John's Journal...


An Aerial Look

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Have you ever wondered why bass angling professionals can come to a lake they've never fished before, compete for three days, and catch more and bigger bass than the anglers who live on the lake? Actually the reason is simple. Most of the work of locating the fish is done prior to these professionals' coming to the lake. Many times their preparation for the tournament may have taken place months before the actual contest. They also have another advantage that fishermen who angle the same lake every weekend don't have, because these pros don't have honey holes, favorite spots or places to go to where they've caught bass in the past. So they must rely on their own ability to find the fish on the lake where the bass should be when the fish are supposed to be there - without any pre-conceived ideas about where the bass are.

Click to enlargeRick Clunn of Montgomery, Texas, has been one of the most-successful tournament anglers in the history of bass fishing -- winning two U.S. Opens, four B.A.S.S. Masters Classics and the Red Man All-American. One of the reasons for Clunn's success is he doesn't waste his time when he's scouting for bass. "By flying over a lake before you fish it with a map in your lap, you visually can see where feeder streams come in, where the structure in the lake is located, where the water changes color, how far out in the lake a point runs, and pinpoint areas you can fish that you'd never see if you're riding the water in a boat," Clunn said. "And being able to see changes in Click to enlargewater clarity are critical to catching bass. Bass may be holding on the edge of stained water looking for baitfish that are running the edge of the clear water. Oftentimes those subtle changes you can't spot from your boat will be visible from an airplane high above the lake. In my opinion, there's no quicker way to learn where to catch bass on a lake than flying over that lake in an airplane."

Clunn once flew Lake Mead, Nevada, prior to a tournament and was able to see large bass Click to enlargeholding in the tops of bushes at the far end of the crystal-clear lake from the plane. On the last day of competition when he was well back in the pack, Clunn made a long run to the area where he had seen the bass from the airplane. Luckily the big bass were still in the bushes, and Clunn caught enough of them to win $50,000. The difference in scouting from the air and scouting from the water was $50,000 on that occasion. Although most anglers say that renting an airplane to fly over a lake is too expensive, Clunn feels that, "When you consider how much gas you'll burn in your boat running all over a lake trying to find a place to catch bass, you'll see that two fishermen's renting a pilot and an airplane to fly over a lake for an hour to an hour and a half is cheaper than if they had spent the time and money in their boats to attempt to gain the same amount of information on the water. If I need to know where to fish on any given lake, I go up in an airplane."


Check back each day this week for more about HOW TO SCOUT FOR BASS

Day 1: Time of Year and Maps
Day 2: An Aerial Look
Day 3: The Weather
Day 4: Call the Lake and Learn the Conditions
Day 5: The Types of Bass Present in a Lake



Entry 307, Day 2