Last Saturday I spent six hours on three different lakes "looking" for a "hot" shallow water crappie/bluegill bite that my customers could benefit from. My helpers were my eager seven and nine year old boys geared up with their polarized fishing glasses. The lesson of the day was: find fish first..and then fish. It amazes me how many anglers simply throw the anchor without doing any research first and wait...and wait...and wait--for possibly nothing. For my boat, its find a likely looking area in the shallows, putting down the bow mount and trolling through the shallows looking for large pods of fish using my Maui Jims. Works like a charm too.
I think the boys where more excited to look at the fish than to catch them. Only once did the younger boy ask when we were going to fish. It was then that the older boy chimed in "we have to find them first" --Good answer. After spotting numerous northern pike, bass, and only a few small groups of 'gills, it was apparent the first lake I chose wasn't going to happen. We basically looked for 30 minutes, fished for 10 minutes, and then left for lake number two.
When we arrived at lake number two, the same process began with many pods of active fish being located. A nice mix of Crappies and Sunfish. My rule is to find 3 seperate pods in different locations before we start to fish--that way I have a plan A,B,and C, -- in case the wind changes, another boat moves in too close and ruins the bite, and or we catch all of the active fish out of one pod--things like that. After a couple of more groups of fish were located, the fun began. We must have caught 60-70 fish the first hour between the 3 of us. It was then that I had to remind the boys that we were "scouting for spots", so we brought up the anchor and headed to lake number three...only to start all over again. They were actually excited to see if we could find even a better spot!--See how this works, they did not start to complain about having to leave, because they have already learned that a better bite can always be found somewhere.
At lake number three, we did find a better bite full of bigger fish. It was a perfect six hour lesson for the boys and a successful scouting mission for the guide service. The boys learned to always keep looking for a better spot/bite, that changing lakes can make a big difference (even if water temps are the same), and most importantly--find the fish before you start to fish for them--even if its simply using your polarized fishing glasses, the trolling motor, and some stealth. Good Luck, Capt. Josh, Minnesota Fishing Guide Service. www.minnesotaguideservice.com