Bass Fishing Fantasies
There are hundreds of thousands of urban fishermen that don’t have the time or where-with-all to escape the everyday pressures, at least once a year, in order to go fishing at a remote location. These seemingly unfortunate individuals have to contend with late night fishing fantasies which gives enough relief to get them through the next day or work week. Why fishermen, and now ever increasing fisherwomen, are lured to the stalking and catching of different fish species around the globe is still a mystery. Some do it for the companionship of others and some do it for the natural high that a successful fishing trip ignites.
My name is Martin Rogers and I predominantly have been fishing in urban waters for over 33 years. The first quarter of my fishing “career” was filled with polluted water and massive amounts of disappointment. The only real success was when I accidentally caught a carp or two. I am happy to say that those days are behind me and they can be behind you as well! There are thousands of urban bodies of water in this Country which have been around for thirty or more years. These municipal ponds and lakes have been stocked at one time or another and has had very limited experienced fishing pressure over the decades. These under utilized fishing holes can give the average fisherman hours of enjoyment, while satisfying the powerful need and desire that is created by the thought of setting the hook on a hog.
There are some important points and basics that must be kept in mind when fishing in some of the urban park district and municipal waterways. The first is that a very high percentage of them are no more than four feet deep and that sinking lures and weight infested baits are a complete waste of time. In fact, most of the presentations should be sinker free unless the weather dictates differently. For example, if it is windy and you are using soft plastics, then a small sinker 10 – 12 inches from the lure might be appropriate. Speaking of soft plastics, it has become common knowledge to me and my urban fishing buddies that since the average depth of our fishing holes is less than five feet, there is no need for fast sinking lures such as jigs, diving crankbaits or even Carolina rigs. It is imperative that the urban fishermen remember that the typical structure in park district ponds and lakes are old boots, shopping carts and many other un-naturals. When using a deep diving or other sinking lure, the fisherman will spend many hours and dollars simply getting snagged and eventually losing these expensive lures.
These unusual structures that are found in urban bodies of water however are perfect for catching big bass and catfish. This all can get very confusing, but if you learn to use finesse baits such as a Rabbit Hair Wacky Bass Wacky Worm
or a K&E Basstopper, you will see your number of catches and size of your average catch soar. Finesse fishing by most is characterized as the scaling way down on line and lures in regards to size and weight. I used to agree hook line and sinker, but the bottom line is, finesse fishing is defined as the use of slow moving, slow sinking baits that can be presented to fish, in a host of different environments. This method of fishing takes place in one to 7 feet of water which is perfect for the urban fisherman. Once you have mastered basic finesse fishing techniques in your local pond or lake, your next planned, long distance trip will be much more productive and rewarding.
There are several reasons why it is important to learn how to fish weightless soft plastic lures and I will attempt to share them with you here. First of all, many urban bass and other fish enjoy hugging the banks that have tall grass. Many park districts have a one foot rule which states that the park district maintenance staff can not cut the grass closer that one foot from the water. This might have to do with safety concerns for the person cutting the grass. In any event, big bass love to hang out in these areas and many days they will simply sit motionless, waiting for a bug to accidentally fall into the water. Small sunfish do the same which offers the largemouth another feeding opportunity. The best approach to these areas is to quietly walk down the bank and stop about 20 feet from the tall grass. Don’t cast right next to the grass since the bass and other fish are facing towards deep water in order to make an ambush on whatever looks appealing. If there is a lot of food competition in the lake or pond, many times the larger fish will eat first and ask questions later since their first priority is to get to the meal first. After you make a cast about three feet from the shore line, in front of the grass, remember to stay motionless for a few seconds. Many times the bass will hit as the finesse bait sinks slowly to the bottom.
When you fish this way completely around the lake or pond, then you can begin the second round and this time cast six to ten feet out from the shoreline. Eventually you will find what depth the big bass are hanging out in and then you can change your presentation if need be. Don’t be afraid to use large baits for bucketmouths. The urban fish will be happy to see the different offerings especially in competitive waters. In order to use large lures in these urban bodies of relatively shallow water, make sure that the lure is of the floating variety and when it is reeled in only goes beneath the surface for a foot maximum. I have caught large bass on musky lures this way in some very unlikely spots in the Chicago Land area. People think that I am crazy fishing these ponds and lakes this way, but I seem to do much better than the average fisherman. Don’t just fantasize about catching big bass when you are stranded in an urban setting, get out there and stick a few hogs and you will soon realize them.
Posted by Martin Rogers at 7:45 AM