Just fish where the fish are

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



We watch these pro bass fishermen on TV as they hook bass on nearly every cast, and we wonder why we can’t do that. They might weigh in 40 or 50 pounds of bass during a three-day tournament.

We’re using the same types of lures and techniques, but we must cast many, many times before we luck into a nice bass.

Why is this so? Are we just very inadequate at the sport?

It’s true that they are excellent fishermen. They get a lot more practice than we do.

But it’s also true that they’re fishing there, and we’re fishing here.

They’re most often fishing some of the best bass-filled Lakes in the country, lakes where nice bass fight each other to gobble that plastic or rubber lure swimming by.

Lakes in this part of the country, bordered by wooded hillsides, have few nutrients washing into them, nutrients that make a big difference in production and feeding conditions for bass.

Nutrient-rich lakes produce more cover, more bait fish, bass that produce well, and live to eat well and become bigger bass and more in numbers.

You and I, fishing lakes the pros fish, could prove to be very good fishermen because the fish are so abundant.


Rondeau Bay in Canada, which used to attract a lot of area fishermen for a week’s vacation, helps prove the point I’m trying to make: Where there are bass galore, we can catch fish with the best of them.

I’m not meaning to downgrade pro bass fishermen. I have fished elbow to elbow with some of them in covering their tournaments, and they out fished me 2 to 1.

I remember one time when my father, Bruce, and our friend Lynn Stephenson, took my 12-year-old nephew, Chuck Howerton, to Rondeau. At that time, Rondeau, an eight-mile-wide bay off the northern Shore of Lake Erie, averaging no more than 10 feet deep at the most, was covered with weeds – the result of rich nutrients washed into it from the surrounding fields of onions and other crops.

These weeds harbored a passel of big largemouth bass (not to mention some very big and mean pike.) Fish camp operators hired people with underwater mowers to cut 20-foot-wide channels through the weeds.

Fishermen casting plastic nightcrawlers or a spinnerbait down along the sides of the channels were rewarded with vicious strikes from bass darting out of the cover of the weeds.

I’ll never forget the look on Chuck’s face as I hooked and lipped a bass into the boat that would go five pounds.

And although he had never fished before, he soon learned the technique of casting the lure and was soon fighting bass like a pro.


I took Fayne Robinson to Long Point, another Canadian bay off Lake Erie, about 100 miles east of Rondeau. His fishing experience thus far had consisted of dropping live bait straight down from the side of the Ohio River towboat he worked on as a master mechanic for 30 years.

One evening we motored up along the water canals where the docks and boats of waterside cabin owners were located. Casting rubber worms under and along the sides of docks, we were rewarded with a limit of 2- and 3-pound largemouth.

And later, far out into the bay, we came across large schools of surface-feeding smallmouth. Just about any lure cast into that frenzied broil boated a smallmouth.

If we fish where the fish are, we can all be pros.


On Thursday, Jigger and Jim and I trailered my bass boat down to Grayson Lake for some crappie fishing. We put in at the Caney Creek ramp and motored the two miles down to where Caney meets the Little Sandy River.

We made our way up the river and tried our luck at a couple of favorite crappie holes. The lake was at normal summer pool. The water was not muddy but dingy.

We fished up there for an hour but caught only a couple of bluegill and a couple of Kentucky bass.

We motored back down the main Lake and found clear water, but still found no crappie. We have always put a dozen or more crappie in the live well each time we fish Grayson.

But this time not one crappie did we catch. It’s a mystery to my limited knowledge where they were.

Which goes back to what I was saying at the beginning: Put us on a lake where the fish are so abundant that they’re in competition with each other, and we can all fish with the pros.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.