Fish framework properly. Joe Thomas, as told to Don Wirth

Joe Thomas, as told to Don Wirth

Many bass anglers find “structure fishing” a confusing concept. Most likely, it is the one thing to learn about some pro winning a competition on an obscure ditch or overseas hump, nevertheless when it really is you on the market looking for some channel dropoff a half-mile from shore and achieving to count on your graph in the place of your eyes to understand the best place to cast — heck, it really is no surprise you will find a lot more weekend fishermen beating the banking institutions than probing water that is open. To greatly help clear up the secrets of framework fishing, we desired input from Cincinnati, Ohio, BASS pro Joe Thomas, a four time Timeless qualifier and veteran TV exterior show host. Whether you are a novice or veteran structure angler, we are particular Joe’s advice, presented right right right here in their words that are own will enhance your catch price. — Don Wirth


We usually hear fishermen talk of fishing “structure,” like weeds, stumps or rocks, whenever whatever they’re really referring to is “cover.” Therefore before we look into the secrets of structure fishing, let us make certain we are from the exact same web page by getting our definitions right: “construction” refers towards the topographical aspects of a pond, including creek and river stations, points, flats, humps and submerged roadbeds. “Cover” relates to objects related to these components, including submerged logs, standing timber, stumps, stones, weeds and motorboat docks. Framework usually has cover about it — point might have a rockpile regarding the end; the top a hump could be covered with weeds; a creek channel might be lined with stumps.

As you can’t see on to the water, and because numerous bass-holding structures come in open water where it is hard to ensure you get your bearings, you want many different tools that will help you visualize what a framework appears like before you decide to can figure out where bass are going to be securing it, together with simplest way to fish it.

I take advantage of a mix of bass ship electronic devices, topographic maps, marker buoys and artistic input whenever assessing framework. Before we ever reach the pond, we’ll learn a topo map to find out bass-holding that is potential, in line with the period I’m fishing. For instance, in springtime, I’ll note structures such as for example big flats and high shorelines where bass are going to spawn; during the summer, deep networks, overseas humps, etc. Marking these possible hot spots from the map provides me personally one thing particular to search for while in the water.

When i am in the pond, we’ll idle throughout the framework and make use of my Bottom Line graph to greatly help me personally respond to such concerns as: how can the dwelling “lay” when compared with water surrounding it? Are there a quick or sluggish taper into deep water? What type of address is in the framework, and where could it be found? May be the address dense or sparse? Are there baitfish from the framework? And, what are the bass about it?


Below are a few structures common to most reservoirs, and my recommendations for fishing them:

CHANNEL DROPOFF — The old creek or riverbed that flowed through the landscape ahead of the reservoir was created. Bass and baitfish usage channels as migration roads. They are often best in summer time, particularly when there is some present present.

Method: Position your motorboat in deep water, in regards to a half-cast out of the channel lip, cast a crankbait or Carolina rigged lizard onto the shallower ledge, and work it out then within the dropoff. Or, cast the appeal at a 45 degree angle so it “slices” down the ledge and into deep water. Either of these is an even more presentation that is natural-looking sitting in superficial water and casting into deep water, and you will hang up less.

AIM — These are multiseasonal structures, given that they differ as to level and trajectory. They act as a bridge linking deep, available water to your shoreline. Bass usage points to go superficial in springtime, then to right straight back out deeper after spawning. In summer time and autumn, bass loaf around points to prey on baitfish schools that gravitate to those structures.

Method: Most bassers target the end associated with the point solely; rather, work all over the framework, fan casting a crankbait or spinnerbait that is heavy various perspectives. You are going to frequently get more bass through the sides compared to the end — they’re usually steeper and possess better cover in it. One part is frequently much better than one other due to its proximity up to a channel or present. Mudlines often develop on points on windy times, providing concealment that is shallow bass.

ROADBED — A man-made framework, ranging all of the way from a superficial rut into the base marking a classic logging road, or even the keeps of a highway that is paved. Frequently lined with stumps, stones or big chunks of broken-up asphalt. It would likely have ditch on either relative part, that has been as soon as used to divert rainwater from the road. Bass will spawn on submerged roadbeds in springtime, and certainly will hang on them in wintertime also.

Method: If the roadbed is slim, slice-cast it by having a crankbait at a 45 degree angle. Whether or not it’s wide, address it just like a channel dropoff, positioning your watercraft deep and shallow that is casting. Spend special awareness of ditches next to the roadbed; bass frequently gang up in little depressions or bends during these “substructures.”

FLAT — These “non-structures” never look really fishy, but can hold more and more bass from prespawn through autumn. They may be usually peppered with stumps, laydown logs, brush and weed spots.

Method: i love to wander across a large flat such as a spider, casting a spinnerbait, medium crankbait that is running lipless crankbait to remote cover in every guidelines. Bass tend to be focused in one single area that is specific of structure; search for something that can concentrate baitfish, such as a shallow ditch draining the flat.

BLUFF BANK — Vertical framework present in rocky reservoirs, frequently right beside a channel that is deep. Most useful in autumn and wintertime.

Method: Bass usually suspend around rock bluffs; these seafood are easiest to catch whenever there is a breeze that is stiff on the framework. Recover a suspending jerkbait, crankbait, hefty spinnerbait or steel blade bait parallel towards the face associated with bluff, beginning near and moving progressively further out from the dwelling unless you contact seafood. Bass might also hold off stone rubble during the foot of the bluff; decide to try a fall shot worm rig or even a jigging spoon of these much much deeper seafood.

SLOPING BANK — My springtime that is favorite bass in reservoirs. They hold a huge amount of crawfish, and bass shall spawn in small pouches and on ledges along them.

Method: Position the watercraft in much deeper water and cast near the bank having a jig-and-pig, medium operating crankbait or suspending jerkbait, working the appeal out into deeper water. Try to find discreet alterations in bank/bottom composition, such as for example where amount stone modifications to gravel bass that is focus on these transitions.


In framework fishing, timing is every thing. Bass frequently move on / off particular structures throughout the length of your day, specially structures situated overseas or right beside deep water. Then return later to fish it again if the fish aren’t there, don’t waste time parking on the spot and waiting for them to reappear – leave it alone. Here is the strategy pro anglers use whenever making a “milk run” of comparable bits of framework spread through the entire pond.

The obvious function of the framework, including the top of a hump or perhaps the end of a spot, may well not hold almost as much bass as a far more feature that is subtle such as for example a small increase or despair into the bottom. Read your graph very carefully to identify these subtleties.

Places where two or maybe more structures intersect or occur in close proximity frequently hold big levels of bass. Test thoroughly your topo map for places where a channel intersects a place or operates along a ditch snakes across a superficial flat, etc.

Your graph is very important, but do not bury your mind inside it – shop around you for bass-holding structures, such as for example roadbeds going into the pond, a dark spot overseas showing a shallow hump, etc. Cruising the pond during wintertime drawdown will usually expose lots of offshore structures that one may fish next period.

Make use of your familiarity with the regular motions of bass to influence which structures you fish throughout every season. In you’ll probably catch a lot more bass on a stump flat than a rock bluff april. — Joe Thomas