Think about sanctuaries as fish “homes” where they feel comfortable and safe from other predators. Oftentimes these can be deeper areas of a water column that provide fish a sufficient amount of oxygen and appropriate water temperatures given the time of year. It’s very likely that these same sanctuaries are positioned relatively closely to sources of food. As fish become hungry, that’s the trigger that forces their movement from their sanctuaries to feeding areas. Once they’re full, they’ll then return to these same sanctuaries.
It’s a common theory that changes in light and weather patterns directly influence the activity level and movement of fish. Low pressure storm fronts bring with them clouds and winds that help break the surface of the water. These conditions can generally make fish feel less vulnerable, boosting their activity level, and trigger their movement. When the front passes, it’s just the opposite effect – the weather clears and fish become less active, tending to hold tighter to cover. As fish adjust their behavior based on conditions, it’s a common principle that they orient themselves along defined travel routes through which they move between holding areas (sanctuaries) and feeding areas.
More often than not, fish will tend to move from deeper areas of the water column to shallower areas to feed in search of minnows, insects, or any other type of forage that satisfies their hunger. When targeting gamefish, look for these shallow areas as marked on your fishing map. If you can locate weed beds, downed timber, fish cribs or any other type of shallow structure it’s a good bet those areas will hold viable food sources. As an angler, it’s your job to position yourself between the edge of the flat where the water drops sharply (sanctuary), and an area of a shallow feeding ground. As weather, water temperature, and conditions permit, it’s then just a matter of intercepting (and catching!) fish as they move along their defined travel routes.
Next time you look at a fishing map pay close attention to this relationship between water depth and shallow cover to discover these travel routes, or take advantage of the Fishing Hot Spots® on Fishidy’s maps to uncover these areas for you that will lead to more successful days on the water.