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Paddling or pedaling on the prowl for fish and we’re burning daylight, where should we head?


I watch the tournament bass anglers with multiple electronic screens, accessibility to water and weather conditions, fish pixels showing location and size of fish, a strong thrust trolling motor and a super speedy outboard survey their situation and go right to boat docks! Why? Boat docks hold fish almost anytime of the year. With qualities that satisfy the bass like cover, food, deep water close by they are bass magnets. You can pattern the bass bite ranging from shade, to current break to food sources available and replicate your success by just moving to the next boat dock. Dock with light poles generally have crappie brush piles nearby and they pull bass in also. Wood or concrete pilings offer food for bait fish and concrete radiates the heat from the sun. Any normal bass bait can be worked around the boat docks. Make your appointment with the “Dock”.



Again cover is one of the basic bass needs, wood is desirable for both bass and bait. Algae grows on submerged wood and brings in aquatic food sources and next on the food chain gamefish like bluegill, crappie and of course all three major species of bass. Shade and an ambush point is supplied by giant fallen trees or little branches or saplings that have found their way to the water. Fishing the tangles can be accomplished with jigs, plastic worms (rigged weedless) spinners and even the multi-hook crankbait. The squarebill variety of crankin’ baits actual produce a bite when the bait hits the underwater wood and “deflects”. Jigs have a multiple stand fiber guard but inevitably you’ll lose a few to the hardwoods. Plastic worms rigged weedless Texas rigged will slither through the maze of branches and often draw a strike from the other wise negative mood largemouth. A good hook set, braided line and a heavy action rod will help you “winch” your prize from the lumber. Buzzbaits can call fish out when zipped over any trees, stumps or brush piles also.

wood pictures


As previously mentioned otherwise neutral or negative bass can be coaxed out of hiding by running a bait into, around and over heavy cover. Aquatic vegetation, dock or bridge pilings, fallen trees, boulder rock, submerged stumps all qualify for bait deflection potential hot spots. Cast the bait past the target and give it a subsurface bounce off the cover and wait for the reaction. (It shouldn’t take long) My favorite bait for this technique is a square bill crankbait but others work too. Spinners, buzzers and even swim baits bounced off objects appear stunned and look like an easy meal. A stout spinning rod works but my preference is a seven-foot bait casting combo (medium action rod) with a 6.3:1 ger retrieve ratio spooled with 14-pound test monofilament line to facilitate the take of the fish. Make sure your hooks are “sticky” sharp!

deflection photos


Almost everyone loves the visual of a bass busting through the surface to take an artificial bait. Top water fishing can begin when surface water temperatures reach 50 degrees and climb. At 60 degrees up to 75 degrees hang onto to your hat, paddle and rod. Warm water brings pre-spawn conditions and heavy feeding. Bass in shallow water stay and begin the bedding ritual BUT once they are on bed, they will remove intruders from the nest but don’t feed. So…pre-spawn feed heavily, post spawn time to reload. Any area that offers, hard bottoms, gravel or rock assists with the incubation of eggs and is highly desirable. Tiny top water lures to massive monstrous baits are all possibilities. The most important aspect of top water fishing is retrieve speed. The lure should look like it’s trying to escape OR it’s injured. Either of these scenarios brings out the predatory instinct of the bass.

top view


All of the wild creatures use edges to travel, feed and feel safer when they can retreat into deep woods or in the case of the bass, water. Fishing edges include the shoreline, the bottom and the top. Deep ledges in the summertime can produce legendary catches. Bass relate to the cooler water, shade and the ability to corral bait. Presentations can vary from the slow fall of a finesse worm, a lazy crankbait or a spinner with a stop and go look. Add the rock that breaks of and fall or the tree that slides and you have the cover that can hold a fish or two. Bass will often suspend on ledge walls, or mid lake channels. Be patient and vary your presentation until you find what the fish wants the angler will to put in the time can “fire up” a school of fish in this situation.



Almost every living creature has a favorite food. What it will eat and what it prefers can be radically different things. Studies of stomach contents of bass show they’ll eat anything that they can catch and fits in their mouth. Most often found in the bass belly are shad, threadfin and gizzard shad. Their the most frequent mela for two reasons, they’re the most available food source and they’re available year-round. Bass will regularly feed on shad, bluegill, bugs, minnows and more but when given the chance and the choice crawfish are at the top of the menu. High energy fish food for every five pounds of crawfish a bass eats it gain a pound. In California following the same theory they gave stocked their best bass lakes with rainbow trout, another highly nutritious forage food for bass. Giant bass have been the reward for the “left” coast bass anglers. Match the movement of the bass’ favorite food and you’ll seldom go fishless. Jigs and soft plastics offer the best imitation of a craw. Lifelike pain jobs on todays cranking baits mimic the shad, bluegill and others. Lure choice is left up to individual preference.

pics of lures

That’s a wrap for part two of WHERE TO GO and WHAT TO THROW.