Bass Fishing: Narrowing Down What Structures to Fish
It is a well-known fact that bass love structure, but in many lakes the amount of structure is overwhelming. There are down trees, cribs, boulders, docks, creek beds, short and tall weeds, and all of these things are in different depths with different bottom types. With that said, I look at two elements to simplify which structure is worth fishing.
Water depth is the first and most important element when I look at structure. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the log or dock has to be in 8 or 10 feet of water, but deeper water needs to be close to have that structure hold bigger fish. A good example is a down tree that I hit most days when fishing. The main part of the log is in 3 feet of water and the top of the tree extends all the way down to about 12 feet. During mid day I fish the deepest part of the tree with a football jig with a craw trailer or Reaction Innovation’s Sweet Beaver Texas rigged. I will fish both very slowly in midday. If it is prime time morning or afternoon, I will fish the edges up shallower in 4-6 feet of water, and fish much faster. If they don’t hit it on the fall or within a few seconds on the bottom, I will make another pitch making sure to cover the whole tree at that depth. They seam to move up during that time and get much more aggressive.
When fishing smaller structure like a smaller down log or crib I really like to fish hard bottom. Most of the time with soft bottoms the structure sinks down into the muck and the bass do not like to hold right on that muck, but with a hard bottom they seam to hold tight to the structure and right on the bottom. When the water is clear in the spring I will find some hard bottom with structure in 5-8 feet with deeper water close. When you can find this type of structure you can sometimes pull 5-10 bass of that same piece of structure. Many times you will have to sort through a few smaller fish, but normally there will be one or two bigger fish holding there. In the deeper water I like to use some type of jig to get down to the fish faster, and nock of the wood or whatever the structure is. Most times the initial fall will trigger a strike, and even better if you can hit the structure. If the fish don’t strike the jig right away move it a little, but try to keep it close to the structure.
Depth is the main characteristic, and a hard bottom is the second characteristic I look at when I pick out which structure to fish. When I pick a structure, I fish it like I know there are fish there because I feel I put more effort and fish with more passion when choosing structure I am confident that is holding fish. From my experience bigger fish want deep water close by, and if you can find good structure with deep water near by your day can turn to a fun one in a hurry. Hopefully this information will help you next time on the water. Keep on jiggin' for a biggin'!
Written by Pro Staff Member, Jesse Rose