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Tips for pressured waters
How many times have all of you come across this scenario? You finally get some spare time to get out to your favorite fishing hole only to arrive to find the place virtually flooded with other anglers beating the available water to a froth?
It is enough to make you turn around and go home. But now you can resist that temptation, come down to the waters edge and still catch fish the other anglers missed.
One of the few things I have learned over the years is that when there is heavy pressure on a particular segment of water, it is still possible to catch fish. The reason is simple. Most fisherman usually cast somewhat aimlessly given the amount of water in front of them. They have no strategy
and no real direction. This is where the first part of your success comes in.
Obviously, the fish in the area have in all likelihood seen almost every lure or bait available. But just because they have seen it doesn't mean they will still not respond to it.
In some earlier articles I pointed out that it is necessary for a fisherman to cover the full spectrum of the available water column from top to bottom until you find the one area that the fish are concentrated in.. You accomplish this through topwaters to spinnerbaits and crankbaits and finally jigs and plastic presentations. Obviously there are more lure types available, but if you look over records of tournament wins, the ratios place these lure types in the top.
Armed with this basic strategy, from top to bottom or bottom to top if you are a jig fisherman primarily, you are ready to dissect this pressured water with the precision of a surgeon. I recommend either a top to bottom approach or vice versa and not starting with mid level lures unless the conditions actually call for it.
Again most fisherman have not learned to vary their retrieve speeds to get the maximum depth coverage and cover the most variable presentation factors. Sometimes by simply slowing down your retrieve speed will make the difference. Or it might be the opposite. Speeding the lure up can do wonders. Other times, it might be as simple as changing to a slightly different color variation of what everyone else is using to get the fish to hit.. You get the hint.
The actual retrieve can be and should be considered with every cast. A solid steady retrieve produces, but not usually as often as irregular jerked retrieve. The reason is just because the irregular retrieve possesses more strike stimuli. Add a few jerks to a retrieve and you will be surpised. The jerking motion provokes more strikes.
Another key to consider is to pay specific attention to structural details no one else is paying attention too. Deep inside cuts in weededges, stumpiles, even a few little rocks in sand flat can key fish. You find these
when no one else has and you will probably start catching fish, given you have the right lure presentation and retrieve.
As an angler, you should always be asking your self questions and then seeking to find the answers by eliminating possibilities one by one. Here are some examples
Q: What weather variables are directly affecting the fish in this area that other anglers are probably not paying specific attention to? (Wind, Current, visible cloud cover or lack thereof, water temperature air temperature...)
Q: What structural elements are available? (Rocks, docks, weeds, drop-offs, saddles, humps, ledges, etc)
Q:What is the best method to approach the available structure? (jigging, spinning, cranking, topwaters, slow retrieves, fast retrieves, etc?)
Q: Is live bait an option here? (i.e. various rigs and presentations including tipping jigs and spinners) By asking yourself questions and using the viable methods to eliminate nonproductive possibilities, you will find fish no one has touched.
Next time out on pressured water, remember these general guidelines and success should be yours...Keep those lines wet
Reprinted with permission