When anglers go fishing, they want to catch a fish. In fact, they want to catch lots of fish. While you're not always going to catch lots of fish, there are some things that anglers can do to increase their odds of getting bit. Finding the biters is a big part of catching fish.
We frequently emphasize that to consistently catch fish, first you've got to find the fish. However, at times just finding the fish isn't enough. You've got to find the fish that are willing to eat your bait. You might have a bunch of walleyes hovering off the edge of a deep water structure, and just a few walleyes on the top of that same structure. While it's tempting to work the big school of fish that are on the edge, it might be more productive to work the smaller group that's on top of the structure. Here's why.
You can sometimes determine the activity level of a fish by where it is. Walleyes that are shallow or on top of a structure are often looking for something to eat.
Walleyes that are relating to structure but that have pulled off the structure are fish that have probably just fed and are now just hanging around. They probably won't be real willing to eat. When they do get ready to eat, they'll swim back to the structure and find a meal.
There are always exceptions. In some bodies of water the walleyes spend much of their summer suspending near baitfish. When they get hungry, they move into that school of baitfish and start eating.
A recent walleye trip to Minnesota drove home the idea of fishing for the fish that want to get caught. We were fishing a reef that had been holding lots of fish, and we had been catching them pretty good. However, after a while the reef was covered with boats, and although we could still see fish on our sonar, they just didn't want to bite. We left that reef for another one a couple of miles away. It typically wasn't as good a spot as the reef we had been fishing, but there were no other boats on it. And, although there were fewer fish on the second reef, the ones that were there were biters. We had more success fishing a spot that had fewer fish because the ones that were there hadn't been pressured as much and were more willing to eat our bait.
Same thing happened the next day when we were fishing largemouth bass. We started fishing them shallow, but the few that were there were not that interested in our baits. We had caught them there the night before when we got done walleye fishing so we knew they were around. When they didn't bite, we found a different area with different vegetation. The results were different also: We caught'em good. Again, fish where the biters are.
When you go fishing, keep in mind that sometimes you're better off fishing areas that hold fewer fish if those fish are willing to bite. If you can find an area that's holding a few biters, you're going to have a good time. And, if you can find an area that's holding lots of fish that are willing to bite, you can plan on having a great time.
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