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Fishing Used Water
by Bassin' Bob Smith

Every bass angler has to face it. Tournaments are notorious for it. Crowded, small, bodies of water see it happen very often. You can even make it happen to yourself. Having to fish "used water".

Used water is any stretch of bank, structure, or area that has already been fished before you get to it. After you yourself work an area it becomes used water. Being successful while fishing behind another angler requires three important elements. Your bait selection, presentation and attitude.

Attitude first. If your mental outlook on the situation is bleak, then your results are likely to be the same. Keeping a positive attitude toward what you are doing will often spell the difference between a paycheck and a frustrating day on the water.

Watching another person boating fish, especially keepers during a tournament, from "your" spot is extremely depressing. There they are, catching "your" fish! You just know that by the time you get a chance to work the area that all the "good" fish will have been caught already, and the remaining ones will be turned off.

One way to keep your outlook positive is to consider that they are catching the most active fish, which are generally the smaller ones. Looking at it from this perspective means that the heavyweights are still there, waiting for you to catch them.

If they are fishing fast, then you know you need to fish slow. If they are fishing slow, then maybe you have to fish even slower still. Watch where they are casting to, if possible, and make a mental note of the whole scenario. Learn from what they are doing so you can make  good, sound, decisions as to your course of action.

Another thing to consider is the depth they are fishing. If there is any cover or structure a little further off the bank, or away from where they are fishing, moving there could open up some "new" water for you. Sometimes simply backing off a few feet can produce this effect. Even if you created the used water, backing that extra few feet from the bank could yield big dividends.

Paramount to success is choosing a bait that is different from what has been thrown into the area.  If the area is pilings in three feet of water and everyone has been using spinnerbaits and worms, try a crankbait or jig. Even if you choose the same basic bait, try different colors and sizes.

Opting to change baits and presentations is usually your best bet, especially if you know the area holds good fish. Deciding that the place is "fished out" and leaving often means that you will start form scratch and have to locate new fish. During a tournament this move can be a catastrophe!

Being observant and adapting are keys to success in any fishing situation. So the next time you find yourself working along a bank behind another boat, watch carefully. Select a bait that is different from what they are using. Fish slowly and methodically, while maintaining a positive attitude. Remember, used water does not mean that the fish are gone or will not bite. It simply means that you need to adapt to the situation at hand.

. - Bassin' Bob Smith

Bob, thank you so much on behalf of the Bassdozer visitors who have enjoyed reading your fine article. Used water is something we all have to deal with sooner or later. Please feel welcome to click here and visit Bassin' Bob's Bass Fishing Site.

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