, or lily pads when fishing. Casting your lure or bobber out in the middle of a lake can bring you the occasional fish, but if you look for any of the items described you will be sure to catch more fish, improve your abilities, and you will start to think like a fish.