Did you ever plan that fishing trip to the big lake, then when you got there you realized you had no idea where to start fishing? Too much ground to cover, right? Let's break it down a bit to simplify it.
The first thing you want to look for is cover; something that 'looks' like a good place for a bass to hide. Depending on the time of day, they will probably be there.
Quite often, you will see stumps and reeds sticking up out of the water. These are easy and obvious spots to fish, and you should definitely fish them. But you also want to look for something that is not always so obvious: grass.
Sometimes you will see grass sticking up near the shore line, and it may extend out from the bank several feet, maybe even many yards. You want to fish these areas very thoroughly early in the morning and in the evening. Also, fish these areas as well on cloud covered days and cooler days when the bass may stay shallow.
Don't pull your boat in at a high speed, just get close enough where you can drift in or use a trolling motor to quietly work your way to the cover. It's very easy to spook fish in grass near the shore.
Be sure to look in the water around you and under you to see how far out the grass extends. You will likely find some other vegetation, like hydrilla, which is a good place for bass to hide. These areas need to be fished thoroughly.
As the day goes on, the fish will usually start moving away from the shore to deeper waters. If the grass and hydrilla extend out quite a way from the bank, start backing away from the bank in search of the bass that are moving to deeper water.
Don't get in a hurry. Use a good weedless lure and work it very, very slowly through the grass. Painfully slow. I suggest you use plastics that will sink slowly. This way you can come across the top of the grass slowly, and the bait will fall into holes in the vegetation. When this happens, hold on tight.
Let the bait sink and don't move it for 10 or 15 seconds, or more. Then, when you do move it, just twitch it a little by jiggling the tip of your rod. The idea here is that you are trying to get your lure to imitate an injured bait fish. This is a deadly action that will entice even the most stubborn bass.
You can also fish the edge of the grass with other lures that are not so weedless, as long as you be careful not to cast the lure into the grass. This will only frustrate you with hang ups and lost lures. For this, I would recommend spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
So, next time you go the that 'big' lake, try this method as a starting point. It should help you get on the bass quickly and make for a much more enjoyable trip.