use for bed fishing. Trust me they all work; some just better than others. The lures I will have on the deck of the boat will be tubes, jigs, a swimbait with no hooks, a drop shot, Texas rig and a Senko. Canyon Plastics and K’s SDHB and R.
Depending on each scenario you have to evaluate lots of variables when at- tempting to pick a fish off. Are they paired up? Can you find the sweet spot? Boat positioning is the single most important factor when fishing a bed. The further you are away from that fish the less likely he is going to be on guard. Some fish are going to have lock jaw and some are going to bite on the first cast.
Are you opening and closing rod lockers? Are you walking from the front to back of the boat? Common sense and stealthy approaches are an absolute must when fishing these scenarios. I always have what I am fishing that day in my pocket. All my hooks, weights, extra baits etc. I rarely ever open up a rod locker or walk around on my boat, fumbling around with locks or baits.
When approaching the bed, I always try to get down as low to the ground as possible, usually one knee and operate the trolling motor with my hand in most cases. Looks kind of silly, but I think the fish are less intimidated. We all have our reasons for our techniques.
You’re probably asking yourself a few questions. What’s the sweet spot? Why a swim bait with no hooks? The sweet spot is a spot within the bed where a fish gets really excited. It could be on the upper- left corner, lower right, or just plain smack dab in the middle of the bed. Find it, read the fish and react to the situation.
Beingableto read thefishisanothertrait thatis learnedwithtimeonthewater. Youwill knowwhenthat fishisreadyto go,maybewait a day, or just plainpasson itand moveontothenextGPS markwitha bedonit.
When fishing tournaments, reading the fish is crucial for time management and being able to make the most of an eight hour period. If you’re fun fishing, you can always come back to that spot in a couple hours or even the next day. When all else fails ,sometimes I will just throw a big swimbait to
ISSUE 1 February 2012
As pictured, Canyon Plastic Tubes, Folkestad Special Roboworm, Yum Money Minnow, Bass Patrol Football Jig with Yamamoto 301 trailer.
the fish mad. This can get them off the bed by intentionally hitting them in the side or in the rear. Remember, your point is to make that fish as aggressive as possible to bite your lure. In closing, here are some points to remember. Be pre- pared, when you are out there scouting for bedding fish, learn to read the fish, stay still and use as little movement as possible, superior boat control is a must, turn your electronics off-you don’t need them it’s called sight fishing!
If you see a bed, chances are there are more around; look for movement, stay in a spot and just sit there, if there is a bed without a fish on it chances are it sees you from a hidden area. Leave your bait on the bed and move the boat away. Experiment with dye colors. so it is easy for you to see your bait. Go deep- er; not all bed fish are in 2- to3- feet of water. The big- ger ones are always harder to see and much deeper. I have caught bed fish in 20-plus feet of water.
Andy Manahl is a tournament angler. For 2012 he will be competing in both the Northern and Southern Divisions of WON BASS and most of the FLW Western EverStarts. He is sponsored by Lobina Lures - Home of the Rico , Mattress De- pot, A and M graphics, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Westernbass.com, Reactor Watches and TC Sports Report! You can follow him throughout the season at his website www.andymanahl.com or read his blog atTC Sports Report.