After spending time talking with fishermen over the years I have heard a simple question asked over and over. “Where is your favorite place to fish?” For me…this question is impossible to answer. However, as I dig deep down to come up with a semi-logical answer, I find myself diving through an ocean of memories of big fish in far out places. So, to answer the question, my favorite place to fish is the backwaters. Let me explain…
Let’s start by defining the word ‘backwater’. When I use this term, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to travel some insane distance to get there. Some of the coolest places I have fished have been just miles from town. What I am trying to convey by using this term is the idea of searching out those places that are out of the ordinary and essencially in the ‘back’ of the mind of other anglers. These are places that are hidden from view, from roads, or from highways, and therefore just glanced over.
Now, in order for the term ‘backwater’ to be applied to an area, it actually has to produce fish. To take this term and try to apply it to the shot out retention pond on the outskirts of town is silly. Fish population and health is necessary for me to deem any overlooked waterway a classic ‘backwater’ fishery. For example, all the fish in this post were caught in the very same location on the same evening. This area is a prime example of a classic ‘backwater’.
So, how is properly defining this term even relevant to your outdoor pursuits? Simply taking a glance at the photos in this post should make the answer to that question very clear; however, I will elaborate.
Backwaters are not only great places to fish and develope the skill needed to be a successful, well rounded angler but they are essential habitats for maintaining healthy fish populations. These areas are common ‘safe havens’ for fish to get away and be able to spawn in safety. Without these areas in place a large percentage of fish populations would have a hard time keep up their numbers, as well as quality.
Let’s wrap this post up! How can you locate ‘backwater’ areas in your county? This is acually easier than you would think. Simply download the google earth program on your laptop and start looking for places that you never realized were there before! They can range from small tributaries to larger rivers, old lakes outside of town, or even abandoned golf courses. Just look for old bodies of water that seem to be overlooked. Use this program to then plot a way to best access the area without having to tresspass through private property. Once you have completed these steps it is time to get in there and literally test the waters. This my friends is the fun part!
Remember, no matter what your success in these locations ends up being; keep your hearts right, and your lines tight!
Capt. Jesse Males