FISHING TIPS

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Hunting for Fish

Tom Redington

Have you ever noticed a friend or family member who seems to always be successful in the outdoors? He or she always catches the most or biggest fish, just happens to be in the stand where the big buck pops out or is always in the right position to shoot when birds are flying? They’re success could be because of a lucky rabbit’s foot, but I tend to believe there are a lot of similarities between hunting and fishing. Successful outdoorsmen tend to have a basic understanding of predators and prey that gives them a leg up on all species.

I see a lot of parallels between hunting and bass fishing. Here are just a few examples:

1. Animals use edges

Deer, coyotes, bobcats, cows, people, you name it – animals often follow an edge like the side of a field or forest. A fence is another edge type that is well travelled. Under the water, fish travel along edges a lot too. Quick drop-offs (sometimes called ledges), edges of weedbeds, old roads and tree lines are popular travel routes. In addition, fish travel along hard boundaries such as the bank, the surface and breakwalls. Find an edge, and the odds you find animals goes way up.

2. They hide in dense cover

When hunter pressure is heavy, deer and birds sometimes hunker down in the thickest cover and won’t travel far. It’s the same with bass. When there is a lot of hunting or fishing pressure, work quietly and slowly in the thickest cover to fool a true trophy.

3. Funnels concentrate critters

Animals frequently move from dense cover to feeding areas along edges. If you can find a narrow area where the terrain forces lots of animals to pass through, you have what’s called a funnel. A funnel is like a hallway leading to a room, or an on-ramp to a major highway: It sees a lot of traffic. Deer hunters put tree stands at these key spots, and bass pros drop their Power-Pole anchors in funnels to intercept bass moving through.

4. Flushers scatter prey

Just like a lab running through tall grass for pheasants or a pack of beagles sniffing around briars for rabbits, bass often travel in small schools and flush out prey. Smaller bass often do the chasing, while bigger ones hang back and get easy meals when minnows and crawdads are looking the other way while being chased. Coyotes hunting in packs operate this way, too.

5. Predators go where the food lives

Most predatory animals have preferred habitat and temperature conditions where survival is optimal, but top-line predators are usually willing to stray at least a little bit from what’s ideal in order to go where the food lives. Wolves, for instance, might have a preferred temperature range, but they will follow elk up into the snowy mountains or down into the warm meadows, regardless of the temps, because that’s a preferred food source. Similarly, bass are top-line predators and will venture into warmer or colder water if that’s where the food is.

Whether you’re in a tree stand, a duck blind or a boat, the skills you’re learning can help you with your next trip on the water or land.

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Tags: fall-fishing  -buzzbait  -hunting  -shallow-fishing  -feed-bag  -baitfish  fishing-tips-beginner  tom-redington 

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