10 Tips for Fine-Tuning Your Deep Water Massacre
By Josh Bracamontes
Over the last few years all the rage in bass fishing has been conquering offshore structure; and rightfully so. This year alone multiple Bassmaster Tour and FLW events were won fishing submerged structure and cover that held massive schools of giant bass. Even weekend and club level events have been infiltrated by those who display deep water prowess. With so many new anglers learning to fish offshore, information on the basics of structure fishing is everywhere. Nearly every new edition of any bass fishing magazine has multiple articles on how to get started. That is not what this feature article is about. Here, Omega Custom Tackle pro and Lake of the Ozarks big stick, Roger Fitzpatrick gives the finer points on how to dramatically increase your success as a deep water structure fisherman.
This year alone Roger Fitzpatrick has two BFL titles on Ozark lakes. He is one of the most successful all-time fishermen in this region of the country and his success relies heavily on the hidden lairs of big bass. “Structure fishing is so effective, especially this time of year, and is really a lot easier than most people think.” Fitzpatrick divulges these tips to help you catch more and bigger bass:
1. “Stay off of your trolling motor” – Most bank fishermen are in the habit of burning down the shoreline covering as much water as possible. Find the sweet spot, line up your cast and fish it.
2. “Have your milk run ready” – Once you have found the sweet spot on multiple pieces of structure, create your milk run. Sometimes the fish will move just off of the sweet spot but it is usually better to keep your bait in the high percentage areas than to blindly cast to a point, ledge, or flat.
3. “Ensure that your lures are prepared and rods rigged.” – Like all great fishermen, Fitzpatrick trims skirts, thins weed guards and replaces dull hooks before he even gets in the boat. Then he rigs multiple rods the exact same way to save from having to re-tie (incredibly important when you ignite the school).
4. “Get a Side-Finder” – This saves tremendous amounts of time and shows schools and cover you would have otherwise missed.
5. “Fluorocarbon is a must” – Fitzpatrick gauges how heavy his P-Line fluorocarbon should be by how thick the cover is. This gives him maximum sensitivity and insurance against break-offs.
6. “Use the Pro-Mega jig” – This jig by Omega Custom Tackle was designed by Fitzpatrick himself to come through rocks as well as any football head yet it will not wedge in wood like the football head tends to do.
7. “Heavy jigs are more efficient” – A big heavy Pro-Mega jig gets to the bottom faster and allows you to feel everything on the lake floor. It also attracts the giant tournament winning bass.
8. “Be willing to switch it up” – When you have your limit, try something different. If you are not getting the quality of bites needed to win the tournament alter your approach. Try swapping lures or angles, going deeper or shallower etc.
9. “Be able to hit the sweet spot on your first cast” – Fitzpatrick uses his Side-Finder to plot a gps point, find the cover on his sonar and lines up land marks on the bank. With this three pronged attack he is able to hit his sweet spot on every single cast no matter how small the target is.
10. “Look for patterns” – Patterning fish is not just a shallow water tactic. Bass sometimes prefer rock to wood or grass in deep water too. Use the clues to figure out if fish are relating to brush on flats, shad on drops, or big rocks on long points etc. Then run ad gun to find as many similar places as possible.