How to catch deep water bass

Another key to successful deep-water bass fishing is to use structure. This is a very misunderstood term. There is a big difference between ‘structure’ and ‘cover’. ‘Cover’ is a distinct physical object that is not part of the bottom contour. Bass use them, but only temporarily. ‘Structure’ is the actual features that make up the bottom contour, such as ledges, holes, channels, old river-beds, shoals, etc… All fish use these as highways, or trails in their travels. They will use the same ‘trails’ all the time, unless something happens to change them. It’s a lot like hunting, where you need to learn where the regularly traveled trails are. Once you learn these, you can catch just about any kind of fish, all-year long.

To be successful, your preparations begin long before you ever hit the water. You need to do some homework. Get a contour map of your lake, and study it intensely. You can mark likely areas with color-coded highlighters. Here is what you should look for.

In a perfect world, we can base the entire life cycle of a bass on knowing two things: Their spawning areas (flats) and their wintering areas (deep-water vertical-break areas). The structure breaks that connect these two areas are their migration trails. All you need to do is figure out where along the trail they are at the time you are fishing.

Here is a general seasonal outline: Bass winter in the deepest water/vertical break areas available. In the early spring (pre-spawn), bass begin their movements up toward spawning flats, and creeks. They use main creek channels, or the main lake drop as their route. They stop off at points and humps first, then secondary points, on their way to the spawning grounds. When spawning is complete, they head back out the same way, stopping at secondary points, then main points and humps.

Summer bass tend to scatter throughout the system, but most will be along the main deep-water channel areas. In the fall they will again move shallow, using the same points and humps they did before, to gorge-up for winter. Where you find large schools of baitfish along these routes, you will find bass. The rest is just trial-and-error, checking each likely place out. When you find bass, mark it on the chart. They will be there at this time next year.

To get the full “How to catch deep water bass” article you’ll need to download it here.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow bass fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on bass fishing since 2004.

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