Adapting to fishing pressure

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Growing up I didn’t know the first thing about deep fishing but in my mind, I envisioned using deep-diving crankbaits on schools of untouched bass like I saw Kevin VanDam do on TV. I’ve come to learn deep fishing is similar to any other kind of bass technique; it’s entirely situational and is affected by different water conditions.

“Finding a school of bass offshore used to be the hard part,” Lee explained. “Once you found them, it seemed like they were usually pretty willing to bite whatever you threw. Nowadays finding a school is only half the battle. You still have to trick those fish into biting which is getting harder and harder.”

Lee finds fish by idling likely locations and looking at his Humminbird electronics. After he locates a school of bass, Lee weighs several factors before deciding upon the rotation of lures he is going to show the fish. How much current is present? What is the water clarity and angle of the sun? Are these fish likely to have been found and fishing for by another angler?

All these considerations (and more) help guide Lee to maximize his efficiency on a particular group of fish. Traditional summertime fishing wisdom says to start with something fast before opting for slower presentations to see if any active fish are aggressively feeding on the spot. But the past few years Lee has found more success by first using a subtle approach.

“Start with something less intrusive when you find a school of offshore bass,” Lee said. “I think bass have become so wary that sometimes a loud, aggressive lures can spook them. Starting subtle allows you to kind of sneak up on them almost like you are hunting.”