4th of july fishing, pressured fish, fishing, secluded fishing spots, fish off the grid
Try to escape the crowds at a less accessible fishing spot. jocelynengi, via Flickr

Your favorite fishing lake will look more like the deer woods on opening day this weekend. Everyone from jet and water skiers to plain old pleasure boaters are poised to take over the water, transforming most hardcore anglers into expletive-spewing crazy people. Fishermen can either cuss and fight, or take the work-around route and catch some fish. Here are three things to try if your fishing hole is pressured, all which surely beat not fishing at all.

1. Explore

Break out the Gazeteer and GPS and look for potential hotspots that are off the beaten path, but open to fishing. The three that I intend to fish this weekend can only be reached on foot or by quad. I know that there are good fish in each and also know that I’m likely to have the places to myself.

2. Go Early, Stay Late

July 4th weekend revelers are big on parties, but not so great at waking up prior to sunrise. Set the alarm for 4 a.m. and hit the lake for the first few hours in the morning. In the afternoon, hit the water while everyone else is coming off it. Remember, too, that it’s pretty tough to water ski in a rocky cove or in flooded timber. You should pick your spots accordingly.

3. Adjust Your Tactics

In addition to tweaking your fishing times, consider changing your tactics this weekend as well—especially if angling pressure has you singing the blues. Might sound silly when other boats are buzzing all around you, but practice stealth. Leave the tunes back in the truck and avoid banging gear across the bottom of the boat. Pressured fish are spooky fish.

Go small and go thick. Run-of-the-mill anglers (there are a lot of them around on summer weekends) are not fond of fishing the slop and losing tackle. That’s precisely why you should beeline it for dense cover. Pressured whitetails love thick cover and so do largemouths. Downsizing neutral colored baits can also work well. Finesse and determination will pay off even when bass are off their feed.