Here are the keys to catching fish consistently:
Knowledge of the fish you are perusing
His patterns of behavior and how outside influences effect that behavior
How he will respond to environmental, weather, and water changes
How to gain a working knowledge of the water or lakes you are fishing
The differences that water has with the other water you might fish
How to find fish and trigger them into hitting
When you go from area to area in the U. S. you see a lot of different types of lakes and rivers. Each body of water has its own individuality but they also have many, many things in common. These are the things we want to key on first. Knowing these commonalities you can go any where, anytime and catch fish.
The fish we will be using in this study and discussions will be the Florida largemouth bass. Two reason for this is; it is my home water fish and where I am giving fishing reports. Second is because if you understand the Florida largemouth you will be able to go to any body of water anywhere in the United States and have a clear view of the personalities of the fish in that lake. I know there will be a good number of you that may disagree with me on some of my views but before you discredit them ponder them a short while first. I know someone is having an effect on the number of fishermen fishing the patterns that I am teaching as there are a lot more people fishing the open water than in the past. The depth and types of cover may change but the methods and theories will hold true and work for all species. I want to also give credit to friends and fishing partners that have had a great deal of influence on these theories. I want to also give a special thanks to Buck Perry, who in my opinion is the Founder of structure fishing, as we know it. The term list was coined by him 40 plus years ago. I want to also list my fishing friends for their input: Al Laman, Gerry Williams, Greg McLean, Doug Brogden, Larry Pearson, Lynda Hawkins, Tom Ferenick, and Don Dixion.
There are certain terms we need to have as a standard.
We are going to start with understanding the differences in personalities of fish. I break these into three groups.
Shallow water fish or literal zone fish: These fish are the fish that relate to the shallow water adjacent to the shore lines.
Deep water resident fish: These are the fish that live and relate to the deep-water home in a lake. Reference deep water is water over 8 to 10 feet deep.
The last personality is the gypsies: These fish relate to deep-water home but they follow the shad schools and off shore forage. They roam continually following the forage with no one area of the lake as a resident home.
Considering the different personalities of fish, we can see how on different lakes we get completely different patterns. It wasn’t until it clicked that, like people, fish also have different personality groups that I started to understand the teaching of Buck’s was not wrong but just did not consider the shallow water resident fish that I knew lived along the shores of various lakes. When I was growing up in North and South Carolina, Doug Brogden and Larry Pearson tagged fish we would catch along the shore. We had fish that we could catch off of their home dock or tree and the fish lived there all year. They were less active in the winter but there were still there. I have a fish that has been off a tree in the Stick Marsh 5 times. The fish has a round spot on her left side that is black and the size of a half-dollar. That fish has every time been on the same tree. I told a friend about this fish and he and his clients have caught her 5 times. That is 10 times I know of, that fish has been caught off the same tree, which also speaks good of catch and release. The Florida Fish and Game had a tagged fish on the Harris Chain of Lakes that was caught and released at a tournament, that same fish was caught by the same angler a few weeks later off the same place. These are not the only examples but are enough for here.
The open water fish or deep-water fish I am in complete agreement with Buck Perry’s teaching. I will be referring to those teaching through out this coarse. For a good reference if you can find any of his books read them you will learn a lot about trolling I cannot teach as I have little applied knowledge. His best book on that subject was Spoon Plugging
God Bless, good fishing
Capt. John Leech