Fishing a lake with which you are unfamiliar is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  All the pieces have to be in their proper place.

Some of the considerations are such factors as water temperature, color, and level, as well as the time of the year.  There are just so many bits and pieces.

Look at seasonal patterns.  What bass should be doing at that particular time of year?  As an example if you are going to a lake in the south in early spring.  Look for flats in the backs of creeks or main lake points with cover where you could throw a suspended jerkbait.

Look for places that suit your style of fishing.  Maybe you like shallow water, stained water, stumps and things.

A good contour lake map is the best investment one can make.  However, you need to understand what you are reading.  Know what the contour lines mean.  Know how to read the map, understand what is there, and how bass relate to it.  Heavy vegetation can also affect the choice of lures.

Base lure selection on seasonal patterns.  If it is pre-spawn then have crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, spinner baits and jerk baits tied on your lines.  If it is more summer time, more deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, and things like Carolina rigs are required.

Is there a go to bait to use when all else fails, one might chose a 3/8th ounce spinner bait.  A shallow to medium diving crankbait might be good in the spring with bass in a pre-spawn to spawn phase.

Most bass anglers in a bind will pick up a spinnerbait with tandem silver blades or a shallow to a medium diving crankbait and just throw to cover.

As for color, one might go to a white or blue skirt on the spinnerbait.  If the water is not too muddy, go with tandem willow-leaf blades.  A number 4 is good.  If the bite is slow, try a six-inch plastic worm.


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