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Hypothetical...your first day on a lake you never fished before

I remember it like yesterday. It was THE DAY I GOT MY BUTT KICKED. I was 18 years old and had a brand spanking new Daiwa Procaster. My cousins husband was supposedly a tournament fisherman. We went to Little Black Creek Water Park in Lumberton area in Mississppi. First time I ever been there.

Mike knew I was supposed to be a bass fisherman too with a leaning a little more toward brim and sacalait. I enjoyed the latter more than bass fishing and still do.

To be honest...I had NO IDEA what to do on the first day. I didn't want him to know that I was clueless so I didn't put a lure on my pole. I was going to wait and see what he had rigged up.

We met at boat launch and he had 4 poles..on with a worm, a deep diver, a lrge spinnerbait,, and a spoon. We headed out to the midle of the lake, and right there, I knew I was gonna get a spanking. See.....I am swamp and bayou fisherman. I didn't hve a diving lure that went more than 2 feet down.

I ended up with a black worm. Mike cast first and in ten minutes hooked 2 bass that were 3 and 4 lbs each. I became impatient and I didn't have a deep diver lik he did. He then switched to a spinner bait that he fished slowly..and caught a white crappie 9 he said you know what that is? I said its a sacalait. He said what??? What did you say? )


Anyway I caught NOTHING. Zilch. After we got back. We went to the place my dad had reted..a small spot for the RV, and I fished the sides and caught brim and some bass.

So here Is the question...

Your first day on a lake u never been to. What do you do? Where do you go? Believe me, I tried to tell him to stay in shallows but he refused. I guess we all do what we know best...and I am a shallow water fsherman.

Was wondering what y'all would do in such a case? I was quite humbled that day.

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This is a great question - Im gonna listen hard to this one.

I am motly interested in what part of of lake you go to and what lure you throw? I wanted to had to the lillipads and throw a topwater since it was an early summer morning.

You might want to have a look at this - lots of good thinking:

http://www.takemefishing.org/fishing/freshwater-fishing/where-to-fi...

For me, it would hinge greatly on what time of the year it was, what the water temps and levels were, and the particular species I was after.

If my choice of gear or fishing style turned out to be inapropriate for the conditions or locations I was forced to fish in, then I suppose I would do as you did: make the best of it and go on.

If I was the passenger, and not the driver of the boat, then my hands would be tied. Next time however, I want to be the one sitting behind the wheel.

In your case, you were unfamiliar with the water and the technique. I doubt it was a total loss, as you remember what lures he used, and how he used them to put fish in the boat. Knowledge that you could use to expand your own equipment and broaden your fishing horizons.

Time spent fishing, but not catching, happens occasionally. But time spent fishing without learning something new, should not. And what you learned that day probably helped you to become a better angler, even though it wasn't particularly pleasant at the time.

Timbaux first of all when I went with my fishing partner at the time we made a day of it. I had a bass boat but I never wanted my partner to feel left out. We went out almost every weekend in the spring, summer and fall. I would share the boat with him. I might start off in the front seat in the morning and at noon handed the boat over to him. Maybe next time we went he would start out in the front seat in the morning and I would get it at noon. Who ever controlled the front seat fish where they wanted any way they wanted. I didn't mind that was really the only fair way to do it. We caught fish and we learned lots in the process and the most important thing is we enjoyed ourselves. That is the way I did it and to this day if you didn't want the front seat the least I could do is fish where you wanted. That's the way I do it but everybody's different.

I agree with you Dick. I try to share the front seat and ask where my fishing buddy wants to try. I like shallow water with structure and topwater baits are my favorites no matter if I am going for Musky or Panfish. However, I always ask what the other my friends like to throw and fish that way too. 

Let say you don't even know you're heading to this water, but suddenly found it. You want to hit it. No one is around to ask about the existing species. For me, I would pull out my quick light quick action rod 7'6", loaded with the 5lbs test braid. Flouro leader with 4lbs. While tossing the deep diving crank bait, minnow/shad silver glow for clear water and golden for murky, watch for signs of activities all around the banks, weedlines, tules, and even the overcasting trees. Bubbles risingin groups, or small baitfish swimming near the grass will entice larger fishes to come. Toss your bait out deep and haul it slowly to the group of baitfish. If crank dont work, switch to spinner within the hour as you work along the banks. Switch to spoons, and work the same areas for another hour. If no strike occur, you may want to switch to deep water rigs and tacticts. It's all about the seasons as well. Spring to fall is the best for top, slight below, and half way down the water's column search and destroy. For late fall to winter, it will be tough. If you cant get the action occur close to shore, then deep water action will he just as bad. It's a finding a needle in a haystack campaign.

If I fish a new lake, I look for the oldest guy I can find. First off, ol timers love to talk to new people and are wealth of information. Nothing like talking to someone who has fished the lake for 60 years.

We had come in from New Orleans, and there was really no one to ask. I just thought one of the best "go to" baits was a worm. I really wanted to fish deep for bluegill but i didnt know how. Really nice sized gills there if you know where to go. I saw some pictures in a store not far from there and they were 9 inches or so.

 

It just seems like, when we are placed in a situation that is totally new to us, we tend to fall back on what we usually do. I wanted the shallows. My father, who is a saltwater fisherman, tied on a trout jig, cast it out with a cork, and pulled in a decent sized bass. Just doing what we know, but I felt terrible humbled that day.

 

Biblically, being humble is a strength, but being humbled sure aint no fun!

AMEN brother. If you can't catch a fish with a regular "cannot fail" bait, you can always go for the C4 flies. Nothing catch fishes better than a little thumping in the water *LOL* Ohhh..the DFG going to fry my butt on this.

I like the looking for the oldest guy. Also don't assume because somone is catching that you can catch next to them. Gear, bait, presentation... Plus they might have a 6' hole they are fishing and you are only in 2' of water- I have been there!

Im in a similar boat, no pun intended. If things go according to plan, I will have a new home lake this year: Lake Murray, SC.

And while Ive been there in years past, it wasn't with any frequency and always as a passenger. I don't really know it and I see it as a new lake to me. So were I to be there tomorrow, without a lake map or other resources.....

Id head for the marinas and ask where the nearest fish attractors were. These are placed by the SCDNR all over the lake to offer cover for fish. They are clearly marked with buoys.

But lets say I couldnt even do that. I'd head for the fish highways. These are the transition zones between deeper water and shallow. Fish move along these slope areas. There are several kinds.

One is the break from a shoal large area of shallow water) to about the 12-15 FOW mark. Id have to find it by plumbing the bottom with a weight (assuming no fish finder). I'd follow that line parallel to the shore. When it went out on a point, Id follow along.

Another of these is the central area of a defined inlet... not along the shore, but in the middle. This is where the old creek channel should run. Somewhere to either side of the middle the shore should slope towards another break line - again you're looking for where it goes from the bottom and starts to rise up to the shallower waters.

Now all of this assumes I can see nothing else but water and shore contours. Obviously large sheltering projections above water, like visible trees, logs, pilings, docks and so on are good spots to check out, where they meet deeper water  - that highway zone again. Cuts and sloughs between islands or below highway bridges are good spots. The deep side of visible weed beds, when they jut far out from shore, would be another enticement.

Where the wind is working, Id consider fishing the lee side of points, where the wind sweeps water around it. Or where large grassy areas are obvious, fish into them with the wind at your back.

Keep an eye out for birds, too. They often hover above fish schools or areas where fish are active.

Here Im speaking mostly of bass and sunfish, although much of this is general. Cover, food and proper depth are universal attractants for fish. These are only a few ideas; there are plenty more, certainly.

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