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#12651449 - 02/28/18 11:27 AM Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning
Prizefighter Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/20/18
Posts: 7
Newbie angler, fishing a paddle boat with no electronics. I'm finding some success fishing crappie in rivers/streams, little luck catching bass or cats, and I'm basically having zero luck fishing my local reservoir. I've fished the reservoir enough times to notice a pattern with the other anglers, probably 80-90% of them are fishing close to the bank. In my ignorance I've been following the herd.

The other day I found a nice map of the reservoir which includes the underwater topography. Studying the map I realized the areas on the reservoir that others and myself have been fishing are far and away from any type of underwater structure that members of this forum, and the pros on the outdoor channels talk about finding and fishing.

My question is do people catch fish with any kind of regularity by just going out and fishing random spots? I can't imagine these guys in their 50k boats and setups would be out there much if they rarely catch anything, or do casual fisherman just enjoy being on the water, and catching a mess of fish is just a bonus that gets dropped in their laps from time to time?

#12651686 - 02/28/18 12:58 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
Uncle Zeek Online   content
Perry Mason

Registered: 09/26/05
Posts: 21680
Loc: Lewisville
Go to an online chart like and study the lake you want to fish. It'll help you narrow down likely places.

But, there are also lots of productive spots--humps, submerged roadbeds, etc--that don't appear on those charts. Somtimes it is very worthwhile to spend time drift fishing. It may not be very productive, but if you take note of the places that you do catch fish, you can put more effort into those spots in the future.

Sometimes just being on the water is a joy unto itself, and the fish are a bonus.
"Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries --but it is a force stronger than crime" ~ Robert A. Heinlein, 1952

I can't give legal advice yet, but this site may have some of the answers you need:

#12651753 - 02/28/18 01:29 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
UJC Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 2251
Loc: Plano, TX
You didn't mention if you have plans for electronics in the future so if by chance you have an handheld GPS, use it to mark wpts when you find a productive area. This wpt point will allow you to pinpoint productive water within 0 -20ft or so. Fish won't be there every time but you'll know it has been in the past. Back in the day, I preferred Garmin (model 60csx) because of its battery life. Between then and now, battery life may have changed a lot.
Geaux Tigers!

#12651784 - 02/28/18 01:42 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
kodys'papa Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 17760
Loc: Tawakoni/Mogote, CO.
What is your home lake?
Hooking a fish is like playing string with a cat. The exact size, shape, color of string matters less than how you wiggle it- and little cats are easier to fool than big ones. John Gierach

#12651792 - 02/28/18 01:46 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
Txmedic033 Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 4642
Loc: Longview, Tx
Download the Navionics app and you can use it to position yourself on the contours and humps or at least pretty close w/o any electronics on your boat.

#12652113 - 02/28/18 04:51 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
Capt Craig Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/25/09
Posts: 1627
Loc: Richland-Chambers
The shoreline is not the important structure, it is the land under the water you can't see. Follow the suggestions above.
Capt. Craig Copeland
Licensed by the US Coast Guard

2013 Nautic Star 2110 Shallow Bay Boat
Nautic Star Boats Pro Staff (
Redneck Fish'n Jigs Pro Staff (

#12652380 - 02/28/18 06:50 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
sae Offline

Registered: 06/12/17
Posts: 296
Loc: cedar hill tx.
Some people fish to kill time and some to learn how.If you ask? and people give you advice, it is up to you to
evaluate , and choose whatmakes sense and what is [censored].Their are smart members here wiling to share, and some have already responded .read,evaluat.e,and choose

#12652842 - 03/01/18 04:06 AM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
Fisherdad58 Offline

Registered: 10/28/16
Posts: 352
Loc: Ellis County, Texas
I've had good luck targeting specific types of structure but I've also had some of my best days in places where it made no sense why they were stacked up there.
There are just too many variables like cover, forage, comfort zone, fishing pressure, bait presentation and on and on. The best thing you can do is keep a bait in the water.. More often than not the fish I catch are not found on sonar as much as the gps though.
"Be as straight as you can be and as crooked as you have to be, for what's right"

Psalm 8

#12653444 - 03/01/18 11:52 AM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
Prizefighter Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/20/18
Posts: 7
I appreciate all the great responses. I'm going to download the navionic app and start mapping out my fishing trips. I'll definitely be trying to keep bait in the water as much as possible, I'll rig a pole from trolling while I paddle from spot to spot!

#12654980 - 03/02/18 09:28 AM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
PKfishin Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/28/12
Posts: 2881
Loc: Texas
Buy a cheap black and white porable fish finder. I hated fishing lakes. You could fish all day and catch nothing. I always fished rivers and streams in Arkansas because I NEVER got skunked. I'd always catch a few. When I retired and got a lake house at Possum Kingdom, I brought my small boat I used in streams out to the lake and bought a Humminbird 160. This changed everything. Once I could see where the fish were, I could catch them.

Here's a pic from my fisrt trip with that fish finder:

John 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee.

#12655538 - 03/02/18 03:51 PM Re: Increasing my catch with small efforts/planning [Re: Prizefighter]
TexasTechBassAngler Offline

Registered: 08/07/17
Posts: 151
Loc: South Central, TX
Download the Navionics on your phone, it is the best $10 I've ever spent. You can do map study prior to getting to the lake and then use it as an on the water GPS. I use it to get to spots and then only use my boat electronics when I'm actually fishing. A little map study goes a long way and you'll learn what to look for


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