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Need help fishing open water points #13317113 10/20/19 06:23 PM
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plk1122 Offline OP
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Hey Folks,

I am struggling to fish structure/points/drops offs that are out in open water. I drew a rough drawing of an area i am trying to fish.
[Linked Image]
The way i fished the diagram above was I stayed out in 17-18 ft of water and cast to the shallow area. I threw a rat l trap and a KVD 5x (dives to 15 ft). I normally fish very slow which has been detrimental to my bass fishing so i am trying to move more. All the way around till i came back to the island, (starting from the top to the bottom). I have no idea what i am doing or how to fish areas like this that are 100-200 yards from shore with no structure or anything popping up.

Another question is i normally like to fish soft plastic worm, how do you fish this while also moving the trolling motor?

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Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317139 10/20/19 06:53 PM
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Wes H Offline
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I would start with trying to graph those areas first and see where the fish/bait seem to be holding. Or finding nice cover (rocks, brush piles, ect.) on the structure (those contour lines you drew) and targeting either those specific spots or that depth range.

From there, lets say you start to graph life in the 15' range and you have a crankbait thats hitting the bottom well at 15'. At that point the best way to set up on catching them is to sit on one end of that red line and cast down the red line, slowly moving your boat down the line as you go. That way your bait is staying in the depth those fish are sitting in much longer. The way you are fishing it sitting on the 17' line, your bait is crushing the bottom in 5' (not always a bad thing) and then when it finally gets to 15' it is already starting to come back up to the boat most likely. Your bait is only going to be in front of those fish say 10% of the cast. Whereas straight down the productive contour your bait is going to be in the strike zone say 80% of the cast (losing 20% diving and surfacing) which is much much more efficient.

You can fish the worm while moving much the same way. The easiest being just putting it on a Carolina rig and literally dragging it around with the trolling motor. Its kinda boring but its effective. Mark Rose won Lake Travis basically doing this with a football jig in 2017, I am sure you could find video of it if you wanted to see it in action.

That's how I would do it anyhow, hope it helps you. I am sure plenty of guys would do it differently though, and that's the beauty of the sport. Find what works for you and develop confidence in it. From there just be as efficient as possible.


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Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317170 10/20/19 07:41 PM
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If there is no structure on the point, the bass are going to be highly nomadic. They'll move with the bait. I will say they do like the hard spots. If it's mostly mud look for hard spots on the point and the bass will usually be around there.

Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317173 10/20/19 07:43 PM
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Ken A. Online Content
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Good info above. If you don't have the newest electronics that show the fish (which is ok) keep a marker buoy handy. When you catch a fish on the C-rig or the crankbait kick out the marker buoy so you will have a point of reference. Before the advent of Spot-Lock on TM's I always kept a marker buoy handy for this. I would rarely throw it to mark the fish but rather to know where my boat was in relation to the school.

Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317231 10/20/19 08:59 PM
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JoeFriday Offline
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The c-rig is a good idea from Ken. Back before good electronics, I understand people would drag heavy c-rigs in areas they wanted to understand/explore so that they would have an idea of the bottom composition. Drag a 3/4 or 1 oz c-rig through there, and you'll feel what's on the bottom. Even if you have electronics, it will give you a confirmation of what you're seeing on the screen.


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Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317925 10/21/19 12:29 PM
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Donald Harper Online Happy
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Fishing The Contour

I fish on contour for several reasons. We want to keep the boat in 20 ft. of water as not to disturb the Bass. We fish deep water contours right next to funnel points, spawning flats, creek channel swings, at the mouth of coves and secondary points inside the coves. We are going to catch the big bass coming up to feed or spawn; as they stage up on these irregular contours. We are going to catch them as they are leaving the area as they will stage for the second time to start their feeding patterns.

This is best done with two fisherman in the boat. Man in front is casting to shallow water; as you have mentioned, where fish may be setting up to spawn or feed on top of a point, flat, inside bend of a creek, top of a hump and on the sides of drainage ditches that feed into the creeks. The man in the back of the boat drags a Crig on this deeper contour as the features make irregular changes. An irregular feature is a steeper drop on one side of the point that we are working, tight lines on the contour map, then a wider line on the slop could mean heavy rock and the ups and down of the terrain as we cross small protrusions coming off the shore. Your boat will be fishing both of the best worlds from shallow up front to the deeper contours of the terrain from the back.

The key to reading contours is understanding the distance between lines. The wider the distance between lines, the flatter and more gradual the slope of the bottom. The narrower the distance, it’s just the opposite with a steeper and a quick drop-off. If these irregular features have cover like wood, heavy rock or grass on them then you have found the spot. Look for places on contour maps where there are relatively flat spawning areas which have deeper water next to them. As fish migrate in and out during particular times of year, these channels often become their main pathways and sources of food. Also look for places where lines are close together. These are indications of drop-offs, ridges or deeper structure. Look for small circles on the map; circles are likely an indication of a ridge or mound coming up from the bottom. Bass love these irregular features with cover and when you find fish they are there for a reason; so pay attention to the contour from where they were caught. This will allow you to repeat your success in another similar sections of the lake.

Bass do not take just any direction to get to the shallows. Contours are routes with structure, steep drops and breaklines that show them the way to the shallows. As Bass move along the contour how far they go and how long they stay depends on the weather, water conditions and how good that irregular feature is. We must control the depth and speed of our retrieve around these contour features to consistently catch fish. We all know how to cast to targets; but learning to drag on contour takes a little time with more benefits than you can imagine. We have all heard the story of how she caught the biggest Bass of the day just dragging it behind the boat. Well now you know.

There are many other ways to fish these different structures with the introduction of electronics; and there are many more variations of the contours themselves. Fishing on contour has been a great success for me and I think you'll like the results. Like most other techniques, it is a matter of confidence over all others. Given the right situation, contour fishing can produce that big bit you have been looking for.


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Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13317987 10/21/19 01:35 PM
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Ken A. Online Content
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Donald has some good info above. Most lakes have a "magic" depth where it is known for the big fish to lurk. Due to the way Fork filled in stages, there is (or was) a defined line of brush at 12 feet.

For decades this was the known depth to target GIANT fish. Any 12' spot that intersected a hump, creek, point, pond dam was a good spot to start. I suspect your lake is the same. Ask around to see what that depth might be.

Anytime I meet someone that has caught a fish over 13 pounds I ask what time & what depth. I never ask what they caught it on because they will lie to you most the time. smile I am more concerned about the depth and time of day.

Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: Ken A.] #13318552 10/22/19 12:43 AM
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jbcarroll3000 Online Content
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Originally Posted by Ken A.


Anytime I meet someone that has caught a fish over 13 pounds I ask what time & what depth. I never ask what they caught it on because they will lie to you most the time. smile I am more concerned about the depth and time of day.



Interesting. I like it.

Re: Need help fishing open water points [Re: plk1122] #13318890 10/22/19 12:57 PM
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Ken A. Online Content
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One more thing about the crankbait you were using. A 5XD is a good bait but will only hit 15 if you are using 10# line and even then for only a small percentage of your retrieve. If you are throwing it on 15# line you can deduct about 20% of depth. Don't count on the bait hitting the depth it says on the package unless you are using 10# fluorocarbon making 40 yard casts. Then you can expect the bait to run the max depth for maybe 50% of the retrieve.

For the spot in your illustration I would be using a 6XD or 6th Sense 300 DD and make sure you can make long 35-40 yard casts or your lure may never hit bottom in 18 feet.

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