Hello Johnny Jenkins here from Peak Performance Fishing. And I want to talk to you about what the different water columns mean for bass and what they can tell you when you actually do catch a fish. Let’s get into it.
Now one of the biggest things in bass fishing is trying to get on a pattern and figuring out – are these fish easy to catch; are they hard to catch; what are they relating to. I need to duplicate this bite so that I can get more bites and so I’m not fumbling around fishing a bunch of water that’s dead and doesn’t have any fish right. We wanna catch fish instead of just fishing okay.
So it’s getting that pattern. Well one of the things that you really want to pay attention to is the different water columns that are out there – what they mean okay; shallow versus midrange versus deep or on the bottom.
Rule Of Thumb #1: The Shallower The Fish (In A Higher Water Column), The More Active They’re Going To Be
Basically I like to pull this down into a couple different rules. The shallower the fish either in the water column or towards the bank, the more active they’re gonna be.
Okay there’s 2 ways of looking at this. You have shallow fish that are over deep water. So here’s the bottom; here’s the surface of the water okay. And the fish are right there underneath the surface. They are shallow, excuse my accent but they’re over deep water. Okay what does that mean?
When they’re shallow over deep water, they’re on the surface, those are very active fish. And then there’s another way to look at it okay. You’ve got shallow fish that are in shallow water. They’re right on the bank. Instead of being in 4 foot of water next to the bank, they’re right on the bank okay. Those fish are very active also.
Or maybe you have fish that are right on the bank. They’re right next to the bank but they’re actually on the bottom and they’re in fairly deep water.
You’ll see this a lot on highland lakes where you have really steep breaks right, you see this in California; all over the country. And really deep lakes where you have bluff walls where you have the bank and then literally all of a sudden it’s right next to the bank, 3ft. from the bank you’re at 80 ft. plus okay.
And the fish are at the bottom. What does that tell you? When they’re shallow they’re not far from the bank but they’re in a deep part of the water column. So I want to go ahead and get into the water column part. That’s -what part of the water are they in? This applies to shallow and deep.
If you have deep fish that are in a shallow water column, so here’s the bottom; here’s the top. Its 40 ft. of water but the fish are shallow in that range – they’re active fish okay.
Rule Of Thumb #2: The Deeper The Fish (In A Lower Water Column), The More Difficult They’re Going To Be To Catch
You got the same scenario – deep water. You’ve got 40 ft. of water here and you’ve got fish somewhere in the mid part of the range okay. They’re not towards the surface. They’re not on the bottom. They’re somewhere in the middle. Those are suspended fish.
Those are generally the hardest fish to catch. It’s hard to get lures to them and make them appeal. And oftentimes fish that suspend around the clearer waters scenario versus the stained or dirty they’re not really relating to cover as much. They’re just relating to maybe cover or structure and they’re just suspending off top of it. And they’re kind of just chilling out. They’re just find a place that’s comfortable for ’em and they’re just kind of relaxing right.
And they can be hard to catch. Maybe they’re chasing bait. They’re really preoccupied with whatever food they’re feeding on versus what you can be presenting them even if you can get a lure to them correctly. Those are the fish that are less active.
A Water Column Depth Example
Okay so for example if you had fish that are not in the middle but they’re like in between the middle and the surface. Okay this is really nuanced stuff right. They’re in between. They’re a little bit more active than the fish that are in the middle of the water column in 20 ft. over 40 ft. of water. So they’re a little bit more active okay.
So below the midpoint; it’s closer to the bottom. These fish are generally less active. These fish are generally less active and then you have fish that are right on the bottom.
Now they’re generally fish that are on the bottom are actually a little bit more on the active side. Those are fish that are relating to a piece of cover and they’re ambushing. They’re waiting for something to come by; they’re using that cover to hide. And if something comes out they’re gonna grab it. This applies to shallow and deep.
In deeper water in the summer the fish are; they might be on the bottom relating to a rock pile or sitting right next to it on the bottom in 20; 25; 30 foot of water. They’re on the bottom and they’re very active. The currents pulling, it’s keeping them in on the bottom and they’re ready to feed.
That’s not always the case but it is a very dependable generic rule okay. Now another way to look at this – now that you’ve got that, one of the ways to look at this is – shallow versus deep okay.
Rule Of Thumb #3: Bass That Are Closer To The Bank Are More Active, And Are More Likley To Be Caught
General rule of thumb – fish that are closer to the bank are generally more active; generally more active – more susceptible to being caught.
They’re easier to find generally. They’re going to be around key pieces of cover and you can typically see fish that are in that deeper water. It’s more about your electronics and what you can see that you can’t see with your eyes; you need help with electronics in your hummingbirds to see the cover and structure that the fish are relating to.
And it could go both ways. They can be inactive or they can be active or inactive but in general the shallower the fish. I’ll give you an example.
Okay say I’m fishing on Kentucky Lake – one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country. And I’m fishing this big long river bar. It’s a big bar. There’s a main river channel right next to it that runs in like 20 and 30 and 40 ft. of water right. It breaks off in like 15 or 20 foot and then it has a big flat where it goes literally to the bank or maybe it’s in the middle of the lake. I’ll say it’s in the middle of the lake and it goes up to a hump okay; the ridge.
It’s got a shallow portion and maybe the top of it is 3 ft. of water. It’s a big flat and it’s the fall time of the year okay. And you’ve got fish that are in that 3 ft. and less and they’re chasing bait fish. Those are very active fish they’re susceptible to being caught.
But what about you have a situation in the spring when the fish are spawning and it’s shallow but they may be hard to catch. That’s a general just the biggest thing though is remembering the water column deal. That’s gonna really help you out in the deeper water. And it can also help you out in the shallow water.
I hope that you found this video informative. This has been Johnny Jenkins from Peak Performance Fishing.
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