Fish pressure can originate from a variety of sources. The number one cause is by anglers themselves. This is best illustrated by busy, popular fishing lakes, during weekends or holidays, and while tournaments are taking place. The more anglers or boat traffic — especially targeting favorable spots — the greater the chance for a fishery under pressure.
|Consider dropping lure size, which will be considered a "snack" instead of a "meal".|
So how do you combat the all-too-common-case of angling pressure? Quite simply, a change in tactics and going against the grain will give you the edge needed.
Do a Downsize
Pressured fish are smart fish. On the strength of their highly tuned senses, fooling these now wary adversaries becomes that much more difficult. One proven way is to literally "lighten up."
Light line and downsized baits appear more natural and enticing to overly cautious fish. Think of it as that after dinner mint. You always eat one no matter how full or uninterested you may be. Downsizing is also advantageous as it gives the fish something different to look at, as opposed to the "norm" that most folk will be throwing.
Fluorocarbon leaders offer low visibility. Braid and monofilament can't touch them in this department. A 6-foot section tied to your main line should do the trick. Choose a tensile strength that is adequate for the technique, but that is downsized from what you routinely tie on.
Drop lure size accordingly, but don't be afraid to go small. Mini crankbaits, micro plastics, and baby spoons are all worthwhile choices. For jigs, drop a size or two in the weight department for a slower decent and increased action. Think snack instead of meal.
Work the Night Shift
One sure fire way to counteract angler pressure is by going against the grain. Changing your fishing schedule can easily accomplish this. Once darkness falls, the lake for the most part, is devoid of angler attention. With this comes a return to normalcy, and a more willing fish to catch.
Fishing pressure subsides during the night shift, and many fish that were unwilling to bite — or be found — during the busy day time hours, are now more susceptible to angler attention.
Keep in mind that not all fish species are willing night time biters. But if your quarry includes walleye, bass or trout — the graveyard shift might open your eyes to many new possibilities.
Night fishing is a productive pattern for those popular lakes that get hit particularly hard. And if weekday fishing isn't an option, casting at night on the weekends is your next best bet.
Safety is paramount when heading out in the dark. Respect the water and always take the necessary precautions.
Give Them Something New
Fish should get more credit than we give them. When it comes down to it, they are pretty smart. After seeing everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them, fish become conditioned to ignore certain lures or baits. Generally, these can be the most popular thrown.
Give the fish something that will make you stand out from the crowd. A good option is a new lure fresh on the market. By offering them something they have never seen before, the likelihood of getting bit goes up. Even tying on an odd-ball color of an often-thrown bait can have the same effect. I liken it to when a brand new shiny sports car passes me on the highway. I always stare and take notice.