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Finding / Fishing New Spots

The old reliable fishin’ holes are fun. After several season you establish a “milk run.” Launch, hit your first spot, move down the bank to the next, cast, catch and on to the next. In the search for new scenery and “fresh” fish it’s a little tough to locate another place and then there’s the question of catching fish in an unfamiliar place. Most seasoned anglers are highly unlikely to divulge the exact location of their personal “honey hole.” It’s become common practice now even when shooting the hero shot on your phone / camera you make sure not to include too much background as to identify your spot for the unscrupulous eye to trying to get the details on the scene of your catch.

Enter Google earth. As you travel or in the search for new places the overhead view of the terrain makes spotting a potential place simpler, gaining access may be more of a challenge. Learning who owns easy access or the closest public launch is a start. For private land knowing someone who knows the owner is another maybe. None of these available look for old launches or the most remote public places since they are usually under-utilized. Another distinct possibility is trading places. Seek out the fishing phenomenon in your circle of friends and offer to trade trips. As you travel your GPS is shooting images of the local landscape, have your passengers scope out any existing water holes. If you’ve exhausted all these resources try public waters where fishing pressure may be minimal. Even larger lakes have feeder creeks that may prove inaccessible to larger water craft but will be ideal for kayaks, canoes or small boats.

Finding / Fishing New Spots
You’ve found a new spot, now what’s the best bait to start catching fish? First don’t haul a ton of tackle with the idea of throwing every bait you own in an effort to catch fish. This is no time to get fancy, you’re normal line up of lures is probably more than sufficient unless you are going to a radically different type of water like a shallow lake to a deep highland reservoir, or a small stream to a fast moving river system. Stick with the basics. My goal is to always be able to probe all the water columns. If the surface water temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees I have a few topwater baits for bass. (Surface temperatures can easily be ascertained by using a floating thermometer or even a small pool thermometer. Water temperatures in large part determine the activity level of most fish.) For mid-level connections spinners and square billed crankbaits are excellent choices for largemouth as well as smallmouth or spots aka Kentucky bass. These same baits also draw hits from walleye, pike, white bass and a variety of other of our finny friends. To bump the bottom I’m a fan of jigs, plastic worms and soft plastic creature baits.
Most places are home to multiple species of fish so carrying some multi-purpose lures is advisable. Stringing a few crappie, bluegill or other panfish is always an option. I carry a box dedicated to these fish. Downsizing any bait can also save the day. Smaller baits and slower retrieves will help you find some fish and most often keep you from getting “skunked.” Again to avoid equipment overload you may want to carry a 6 ½ foot medium action spinning rod, a seven foot baitcasting outfit and possibly for even more fun with fish of any size, a light action (or even ultralight) spinning rod with the reel spooled with four or six pound test line. A fly rod is also a possibility.

Finding / Fishing New Spots
Look for casting targets similar to what you usually fish and have proven to deliver the best results. For bass, visible cover in the form of partially submerged wood, aquatic weeds, large rock, points and irregular shorelines all deserve consideration. On some waters, secondary creeks, boat docks and rip-rap banks will often hold a few fish. Match the local forage with your lure choice. You can’t hardly miss with minnow imitators, soft plastic craws and fake frogs.
While there is a high level of comfort to fishing the same spots a little outdoor exploration and experimentation can lead you to what may become a new favorite fishing hole.