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What To Look For In A Good Fishing Report

Posted: June 5th, 2013 by Bill Dance

It amazes me how fishing reports have changed over the years.

Once, long ago and at a reservoir perhaps not so far away, you would arrive at your fishing destination and start asking questions at the local bait shop or boat ramp. “What are the biting?” “Are they catching any bass?” “Did you do any good?” “Where’s the best place to start?” These were a few of the questions anglers would begin to ask upon arrival.

Of course, the digging would continue while on the water. Anglers would ask other fishermen like questions when they met on the water. And of course, they would watch and try to learn as well. “Could you tell what lures those guys were fishing with?”

Newspapers and magazines often printed fishing reports, and some still do, but the time element was and is always a factor. A heavy rain or cold front before the print medium’s deadline could change everything by publication date.

Telephone calls have certainly helped anglers catch many a fish via solid reports. And today reports can be filed via smart phone on social media and Internet websites, most even before boats get back to the ramp. Heck, they can video and post the action while it’s happening. It is certainly hard to beat that for an up-to-the-minute fishing report.

Again, times have changed.

So what do you look for in a good report? Well, you look for the three factors that are key to all successful fishing. You want to know depth, location and presentation. I have always called these elements of fishing the Big 3. All three are the foundation of successful fishing, so it’s certainly things you want included in a good fishing report.

And you know, you can ask about these three without being to intrusive. Anglers shouldn’t mind telling you what depth they are finding fish or how they are presenting the bait or lure. Now, location…well, you might be better served to ask, “What kind of cover, or what kind of structure are you fishing?” You just can’t expect any angler to give away their favorite honey hole.

Meanwhile, remember:

* Depth is perhaps the most important factor in bass fishing. If you are not at the right depth, you are wasting time. Today’s electronics help you key in on this factor.

* The depth can determine your presentation, but most often the fish are going to dictate what they find most appealing, fast, slow, etc. You have to experiment, here. But with a report you certainly have a better idea what to start with, and sometimes on less or inactive fish, precise presentations are a must.

* Points, ledges, boat docks, vegetation…all are locations. And these are locations people can offer in a report without giving away their secret spots. A final, note is that whatever the locale, the proximity of deep water always tends to make it a more likely place to find fish.

So keep all this in mind when seeking or even offering a fishing report.

As always, catch one for me,

Bill Dance


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