UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Ft. Gibson

My Favorite Fishing Classrooms

My Favorite Fishing Classrooms
Larry Nixon

From time to time people ask me about the best type of lake to learn if you plan to be a successful tournament fisherman. Of course, the short answer is that you better learn how to fish them all – Ozark lakes, TVA lakes, Florida lakes, rivers, tidewater, Midwest lakes and so on. Each type presents its own set of problems that a fisherman has to understand and overcome to be successful. A bass is a bass, and it behaves the same anywhere, but the places where it lives change, and a fisherman has to learn to cope with that. All lakes fish differently based on factors such as structure, cover, depth and what the bass in them mainly have to eat.

Having said that, I was fortunate to grow up fishing Ozark lakes and rivers, and they really taught me a lot about patterning fish, reading a lake and learning different techniques. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Ozark fisheries are the hardest to figure out because they combine all of the challenges of other lakes into one body of water. That makes them very difficult to pin down as far as putting together a good multi-day tournament game plan. Around where I live you might catch two or three bass off a place and think, “Well, maybe I can come back this afternoon and get a few more off that spot.” But that doesn’t happen much. You just take what you can get and go somewhere that seems to have all the same characteristics and hope you can catch a few more.

To fish the Ozarks you have to learn to use your eyes and your imagination. It’s all about reading water and shoreline and visualizing what’s happening under the water, and how to fish clear water with finesse baits and lighter line when you need to.

You might go to a Florida lake and find dozens of bass in one big stretch of grass, and they’re all hitting the same thing. In the Ozarks, fish relate to drops and that sort of structure just like they do anywhere else, but fishing is controlled by other factors like wind direction and bait movement. It’s pattern fishing, number one, and you have to get a feel for what the fish are doing. For instance, if you catch some fish and the wind switches, you might not catch another one for two or three days until the wind turns back around to where it was. Stuff like that makes a lake tough to pattern.

One of the rewards about fishing Ozark lakes is that usually all three species of bass share a single body of water, and in pretty good numbers. It’s fun to fish, but it also teaches you a lot about how to catch each type. Instead of keying on largemouths, smallmouths or spots, you can learn how all three coincide and overlap in some places where you can fish for all three successfully by using the same approach – at least, that’s how I learned to do it.

Those are some of the reasons I think Ozark lakes can really educate a fisherman and make him more versatile. That’s not knocking anywhere else; it’s just that some lakes are better teachers than others. When it comes right down to it, anywhere is a good place to fish as long as it has bass.

Tags: larry-nixon  blog 

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