As we approach another busy season of guiding I find that every year what I thought worked for a certain type of seasonal fishing has changed. I always start my season looking for the similarities between one-season to the next but many times I find that I just have to start over. Bass move continually, the bottom changes because current silts over areas that may have held bass one year to the next causing you to have to start from scratch many times to find the fish. Certainly there are years where much of the past remains the same making a pattern from the year before a little easier to find into the new-year.
When the elements tell you your pattern has changed for a specific time of year then you must start over and that requires going back to basics; here is how I start. I have a belief that bass live and feed where there is a change of depth, where a contour break makes a big turn, around structure and have certain tendencies based on the time of year. My starting point is getting to these basic beliefs looking over contour maps and looking for where the bass should be based on the beliefs mentioned above. If your someone who has recorded the bottom on your Lowrance HDS then updated your Navionics mapping with your own community edits then you have done some editing of your mapping and have the changes required to make new decisions. As the bottom changed over the past year your ability to update your mapping has made the journey into the next year a little easier and certainly up to date. Taking these mapping updates and studying the contours and breaks now gives you knew starting points to work from allowing you to look for new spots to start. Once you find a group of fish then journey begins; take the new way point study the mapping and repeat the process to find new spots. Itís not simple but it does work, you just have to be focused on what is different and find more areas like it. Patterns repeat themselves and you can become efficient at putting patterns together if you just spend the time to work at it!