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I get asked all the time “How do you catch so many big bass” well the simple answer is eliminating water and spending more time in productive water. Basically if I spend a day just fishing down the bank I will only cover a small amount of productive fish catching water, where as if I spend my day on certain areas of the lake that I have found to hold bass like ledges, hard bottom areas with rock, sunken trees and bushes, and one of my favorite areas where I live docks then my success rate will be very good and thus i’m a happy guy.

Ledge II - ©MikeLongOutdoors

Ledge Bass - ©MikeLongOutdoorsIn the pictures above you can see classic examples of how bass will congregate on a ledges with deep water access. I have found that if these ledges have a flat on one side and deep water access on the other side that they will be a highly productive area of the lake that I want to spend more time on throughout the day.

8 - ©MIkeLongOutdoors

Another productive area of a lake is a small isolated rock pile. This is another area that can hold a trophy bass and if approached quietly and correctly it can be a highly productive spot to visit throughout the day.

Big Bass in Tree 12lber5A - ©MikeLongOutdoorsOne of the hardest areas to fish in a lake is a sunken tree, or bush. These sunken trees and bushes act as shelter and ambush areas in a lake and can hold quite a few  fish.

1 - ©MikeLongOutdoorsIn the picture above this lunker bass was able to ambush a trout that swam by.

3 - ©MikeLongOutdoorsThe above picture is a great example of how a bass will sit in a sunken tree waiting in ambush mode trying to blend in with the tree until an unsuspecting fish swims by and gets ambushed and eaten.

9D - ©MikeLongOutdoors I have found that where you have boulders and small sunken bushes to be a highly productive area throughout the day that sometimes can be easily overlooked.

4 - ©MikeLongOutdoors

Some lakes have tules, or what some call “cat-tails” that are rooted below the surface into the soft lake bottom around the shallow water areas and sprout anywhere from a few feet, to 15′ above the water. These tules can hold hundreds of bass as well as baitfish throughout the year.

2 - ©MikeLongOutdoorsThe trick to finding the productive water while fishing tules is finding pockets within the tules due to hard bottom where the tules cannot root. Once an area is found it’s all about finding the right lure to flip into these pockets and the correct rod, reel, and line to get these hiding bass out of this thick cover.

Hundreds of Bass6 - ©MikeLongOutdoorsOne of my favorite spots to fish on a lake is a dock, especially one that has deep water access. In the picture above a very large school of bass had moved up from deep water to hunt the the small bait fish that were grouped up around the dock in part due the ecosystem that thrives around the dock area.

7 - ©MikeLongOutdoorsThe picture above is a great example of why I love to fish docks. These docks can hold some very large bass throughout the day, especially when it’s sunny. These giant bass love the shade that the docks offer.

So if want to have more success while out on the water, then my advice is to try studying and finding the productive areas of the lake that will hold quality bass and spend more time in these productive areas of the lake and keep a journal of your catches and by paying close attention to the productive water triggers like low-light, the sun postion in the sky and what moon phase your in as well as when the moon will be overhead. By paying attention to these fine details you will understand when to be on the productive areas for maximum success. Good Luck!!

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

5 comments on “Finding and Fishing Productive Water for Greater Success

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Phil Griffin on May 8, 2013 2:16 am

Great article!! I have been doing this for the past couple off years and my production of big bass has increased. I used to waste a lot of time looking for hawgs in un productive areas. Thanks for all the information you divulge on this site it has really helped me in my pursuit of big bass up here in MA.

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Mike Long on May 8, 2013 6:36 am

Your Welcome Phil

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john brisendine on May 8, 2013 5:53 am

Mike great pics· But is there any lakes that you fish with standing timber like out here in Texas·

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Mike Long on May 8, 2013 6:44 am

John, we do have a few lakes here in Southern California with standing timber. I have found two main factors to finding bass in timber; Looking for where the standing timber condenses up some and where this grouping is close to deep water access. The second thing I look for in standing timber is an area close to a creek channel, with a few fallen logs. I think the key with timber since there can be so much of it is to find the oxygen and food sources and then you’ll find the bass in ambush close by. Hope that helped a bit…ML

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dave gnade on May 8, 2013 6:36 am

go get em Mike

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