Where to Go Fishing Near Me: An Approach to Find Fish in any Water


How to Fish: Fish where the fish are

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was just a little freckle-faced kid with a mullet (pic for street cred), fishing rod, tackle box, and a dream. My mom was finally comfortable dropping me off and letting me fish alone when I was around 8 or 9 years old. By today's standards, I guess that might sound a little weird, but back in the '80s, it was par for the course. We rode bikes without helmets, didn't have a tracking beacon attached to our hip (smartphone), and didn't have a worry in the world. Looking like a cross between Joe Dirt (Dirte' if you're fancy) and Alfalfa, I couldn't wait to get to the pond every day.mulletman

At some point, I got tired of feeling like catching fish was a lottery at the pond. The pier where everyone else fished was loaded with bluegill, perch, and cruising bass, but also tons of people. They were catching fish, but even back then, I didn't like the idea of fishing where everyone else was. The problem though is the pier was one of the few spots you could quickly identify as an area that would hold fish. I made a choice one day that helped shape the angler I would turn into today. I decided to leave the community hole to find my own fish.

The first area I started fishing away from the crowds didn't have any distinguishing features that set it apart from the rest of the pond. A bare shoreline with semi-stained open water in every direction as far as I could cast. I was using the same weightless setup I'd caught bass of the pier with the year before. A Lazer Sharp offset round bend worm hook with a 6-inch black plastic worm. This weightless setup was my jam back in the late '80s, and I caught a ton of fish with it, but it was a slow presentation. I was only a few casts in when I realized if I didn't speed it up a little, I could be crawling that worm along for half the summer before I start finding fish.

Sitting on a rock scratching my mullet, I started strategizing. Looking back, I can't remember if I devised this plan myself, heard it from an old-timer at the tackle shop, or watched one of my fishing heroes on TV talk about it. Either way, as a little kid, I started putting together a one-two punch to cover water to find fish, then come back through and pick apart the areas where I found those fish. It's a method that I'm sure has been around longer than ole freckles here, but none the less it's an idea that will help you find and catch fish! 


The Seek and Destroy one-two punch will help you find fish regardless of the species you're chasing or the type of water you're fishing. It shines in smaller bodies of water and ponds best where you're limited to smaller craft or shore fishing. Still, you can apply the approach to almost any fishing situation.find fish pic 2

The seek part of seek and destroy is simple. Find a good search bait and get to work finding fish. A search bait is something that you can cover a lot of water with quickly and effectively. For example, spinnerbaits, buzz baits, squarebills, lipless cranks, and swimbaits all make fantastic search baits for bass. Spinners, small jerkbaits, and spoons make excellent search baits for trout. The idea of a search bait or the Seek in this method is a presentation that you can quickly cover water with.

I started covering as much as I could decades ago with a search bait until the fish started talking to me. I spend a little more time in juicy-looking spots and corners in ponds, but for the most part, taking 5-10 casts then moving is a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind, when you're seeking, you're doing recon as much as you're focusing on catching fish. You're actively learning the body of water you're fishing in a way most others won't be willing to put the work into.

As you're covering water, make sure you're taking mental notes of any clues the fish or fishery show you. If you get a follow, bump underwater cover with a bait, catch a fish, or get a feeling the spot you're at needs another look, take a mental note. In a boat, you can drop waypoints and get back to the exact spot you're on, but when you're pond hopping (where Seek and Destroy shines), you have to use identifying features of the pond to get back to spots. It could be something as simple as a park bench, a tree, or a particular rock, but make sure you're trying to give yourself a way to get back to spots that need a second look.

Although the goal here is to cover water, remember you're still fishing. Vary the retrieve speed, depth, or cadence with whatever search bait you're using until the fish let you know exactly what they're looking for.

If you're covering a lot of water and taking notes, you should find at least a handful of spots you'll want to double back on after you're done seeking.


Destroy is pairing the search bait in the seek portion of the approach with a methodical presentation you can use to pick spots apart after you have a few clues. For instance, bass destroy presentation examples would be a jig and craw trailer, shaky head, drop shot rig, Ned style rig, or a wacky rig. Trout examples would be marabou jigs, nightcrawlers on the bottom, or Powerbait.

When you're doubling back on spots, especially the first couple times you employ this approach, fish hard! If you find a laydown, for instance, don't cast at it twice, then move on. Be thoughtful and take the time to give fish a look from every angle at every decent-looking spot of the laydown. The idea here isn't just to catch fish. It's also to determine what parts of the body of water you're breaking down are worth extra effort or should be eliminated from your rotation.

Seek and Destroy is a systematic approach pairing a presentation you can cover tons of water quickly with another presentation you can pick areas apart. The short-term gain of Seek and Destroy is it's a super fun way to catch fish and learn a fishery. The long-term growth is with each clue you use to double back and catch fish from an area others ignore; you're learning the building blocks of pattern building. Over time building a pattern is a muscle you can strengthen that'll allow you to quickly and efficiently find and catch fish in almost any situation.

What species are you going to chase with seek and destroy? What search baits are you going to Seek with, and what presentation are you going to double back and destroy with? Let's talk fishing!

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