Bass fishing is one of the most popular pastimes here lately. It seems like every time I turn a corner on the water I'm running into a boat, kayak or angler fishing from the bank. This increased fishing pressure seems to be making fishing a little tougher on most folks. Fortunately, however, there are certain things you can do to help you catch more fish behind other anglers and even when recycling your own water.
Whether you're bass fishing out of the back of a buddy's boat or sharing an area with another angler during a tournament, it's important to identify and implement a few or these techniques to make sure you're making the most of the water available. Let's take a look at a few ways to catch fish behind someone now.
Watching where they cast
If you're in the back of someone's boat, I know it seems obvious to watch where the other angler casts. By doing this, you can make sure you're not casting to the exact same spots and you're able to hit anything they might miss. But that's not the only value in keeping an eye on where they present their baits. At times, you'll actually want to throw your bait to the exact same spot they just brought their lure through. Let me give you an example.
So my dad and I fish a lot of team tournaments. Quite often, whichever of us is in the front of the boat will throw a power-fishing bait like a buzzbait, spinnerbait or ChatterBait while the guy in the back of the boat follows it up with something a little more finesse like a squarebill, small swimbait or swim jig. In these situations, we'll try to make the exact same cast from the back of the boat as the angler is making from the front.
The reason we do this is the power-fishing bait might get the fish's attention or draw it out but by the time the fish can get to where the bait was, it's already gone. Or perhaps the bass just wasn't in an aggressive enough mood to commit to the power presentation. But then that finesse offering comes right back by and the fish slams it. This works really well, quite often.
Catching fish behind yourself
Anytime I find a productive area, I want to make sure I milk it for all it's worth. One way to do that is to go back around the same area with a different bait. Again, that's kind of low-hanging fruit. Pick a bait that's a little more finesse the second go-round and hopefully pick off a few fish that wouldn't commit to a topwater, spinnerbait or whatever I might have thrown the first round.
But one thing I like to do is actually flip those two presentations sometimes. I'll start with something finesse early and then swap over to my power-fishing baits on the second or third round when a good feeding window comes along. An example of this would be a cold morning in the spring fishing shallow.
I know that fish should be up trying to spawn but the cold night before will have them a little lethargic and reluctant to commit to a power-fishing tactic. Instead, they might just swat at a bait and become even harder to catch. So I'll start with something more finesse like a floating worm or wacky rig and then swap over to a more aggressive bait like a frog or buzzbait up in the morning as the water warms.
But there's another really big key when fishing shallow behind myself; I like to make sure I'm hitting things from every angle. If you're going around a pond for instance, don't keep going around and around in the same direction. Turn around and fish back in the opposite direction and you'll find new lanes opening up in the grass or between bushes you haven't been able to cast to yet. Your bait will approach laydowns and other cover from a completely different angle and you stand the chance to catch fish that haven't even seen your lure yet.
Be on the lookout
Another great way to catch fish behind someone is to keep an eye on the back graph. Whether you're fishing as a co-angler or fishing with a buddy, watching the graph at the driver's console will alert you to fish that are right underneath your feet, because that's where the transducer for that graph is usually located.
Keep a drop shot or worm handy and whenever you see a fish pop up on the graph, reel in whatever else it is you're fishing with and drop a bait right behind the motor. A drop shot works extremely well for this because it gives you a bait that will make a beeline for the bottom and get as close as possible to where you last saw the fish. But a shaky head or Texas rig works really well too when the angler on the front of the boat is moving along pretty fast. That way you can just fire that bait out behind the boat and drag it along to try to intersect the fish.
It's also a good idea to keep an eye on the graph to try to find cover. The down and side imagining will reveal boulders, stumps and clumps of vegetation that you can then try to make contact with and pick fish off of. Just always remember where those images are coming from, instead of the transducer being a little in front of you like it would be if you were fishing from the bow, it's a little behind you, likely mounted just below the outboard.
There are several ways to make the most out of whatever water you have to fish. If you're in the back of the boat, keep one eye on everything the other angler is doing and the other eye on the back graph if possible. If you're fishing behind yourself in a productive area, swallow that pride and pick up something a little different for another trip around. We often think we've caught every fish in an area when we get a few bites but that is rarely ever a fact.
If the angler in the front of the boat is catching fish pretty regular and skipping a lot of cover, don't be ashamed to tie on the exact same thing and hit whatever they miss. If the bass are just swiping at the other angler's bait, back off on your presentation a bit and try to bring something more finesse along the exact same trails. And always make sure when you want to recycle your own water, to do it from a different direction. If you'll implement some of these simple tactics, you're guaranteed to catch more fish.