Fishing your Town Lake

I just got back from Phoenix filming an episode of City Limits. What we did there is a lesson for all of us. You don't have to travel a long ways, or spend a bunch of money, to catch bass. You can do it right in your backyard.

We fished a little lake out there called Town Lake. That's exactly what it was, too, a town lake. If I had to guess I'd say it was about 200 acres, not much more than that anyway.

It's surrounded by a man-made concrete sea wall, has a running and walking track along the shoreline and is used by Arizona State University as a training site for their sculling team. Town Lake is about as ordinary as you can get. There's one like it in most every city, town and village in America.

At first the fishing was tough; I don't think we caught anything during the first hour. Then things started to happen. We got a bite or two, and, ever so slowly, started to develop a pattern. By the end of the day we'd boated at least 15 keepers. That's a pretty good day by almost any standard.

Our best bite came off an old blue tarp that was in the water. It wasn't much to look at but it was holding bass. It wasn't like they had a choice. Town Lake is where they live. They can't pack up their belongings and move to a better neighborhood. This is where they were born; it's where they live; it's where they'll die.

That's the lesson here. Any body of water is capable of holding a decent population of bass. It doesn't have to cover thousands of acres of water and hide miles of twisting creek channels and thousands of brush piles. And it most definitely doesn't have to be hundreds of miles from your home.

If you doubt that, take a look at the farm ponds in your neighborhood. Many of them are full of bass. Yet, a lot of them are nothing more than barren circles of water. Remember: Bass use what they have, not what they would like to have.

Another advantage that metropolitan lakes offer is easy access and the opportunity to cover water quickly and efficiently. If you only have to cover a few hundred acres you can do that efficiently with a small flat bottom johnboat. Use a portable electric motor, or if you don't have one of those, use oars or a sculling paddle.

In some cases you don't need a boat at all. You can work around the shore and fish most of the available water. This is a super way to bass fish if you're on a tight budget, which a lot of us are these days.

There's a Town Lake where you live, and it's not very far from your house. Take advantage of it.

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