There is something about bass fishermen and the allure of a fallen tree in the water! We know that they hold bass, bait, as well as provide cover and shade. But not all laydowns are created equal. Even if they were, many anglers grow frustrated with the number of lures lost while trying to probe these hot targets. Here are a few things I have learned that have helped me catch more fish from laydowns and brush.
Identify Productive Laydowns
Not all laydowns are created equal. In some bodies of water, there are countless laydowns to target in, usually, a small amount of time. Identifying productive laydowns can help cut the amount of water you need to cover and make you a more efficient angler.
My favorite laydowns have some type of depth change underneath. Ideally, I would like to see the trunk in a couple feet of water and the canopy laying over 12-15 feet of water. Depending on where you are, this depth change may be more or less, but in either case, this allows bass to follow the bait no matter the conditions while never leaving the comfort of their home.
Approach with a Plan
Have a game plan, or a system, in place so that you can identify how the fish are positioned within a laydown. I typically start with the trunk as this seems to be where the more active fish are the majority of the time. I will then work my way out, around, and through, fishing as thoroughly as possible.
In many cases, you can pattern the fish this way and what works on one laydown will apply across the body of water. But there are also times where this isn’t the case, so it is always best to have a system in place where you can figure the fish out as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Even with a system in place, if you’re not getting bit, do not hesitate to change angles and go against the grain. There are times when you will burn your lure past a fish 100 times just to be ignored, but the instant that you change your angle you can ignite every fish on that piece of cover.
You Will Get Snagged
This is likely the number one reason many anglers do not catch fish in laydowns or any brush. We all have a fear of getting snagged. We think this can ruin the piece of cover, spook the fish, and most of all lose us our favorite lure. The bottom line is, in order to catch fish in brush, you must be willing to put your bait in places where it is going to get snagged.
The key to triggering many bites is playing a game of pinball in the cover, banging a spinnerbait or crankbait off of every limb you can find. Again, come to terms with the fact you will lose lures, but I can promise that the risk is worth the reward!
There Are More Fish in There Than You Think
I have been shocked at the amount of fish that can be caught off of one tree. Especially in lakes or rivers where there aren’t as many to choose from. Even then, if there is a laydown that meets all the criteria—it holds bait, provides a lot of cover, sits over a depth change, as well as many other factors—the bass will congregate to it.
This means, give it some time before you leave it alone. It may take a minute to figure out how the fish want your presentation, but once you figure it out you can load the boat in a hurry! And even when the bite slows down; you slow down with it. I love to clean up the remnants with a big worm or a jig, slowly brought back through the thick stuff!
I hope these tips help you the next time you’re on the water! Until then, be sure to find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for more content. Don’t forget, we also have an online bass tournament going on this week! You can still sign up and get your fish submitted until midnight on September 12th!
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