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With all the baits out there available to us as anglers, all of them rely on the many senses that fish have available to them to be effective. Spinner-baits with the big flashy blades thumping thru the water attract the visual, as well as the lateral line of the fish we are chasing triggering the strike. Many soft plastics mimic the look and often the scent of the meal that we want to present to the fish. The trend of today’s big lifelike swim-baits are a great example of the visual trigger that we are looking to get out of the fish. With all these things I think it is pretty clear that we are relying on the senses of the fish we are after to locate and take our offering. What about our senses? What are you relying on to try and locate and catch fish. We also have many great tools at our disposal that are God Given, not store bought. Most of us unless limited in some way physically, have the tools necessary to be successful on the water, we just need to train ourselves on how to use them properly. One of the most important and often overlooked is our sense of touch or feel. How do we hone that skill and make it one of our strong points? That’s what I want to touch on (pardon the pun) in this article. Here are a few things that I do that help me feel my way around a body of water.

The first thing that I try to do that helps is to use enough weight. Often we are not getting in contact with the bottom, which is where a lot of the food that fish are targeting is located. If you are fishing a technique such as a jig or worm, and you are not sure that you are getting to the bottom add some weight. So much can be learned from having contact with the bottom. You can often determine bottom composition and also locate structure that you would never notice otherwise. When dragging a finesse jig across the bottom and you can feel rocks or timber, that is where you want to let it spend a few extra seconds. Often, you will locate some underwater difference that the fish tend to key on. If you are gliding over without hitting bottom you may be passing up some great opportunities so don’t ignore what you feel on the bottom.

Another technique that relies heavily on feel is the drop shot. For years, I shied away from this very effective technique. I never felt like I had any clue as to how to fish it successfully. The turning point for me was finally using enough weight to actually get my rig on the bottom to feel what it was doing. With the correct weight I was able visualise what my bait is doing in relationship with the bottom as well as feel what type of bottom or cover i am in. having your weight on the bottom is integral in getting the right action out of any dropshot offering and your success will increase with time.

The last technique that I think that feel is not utilized enough is in crankbait and spinner-baits. Next time you are throwing a crankbait try and get it to bounce off the bottom and off of structure. I promise that you will improve your bite when you are doing more that just pulling it through the water column. Same thing with spinner-baits. Don’t be afraid to throw right into the thick stuff. Sure you may get snagged, but often that will be the difference between casting practice and catching fish. In my opinion if you aren’t feeling the structure and occasionally getting snagged, you may not be getting into the best spots.

Bass always seem to relate to some kind of cover. They like edges and cover to conceal themselves to get the advantage when feeding and relaxing. If you want to get your bait where they are, you are going to have to get in the same cover. So, Next time out on the water take the time to slow down and try these tips to get in contact with what’s under the water. It has made me a better angler and I know it will you also.