How to locate bass on a new lake

It's hard to resist the waggle-down action of a soft plastic Sink-N-Fool worm.

They Like Structure

In normal years we’d be fishing the rivers by now for trout, casting flies and nymphs; but North Idaho is like everywhere else in North America: mid-June waters are swollen with run-off from mountain snow packs far in excess of normal years.

Bass fishing has become the reprieve for most of us. For me it’s also the enjoyment and the discovery. Fishing with men like Rick Lawrence of Fish-N-Fool Lures, I’ve learned more about consistently catching bass in two months than I had previously understood over years of fishing.

Lawrence is one of those guys who hates not catching fish. Honestly, if he hasn’t boated a bass within 10 minutes, he’s ready to move elsewhere.

What’s the secret to feeding such a voracious appetite for catching fish?

Structure. You cast onto, into and around it. You fish every kind of structure you find from weed-bed edges to submerged stumps, rock ledges, beaver channels and their stick lodges.

On this day, we put in on what appeared to be flat, weed-infested water. My first thought was, “Structure? What structure?”  But as we fished, my eyes opened to the hundreds of pockets, weed coves, undercuts and floating islands this lake had to offer. Bass were everywhere. Most were caught by casting right to the cattails or even into them and gently pulling the weedless soft plastic out into the drop. Most of the bass, some to four and five pounds, were hugging the shadows and roots of the cattails in waters I would never have thought to fish before.

If you think a lake has no structure, take another look. Go to the edges, cast against the reeds, hit every little separation of foliage you can because something big might be lurking there. Just before the fish in the photo above was landed, I had on the largest bass of my life. It almost took the rod out of my hand when it hit. But that’s another story. I’ll talk about hooks and sharpening hooks in another post.

Find the structure; fish the structure.

# Dwayne Parsons   Twitter@ifishwrite