NAFC Life Member Bill Siemantel was still on a high from being inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame at the 2009 fishing industry trade show when I handed him a map and asked him to help with this article. It was no surprise when he immediately started peppering me with ideas on how to approach the story, the lake, and all things fishing for that matter. That’s just the kind of guy he is, and it’s representative of the many reasons he’d just made the Hall of Fame.
As in previous installments of this series, we gave him an actual Navionics HotMaps Premium paper chart of a Western bass lake and told him to show NAFC members exactly where he would fish and how he would do it from December through January.
Siemantel, who’s caught hundreds of bass topping 10 pounds, went above and beyond, marking 40 ultra-specific spots on this fishery—any of which he says could yield the bass of a lifetime. In fact, he marked so many spots that space doesn’t allow us to show all of them here—go to FishingClub.com and click on Web Extra to see every one, as well as learn his tactics for fishing them.
But the spots themselves are just part of solving the big-bass puzzle here and on waters everywhere. Siemantel says that finding and catching huge large-mouths with any consistency requires hitting the water each day with a clean slate, an analytical mind and the willingness to listen to the fish.
“In any given day, I might fish half of the spots I’ve marked here just to figure out where the fish are and what they’re doing,” he told me as we reviewed the map together. “Go out and listen to the fish—don’t set yourself up for failure by deciding what you’re going to do ahead of time.”
Combine that sage advice with Siemantel’s approach for carving up a lake’s structure and you’re guaranteed to catch more giant bass.
Click here to download the Map PDF file and you can check out how Siemantel fishes.