The spring spawning season draws bass into shallow water areas, but this doesn’t make finding them a cakewalk. We caught up with Carl Jocumsen on famed Lake Fork in Texas for a lesson in using digital mapping to quickly break down a lake and establish a plan of attack for finding bass at all phases of the spawn (prespawn, spawn, and post-spawn).
Big lakes usually have populations of bass at all stages of the spawn. Hence, anglers need a basic understanding of bass biology and habitat preferences – where they’re coming from (in preparation for the spawn), where they are going (to spawn), and where they head after the spawn (post-spawn). If you understand this, mapping allows you to eliminate the vast majority of the lake and focus efforts on high-percentage spots and travel corridors.
Carl starts his map reconnaissance by setting the Shallow Water Highlight function on his Humminbird LakeMaster map. This feature paints a range of contours originating from the shore out to a predetermined depth, a solid red color. For Jocumsen, water depths between 0- to 10-feet is the sweet spot in spring, while the Highlight Depth function
gains importance throughout the rest of the year for deeper structure-based scenarios.
Once Shallow Water Highlight is set, Jocumsen identifies primary points adjacent to the main lake as high-percentage prespawn locations, followed by secondary points adjacent to spawning pockets in creek arms. When the spawn is in full swing, flats in the back of creek arm pockets become the target. All said, Jocumsen attempts to establish patterns with bass at all phases of the spawn to increase chances of connecting with the right fish come tournament day.
Most wouldn’t try navigating a complex and unfamiliar city without a map, and smart bass fishing is no different. A detailed lake map is your guide to getting you to the right place in the shortest time possible. Good luck this spring!
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