Covering Water

by Jay Striker

It may seem like eight hours is a long time to fish, and to some it may be. However, in competition bass fishing, eight hours can come and go in what seems like flash. One of the most productive techniques that I use during a competition is what bass anglers call “covering water”. There are times when fishing a tournament that you have to work a bit harder and more efficient, so covering water is one of those techniques that allows you to do both. Let’s dive into this very important practice and look at where to go, where to start, lure selection and time management.

What does “covering water” mean? It means going from point A to point B efficiently and making the right cast that gives you the highest percentage to catch fish while rapidly covering water. The key to this technique is to ensure you hit the hotspots around the targets, cover and structure which you are fishing.

Where do you begin? For me, the process of covering water comes to the forefront when certain conditions have presented themselves. One of those situations is when I’m on a new body of water and I have not had the chance to put in a practice day. More importantly, and often the main reason, is having to cover water because the fish are not doing what they were doing the day before, meaning they have moved. Either one of these situations may have occurred.

Lure selection: You just can’t put any bait on when covering water. Knowing what type of baits to use actually depends on the situation. If I’m targeting fish in the 8-10 foot range, that means I need to pick baits that fit that range such and crankbaits that dive to that level and cover the areas that give me the best chance to catch fish. If during my search process I happen to catch a bass on a dock, then I’ll try and duplicate the effort on the same type docks so that I have eliminated all other docks that do not have the same pattern. Be sure to choose the baits that are natural and allow you to cover the water faster. This also goes for points, rip-rap, lay-downs or whatever the cover may be.

Time management: Covering water can take a lot of time if you don’t know how to manage the time you have. You can’t cover every inch of water in an area that you only have 10 minutes to fish.  How long I spend fishing an area really depends on if I think the fish are there, or if I see them on my electronics and believe I can catch them. There is an easy way to be sure that your time does not get away from you and that is to set a timer. When it goes off, you can move to the next area so that you can be productive.

Learning to cover water rapidly in a tournament gives you the ability to eliminate water faster and make you a much better decision maker on the water. Knowing when, why, what lures to use, and managing your time can be the key to turning a tough tournament into one that you can be glad you learned to “cover water”. By learning to use this technique, I believe that you can be more successful on the water.

Please remember to check me out on social media under Jay Striker on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and You-Tube “On Deck with Jay Striker”