By Lee Mason
Many of us live in the city. It is where the jobs are, where stuff is and for better or worse where we have to be most of the time. If you’re reading this you also love to fish, and like me don’t want to wait until the weekend to do it.
A few years ago I was working in Coppel, Texas, a part of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis. My job basically mandated we take an hour-long lunch break midday and I started to wonder if instead of sitting in my car after going through the Jimmy John’s drive-thru if I could wet a line in any of the nearby bodies of water and land a bass. I started packing a fishing pole and small tackle box in my trunk.
Where to Fish on your Lunch Break
If you’re driving to work everyday and there are possible fishing spots nearby, chances are you already have a mental list of places to try.
Get on Google Earth or Google Maps and virtually scout these places. See if you can find access points, parking areas, trails, anything to let you know they are viable fishing locations.
This is going to take some trial and error. Unless you have been to these places, you won’t know if you can get access or not. Gates might be closed, they may be on private property, but the hunt is part of the fun!
Where I worked in Coppell, there was a park right down the road that bordered the Trinity river. Canals would branch off the river in several places in and amongst a business park, so that is one spot I tried. Believe it or not, not only did I catch Largemouth Bass in these canals, I also caught White Bass, Perch and even a Catfish, all on a white ⅛-ounce Rooster Tail!
There was also a rainwater catchment pond right across the street from my office building next to a Race Track gas station. It was about 60 yards long and 20 yards wide with moss around the edges. I fished this “pond” many times, parking at the gas station and walking down. Incredibly, I could usually land 20 to 30 perch in less than an hour from this water filled ditch! Occasionally I would also catch a small bass there too.
Business park ponds, city canals, rainwater catchment ditches, these places almost always have bass, perch and sometimes other species in them. Even if you think there is no way a tiny ditch next to a gas station would have fish in it, much less Largemouth Bass, give it a shot! You just might be surprised what you catch.
How to Fish in an Hour or Less
Pack a lunch and eat on the way if you can. A sandwich you can bite while driving or protein bar will work. Hey, to catch these fish you might have to be a little hungry yourself!
This may sound silly, but go take a leak before lunchtime so that you’ve got that extra few minutes during your break. If you’ve got to take a dump, make that happen before too.
You want maximum time on the water, so have a spot picked out beforehand. Head straight there and get to fishing! Cast, retrieve, cast, retrieve. You’d be surprised how many casts you can get in!
Have a small fishing kit ready to go with your rod and reel. I use one of the small, clear tackle boxes to carry extra lures and I always have a pair of needle-nosed pliers for cutting line and unhooking fish.
What Baits to Use to land Bass in the City
Since you will be on a time crunch, artificial lures will be the way to go.
Lures that cause the bass to attack from agitation are key because bass won’t be actively feeding at mid-day. You will need to make them mad to bite your bait.
Large Road Runner jigs allow you to cover water fast and the blade creates a vibration the fish can home-in on. Casting spoons are also a good choice. They can be casted very far and create a disturbance in the water while retrieved that can trigger a strike. My absolute favorite is the Rooster Tail spinner. The blade creates a strong buzz in the water that fish can’t resist wanting to bite. Rattle-Traps are also a good choice.
Try several different lures and even some more traditional bass baits like a Texas rigged worm or spinner bait. You never know what might work.
The Right Tackle
Since you won’t have a lot of time to fish, I suggest using a rod and reel that you are familiar with that is simple to operate and won’t cause any issues. The fish you are likely to catch won’t be huge (although they can be), so a medium weight, two-piece spinning setup is perfect.
The time-tested Zebco 33 Combo is perfect for lunch break fishing. It is cheap enough that if it gets damaged in your trunk it isn’t a big deal, and the ultra-reliable push-button reel makes casting and retrieving fast and easy. For line, 8 or 10 pound monofilament works great.
Another great option is any medium or light-medium weight open-face spinning setup with the same 8 or 10 pound monofilament. Spinning reels allow farther casts and are fast on the retrieve so you can cover a lot of water fast. If you want to spend a little more money on your lunch break fishing setup, a Shakespeare Ugly Stick is very durable for trunk storage.
Bait casting rigs are what I would avoid. They are great for pulling big bass from vegetation in lakes but they really are overkill for most scenarios. They are also more expensive, so you may not want to leave them in your trunk. Also, unless you practice with them they can be very hard to cast, burning valuable fishing time.
Go Catch Some Fish!
It is definitely possible to land bass and other fish while on a one hour lunch break, you just have to strategize a bit to do it. Find some spots, have the tackle ready to go in your car or truck and try new spots every day until you find what works and where.
When I was doing this I would get back to the office and my coworkers always wondered where I went, so I started showing them pictures of the fish I’d caught on my cell phone and they couldn’t believe it!
You can do this too! Before heading to work next week, pack a pole and brainstorm a few spots to try out, you never know what you might catch!
Lee Mason is the owner and craftsman at Mason Leather and has been leatherworking since 2011 and hunting since he could carry a rifle, but fishing since he could stand