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Targeting Laydown Bass

Of all the sportfishes of America, the freshwater largemouth bass is the most famous. Many millions of dollars are spent each year in pursuit of this fish, from boats to sinkers, lines to lures, motors to magazines and hundreds of hours of television time. Products are being continually invented every year just to cater to this gargantuan demand of this piscatorial pursuit, and still the bassfishermen become more addicted to their sport with the passing of time.

And they better be, as the largemouth fights ferociously, and is a delight to catch particularly on light tackle. But of course you have to find them first before you can fight them. Below are some reminders on how to catch bass around laydowns: fallen trees with trunks and branches in the water.

While no reason has been proven as to why bass locate near laydowns (you don’t converse with bass), the best possible one is that like other predator fishes they use the structure to hide behind or blend with to more easily ambush prey. Or maybe they hide there to avoid even larger fish that is dangerous to themselves. At any rate, bass usually hang around laydowns, particularly those with branches that are near deeper water.

Tactic: Most people will cast a lure several times near the laydown, and if no takes occur, they leave. This is incorrect according to some experts. One says he casts his lure progressively going in, then all around the tree. This is so as not to spook any fish hanging in the deeper water before enticing those nearer the bank. If you cast right into the tree or bank, you may scare away the nearer fish, whether you caught the ones you targeted or not. Also, if you happen to snag your lure, you must go in to retrieve it and thus spook all the fish around the laydown.

Once the tree is thoroughly explored, you can then bump the tree with the lure to tempt doubting bass to an easy meal. If you have an extra rod, try casting a follow up worm or spinner just to present something new. Some fish have been pressured much by lures to be so wary they will accept a different presentation.

Tackle: Lures are often deeper-running crankbaits, square-lipped or round, but jigs and critters may work just as well. Use a heavier fluorocarbon line –into the 12-lb. range—to quickly pull that bass away from snags once hooked. You will of course prefer a rod you are comfortable with that can handle your lure easily, so it is matter of personal choice. In autumn when the shad is running shallow to spawn, you can use shad-imitating lures. When the bass is about to move into the shallows to spawn, you may try worms and soft plastics. Bass will be too voracious to be choosy.

Fishing times: While no specific times are recommended for bassfishing the laydowns, be sure to tailor the tactic to the season and consult fishingreminders best fishing times forecast. Solunar tables are reliable consultants when it comes to bass fishing. Besides that it is always a good idea to ask the locals or veterans about which lures work best during what fishing times.

There are many ways to catch the largemouth bass, from flyfishing delicate streamers to dunking a gob of worms. But the real challenge is finding them then enticing them to strike, even if against their will, so to speak. And to this end, otherwise normal people get crazy. The sport is really how to catch them, and catching them is just the trophy, the proof of success.


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