by Mike Gerry
Fishing’s visual line
Fishing’sWintertime, on many lakes, can take many different forms in respect to water clarity. Often, the water is muddy because of all the winter rain. Other times you have periods of no rain and lots of clear water. The constant change in winter conditions produces, to what many refer to as, a visual line of depth. This is where you have a clarity in the water, down to a certain depth, that you can see with your eyewear.
This visual line can be a clue as to what depth the fish are holding on. If it’s muddied, the bass are generally closer to the surface, but if you can see down, say four feet, then the bass are generally holding just below the visual line. The key, now you know, is where to concentrate your depth level. That is just below the visual line. In this case, maybe four to eight feet below the surface. Concentrate on the step drops as bass like to be able to be in position to go up and down on the step drops just below the visual line in the wintertime. This ability to move up and down the step drops gives them ambush areas to feed on just below the light and visual line giving you a depth range that will allow you to find active fish. Remember, bass do not like sunlight. This is a key to the visual line in the winter on clear cold days. Finding where the sun breaks down the water column can be a real difference maker in finding fish.
Look for the signs that tell that the bass are in the area you’re fishing. The obvious signs are things like bait fish, crawfish on the edges of the bank, birds diving and feeding from the surface, bait being pushed around as they run from being a meal for a big bass. These are all signs of active bass. Add to this the structure elements like stumps, grass, rock or shell beds, and you have some ideal visual keys that you can see from the surface with your eyewear, or that you can visualize from your electronics. Use your natural keys, your eyes and your keys from your electronics, and you will catch more fish.