It’s pretty much a fact in fishing that the more lures fish see, the tougher they are to catch, even for us pros. That’s the reason a lot of our tournaments are won by guys who get far away from all the other fishermen and find an isolated group of big fish that are easy to trick into biting.
From my early days as a bank fisherman, I always tried to avoid the crowds. It’s pretty easy to notice when you’re in a less popular spot. Near parking places, you’ll find the grass beaten down and lots of signs of other fishermen. Spend a few minutes hiking until the path along the lake or stream disappears, and you’ll be in business. Even in popular national parks like Yellowstone with millions of visitors, most everyone fishes the easy-access places, yet few have the dedication to hoof it to slightly more remote water. Their loss!
Avoiding the crowd is even more important in urban ponds. I’ve lived in huge cities like Chicago, Milwaukee and Dallas, fishing some very popular city park lakes with great success. In this case, there is no boat ramp and almost everyone fishes from shore. For an angler on a budget, this is the perfect opportunity to fish from a canoe, kayak or float tube (most of these are available for rent if you don’t want to buy one) and have a lot of water all to yourself. While everyone else is limited to the shoreline, carrying in a small boat and doing a bit of paddling gives you access to the majority of the fish in the middle of the lake that rarely see a bait.