April is one of the best times to find the fish. The waters are warming up, and bass of all kinds start finding their way to the banks to bed. Now is the time to be on the water.
After a month into quarantine and some crazy weather, there are a lucky few that still get to fish. I am one of the lucky ones. We are still able to fish if we observe social distancing and take necessary precautions.
Unfortunately, there are several who are not able to get out and enjoy the outdoors like many of us. Several states have closed their ramps and shut the door for so many fishermen and women that use fishing to de-stress, find peace and fuel their hope.
For me fishing is much more than landing a giant or even catching a limit. Don’t get me wrong, giants are fun to catch and weighing in a full bag makes it more fun, but from my first cast, I found fishing to be a place for me be to be me. It was just me against the fish. I didn’t have to be better than anyone else. I didn’t have to BE anyone else. All I had to do was go and fish.
These days though, it takes a bit more than the kiddie spin cast rod that I used as a kid. And, regardless of why you fish, or how often you go out, you still need to prepare for what’s coming. So, to get ready for the day you get back out on the water, here are a few map tips to prepare.
First, find all the maps, especially if you are fishing a new body of water. I am huge fan of map study, and spend hours parked in my garage, sitting in my Xpress boat studying and marking weigh-points on my Humminbird Solix units. It’s a great way to eliminate water fast without wasting gas or killing time driving around the lake. You can use paper maps, but the Humminbird LakeMaster map series is one of most detailed maps you can use. You can use them on your favorite Humminbird graphs and the FishSmart app, so you can have them wherever you go. I use these maps to find the most likely places bass hide out based on seasonal movements.
In the spring, I look for pinch points, places on the map where you see a feeder creek narrowing down. These are bridges or narrow spots in the main creeks. I also try to find channel swings. Find the creeks on the map and look for where the creek channel comes close to the shoreline. I usually check out the spots that are halfway or three quarters into the creek itself.
Main lake flats can also produce a limit this time of year. These shallow flat areas along the main lake shoreline will warm up sooner promoting algae bloom and extra food for the fish. You can also find old roadbeds that act as highways for the fish to travel.
Once you have done that, tie on your favorite springtime baits and head out. We are all hoping this is over soon and that mother nature will cooperate once it does. Until then, study your maps and get ready. There is going to be a whole lot of fishing going on as soon as they open again, so keep believing big and do the work.
Harvey Horne, native of North Louisiana, and former Union Parish resident, is in his second year fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series and also fishes the Bassmaster Eastern Opens. He currently resides in Northwest Arkansas with his wife Rhonda, a native of Marion, and their two children.