Different Types of Structure
Knowing the difference between the different kinds of structure in your lake can help you become a better angler in a hurry. If you fish a patch of grass the same way you would fish a rip-rap bank, you are more than likely going to have some disappointing days on the water.
In this article, I’m going to break down different types of structures and the ways that I like to fish them.
- Wood: Fishing laydowns and fallen trees is probably my favorite way to fish. There’s nothing quite like flipping a jig up into the nastiest part of a laydown and getting to power-drive a hook-set into a fish and winching out a toad. It’s an awesome way to catch fish, especially in the spring! When I’m fishing wood, I like to throw just a few different presentations, but it also depends on how deep the wood is. If the laydown or tree is shallow, my favorite, I like to throw a jig, Texas-rig, or a squarebill crankbait. Spring is the best time to flip shallow cover because the fish are moving up towards the bank to spawn. Once you get into the summer, fishing wood becomes big long trees laying down into deep water. For these situations, I love to throw a Texas-rigged ten inch worm because it gives those bigger fish a big meal. If they see a big meal, it’s worth it to them to use using their energy going after a big meal so they don’t have to eat again for awhile. I will also throw jigs and deep-diving crankbaits down these trees, but you have to be extra careful with a crankbait!
- Rocks: My favorite time to fish rocks (and rip-rap) is the spring. In the spring, the weather is just starting to warm up a bit, and the fish are looking for warmer to go (like retired people moving to Florida during the cold months). Bass will often hang around the rocks and rip-rap because rocks hold a lot of heat from the sun, so around rocks is where you’ll usually find your warmest water, leading you to more fish. I’ve got a few favorite lures throw around rocks, but my favorite is a jerkbait in the spring. Like I said earlier, fish like to hang around rocks in the spring because they’re warmer, so throwing a jerkbait can fire up the fish in a hurry! Another favorite of mine to throw around rocks, especially in the spring, is a shallow diving crankbait (or a squarebill if the rocks are very shallow). It depends on how far they’ve come up getting ready to spawn, but I like to throw up to 10-12 ft. divers in these rocks. The depth doesn’t quite matter as much to me as hitting the rocks do and making some racket, causing reaction strikes. And last, but not least, I also like to throw a jig around rocks. Crawdads love to hang around rocks, so a jig with a craw trailer can be a deadly combo anytime you’re around rocks!
- Grass: I’m not sure why, but for awhile right after the grass starts to grow up in the spring, I seem to avoid it like plague. But, when I do fish near it, here’s what I do. One thing I like to do is ripping a bait out of the edge of a grass line, usually either a chatterbait or a lipless crankbait. Ripping a bait out of any cover can be effective in causing a reaction strike, but, around grass, it can be extra deadly. A jerkbait can also be effectively fished this way. And my second favorite thing to do is drag a jig or Texas-rig around it, provided that it’s not too thick. In the spring, I like to fish the outsides of grass lines and mats, but in the summer, I like to fish in the mats themselves. My favorite thing to throw in the grass in summer, by far, is a topwater frog. These frogs can draw heart-stopping explosions, especially in the early morning and later evening (low-light conditions). I also find it can be a very effective technique in the summer to pitch and flip to holes in the mats. A lot of people also love to punch through mats (called “punching”), but where I live (Illinois), we don’t really have the right types of grass and/or moss to punch through.
- Brush Piles: Brush, like wood, can be fished differently depending on the time of year and depth of the water it’s in. If it’s in shallow water, I like to flip jigs and Texas-rigs into the nastiest of it. However, if it’s summer and you find a deep brush pile, I like to have a few things tied on. The first lure I want ties on is a big ten-inch worm to drag in and around the pile. My close-second pick for a deep brush pile in the summer is a deep-diving crankbait (however deep the pile is) to fish around the pile, and even in it if you can get through it without losing your crankbait. Big jigs could also be a good choice when fishing deep brush piles in the summer months.
- Docks: And finally, we have docks. Docks are an interesting piece of structure that a lot of people can have trouble with at times. here’s how I like to fish a dock. first, I always want something to be different about this dock, like a post sticking out farther than other docks or something like that. Bass prefer to be around a piece of cover that is just a bit different than the others. In the spring, I like to fish old wooden docks, or old metal docks, because, like rocks, they hold some heat during the spring, which attracts the fish, and the reason I like to fish the older ones is because they have been there for while so the fish are used to them and know where they are. I love to throw a jig mostly around these kinds of docks, but I also like a squarebill crankbait. Floating docks are an interesting subject, but, in my experience, I’ve found that I really only like floating docks during the shad spawn because the shad will hang around these docks and bass will gobble them up like pieces of popcorn. So, in this situation, I like a fluke, shallow diving crankbait (because the shad stay pretty high in the water column while spawning), or really any shad imitation you can think of. In the summer, however, I really fish docks because of one reason; they provide shade. I still prefer the dock to have wooden or metal posts that go to the bottom of the lake because it still gives the fish some ambush points, but I really like docks for their shade coverage in the dog-days of summer. Skipping a bait into the shadiest part of the dock is your best shot at pulling out a fish, so I like pretty much anything I can skip under the dock like a jig with a flat-bottom head, a fluke, a topwater frog, or anything like that really! In the fall, you’ll really just have to experiment because they can be on something one day and not touch it the next day for me.
I hope you have learned the difference between certain types of structure and ways to fish them today! As always, feel free to leave us a comment or question and tell us what you think, or you can also e-mail me with other inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please subscribe and share with your friends if you like our stuff and check out our other articles! Thanks and have a great day!