(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)
Much of the bass fishing media focuses on large, tournament-ready bodies of water, famous places like Guntersville, Okeechobee and even the Delaware River. They are certainly worthy subjects of that coverage, but for many beginning or shore-bound anglers, they may not be viable places to fish.
“There’s some inherent problems for a bank angler, for a new angler, when you’re directed to a new body of water,” said The Bass University co-founder Pete Gluszek. Your access to prime sections of the lake may be limited. During the heart of the summer on Kentucky Lake, for example, when the majority of the bass are out on the ledges, they may simply be inaccessible to newcomers. That breeds frustration and leads some to abandon the sport. It’s also why Gluszek recommends that you focus on smaller fisheries.
By starting small, he said, you can often access all of the available cover, regardless of the season. “When you start fishing, I want you to be able to generate strikes right away.” On smaller ponds you may be able to cover it all effectively in an hour or two. Larger ones may take all day, but either way it’s possible to leave no stone unturned.
Google Earth is his No. 1 tool for finding these smaller gems, and it’s enabled him to locate some true winners close to his home that he otherwise wouldn’t have known about. During his search, not only does he look at size, but he also tries to understand how to maximize shore access before he gets there.
Of course, there are different types of waters. Many park ponds have great shore access, but also suffer from heavy fishing pressure. Lakes in housing communities may require a homeowner to grant you access, and then it may only be to a limited portion of the whole. He’s found some great waters in condominium complexes, an unlikely spot, but which tend not to attract much attention. The Holy Grail, he said, is a private farm pond.
“The little guys are the magic, what I call the juice,” he said. Of course you should be sure to ask the landowner for permission before you wet a line, or the result could be ugly. No matter where you try to figure things out, “leave it cleaner than when you found it.”
While this video is part of the “Bass University Basics” series, Gluszek said that his advice to seek out these waters isn’t just for beginners.
“I use them for practice casting, practice triggering strikes and practice feeling what a bite feels like,” he said. You may not have time to hook up the boat and drive to a tournament venue before or after work, but you can hit a smaller local water with limited time, and you’ll be surprised at how often they produce true monsters. “It’s like practicing your jumpshot.”
If you want to learn some of the other keys to the Gluszek's never-ending quest to find places to get his line stretched, check out his full video from the home office, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.