We have all heard the time of year type of lake stuff. But, when you have decided where you are going to start looking how do you go about finding what the fish will eat, and how much time do you spend with one technique. Do you have a routine? Start with reaction stuff, give that a few minutes then switch to a jig etc. Then how long do you stick with one spot before you try another? Thanks for your time.
Scott, that's a real tough question because there are so many variables. I think that time on the water and years of experience gives a good idea what to start with.
I would generally always start with reaction baits, but if we have a cold front and the fish get tied to cover, I'll flip a jig, worm, sweet beaver, or brush hog. On a rising barometer, I would still generally fish tight to cover early in the day. The first day after the storm I would still fish slow and deliberate, tight to cover.
As the weather stabilizes, I would generally throw reaction baits, swim baits, cranks, and jerk baits. If the water has become off color, I would probably start with a spinner bait for reaction. If I'm not getting any bites with reaction, I would fish a jig or worm on structure. The structure would depend on the time of year and what the bait is doing.
For an example, several years ago, I was leading an FLW tournament for 3 days using a swim bait. On the fourth day we had a huge cold front. I fell out of 1st place still trying to make the fish bite on a swimbait. Jimmy Reese beat me and won the tournament on the fourth day by fishing structure with a dart head. After two hours of not getting a bite on the swimbait, I should have switched to some other method.
If I am fishing a "spot", I wouldn't spend more than a half hour per spot.
Consequently when you are fishing areas, spend about an hour or two with a variety of baits fishing tules, grass, rocks, brush, docks, and other structure.
I hope this gives you a general idea. Good luck.