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#11608441 - 05/17/16 02:10 PM Learning to fish new lake?
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
Hi all. I just recently picked up my first boat, and am excited to start fishing on the water. Been bank fishing for quite a while, but have had limited experience fishing from a boat. I am reading about how to locate fish in structure and terrain.

My question is what is the best way to begin to learn a lakes terrain and structure when new? I am looking into fishing lake Conroe, and it seems to vary characteristics a lot from south to north.

I am fishing out of a 17 ft aluminum boat with a standard Humminbird helix fish finder. I would like to be able to locate a general area to target before putting the boat in the water, so I can launch as close as possible to where I will be fishing. I am not too interested in running the open lake in a 17 ft boat. Thanks.

#11608452 - 05/17/16 02:15 PM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Mcd46]
JoeyC Offline

Registered: 03/22/12
Posts: 334
Loc: Grand Prairie
I'd say look at google earth and/or bing maps. You can see things like water clarity and possibly the lake at different levels which will show what is or isn't underwater. Also look at the navionics web app so you can see the contours before even heading out there.

Edited by JoeyC (05/17/16 02:15 PM)

#11608466 - 05/17/16 02:21 PM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Mcd46]
Doug R. Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 9560
Loc: back in the day
Lots of people these days just research the local sticks and follow them around

#11608666 - 05/17/16 03:45 PM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Doug R.]
Donald Harper Online   happy
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 14442
Loc: Justin, TX.
Originally Posted By: Doug R.
Lots of people these days just research the local sticks and follow them around

When you see him catch a good fish run right up there as close as you can. When he starts yelling mark the spot and run.

Sorry, I had to say it in fun; even though it happens.

To the OP. you have a long way to go. It is all about time on the water. You have a great boat for accessing the far away places in the lake that no one else will go. Start with your paper map and find those spots. Learn to fish the heavy cover and muddy water. When you find good fish in these out of the way places then study your Nav. maps, satellite views and etc. to find the deeper areas they are coming from to feed in those shallow water spots.

You can only learn one thing at a time. I always start shallow on a new lake fishing at least 60 spots to find the best 3 early morning bites. This takes many days of fishing to accomplish.

When you find a quality shallow water bite that is consistent day in and day out there is a reason those Bass are there every day. Now I begin to work on the mapping harder using every source available to follow those fish to where they live. Excellent depth finder equipment now comes into play; so begin to pick that up. I not only want the best 3 shallow water bites possible; I want to follow those fish on their mid range routes which they are using to get to the shallow water.

Around 8:30 or 9:00 when the shallow water bite begins to fade you will need to have 3 excellent mid range areas to continue to catch bass on until noon. Again this requires fishing about 60 flats leading to deeper water or out to a creek channel in the back 1/3 of the larger coves. Many more hours of fishing is required to find every bush, stump, rock bed on those flats as every big Bass uses these to make their move back and forth to the shallows.

Lastly will come searching for these same fish at their comfort zone. This is where they go to rest and feel safe when the feeding is over. It will not be far away as big fish do not want to travel any farther than they have to in order to feed. This range can be as little as 8 ft. to 30 ft. depending on the drop into deep water or the ledge they may live on.

I find a lot more fish with a rod and reel than I do with a depth finder, I’ve idled over places that look okay without many fish, then turn around and absolutely wear them out. If I passed it over, I would have never caught them.

Spend some time learning where they are on your favorite lake and start with small areas that you have selected from your paper map. You cannot absorb the layout for the whole lake all at once. Just remember few fish are caught while you are running the boat from place to place.

Your goal is to find the best 3 shallow water spots on your lake. Your next goal is to find the best 3 second drop spots by fishing all the cover between the shallows and the bass's comfort zone. Your third goal is to find the 3 best ledges which will keep you on those bass as they return to their home environment and comfort zone. Having these 9 areas to fish each day whether your in a tournament or fun fishing is a must.

How do you do this? You make a commitment to fishing just this one lake until you master it. It usually takes a whole year of fishing every chance you get.

Each person you work with holds some promise to your future success. - Staying Hydrated - Booking Mexico Trips
Shallow Water Mapping - Custom Spinner Baits - Jigs -Spooks
Pure Extracts - Minnow-Night Crawler-Crayfish-Craylic

#11609237 - 05/17/16 08:32 PM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Mcd46]
the skipper Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 3818
Loc: nederland, TX
Well, your starting off right. You have enough smarts to launch close. First, learn the boat and it's characteristics. Learn how it handles waves and how it drives.
Now,you have a helix so get you a navionics or lakemaster map chip and that will save a ton of time locating good stuff. If you want to fish shallow, the north end of Conroe can be good but it's loaded with timber. For deeper stuff, look for points, humps, quick drops, creeks, stuff like that. Go idle all over them and you will see the fish if they are there.

#11609398 - 05/17/16 09:55 PM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Mcd46]
David Burton Online   confused
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 2193
Loc: McKinney, TX
Docks and marinas are another good option for the beginning basser. Hit the jetties, rocks, breaks and tires. You'll have shallow and deep water!

Edited by David Burton (05/17/16 09:56 PM)
Edit Reason: Basser even
David Burton
2015 Skeeter FX 21

...and down goes PhotoBucket with the new Terms of Service... I predict they will be out of business or begging for forgiveness inside a month. 6/30/2017

#11609555 - 05/18/16 12:35 AM Re: Learning to fish new lake? [Re: Mcd46]
Mcd46 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the information, and the recommendation for the navionics web app. That will prove to be very handy for finding a good starting point.

I will be doing a lot of reading around here, and when I get on the lake, will try to pay more attention to finding a good spot with potential and spending more time exploring the area and trying different techniques.


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