Go fishing with a game plan

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gerald swindle sitting in a bass fishing boat

The whole purpose behind Swindle studying Humminbird’s FishSmart app, Google Earth, or paper maps over a cup of coffee in the morning is simple; it gives him a game plan.

“That’s the beautiful thing about map study – it helps you have a purpose when you hit the water, a game plan,” Swindle explained. “That way you don’t launch your boat and feel overwhelmed by the size and scale of the lake or river.”

Once you’re on the water you might fish through the first five areas you picked out on a map in two hours, and realize your best guess wasn’t even close. In fact, Swindle will tell you that happens more times than not. Still, you’re a step ahead because you’re familiar with the fishery and know where another boat ramp in a different section of the lake might be.

Once you get a couple bites and start to form a general idea of what the fish are doing, map study proves extremely useful as it helps you establish and run a pattern.

“Maybe you catch a couple fish off a deep point with a jerkbait on your next trip to the lake – that’s great,” Swindle offered. “But if you’ve put in time reading maps, you should know where a few more similar points are located… go fish them! You’ll either catch fish and put pieces of the puzzle together, or you might realize it was more of an area deal. Either way, studying maps will help shorten that learning curve.”