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I need some help locating ledges in lakes when you don't have a depth finder. I fish out of a jon boat and do not have the money for a depth finder at the moment. Any tips on finding them to catch deep summer bass?

 

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only thing I can think of is the navionics app for smartphones. it will show the ledge but you still need to know your lat/lon to know your in the right spot. even the cheapest depthfinder would help you find the drop off. shoot ive got one id sell you for pretty cheap.

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Well, unless you are Rick Clunn, fishing ledges without electronics is VERY challenging. One ledge may or may not hold fish at any particular time, but often do. So, we have a number of way-points to try. I spend no more than 10 minutes at each one, but may come back later. The fish are either there or they are not.

 

:fishing-026: 

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I fish ledges and drop-off all the time in south Florida while bank fishing.  In our man made lakes, which there are thousands, there  is a shallow flat and then a straight drop-off as much as 5 to 25 feet deep.  Fish will hang at these spots either moving up on the flat or dropping off in cooler water.  The flats are full of pads and other vegetation, and the drops-off is void of any growth.  Bass  will often hug the ledge wall for shade and use it as an ambush point.  I catch loads of fish from this type of structure.    Several ways to find the drop off.  1). study the vegetation and where it stops growing.  There is usually a drop off, and significant depth change there.  2). Be a line watcher and watch for a change in the line as it reaches the bottom.  As you slowly pull in your line, you can often feel the ledge and when your up on the flat and in shallow water.  You can usually figure out how deep the ledge is by feeling the line as it climbs the wall.  Good luck, these are great places to fish in our Community lakes and ponds.:idea2:

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Just fish shallow, you can find them somewhere for sure. I did it on the ledge fishing capitol of the world and it definitely worked! 

My next suggestion would be to troll a deep diving crankbait and watch for it to touch bottom/not touch bottom.

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I often use a Texas Rigged 4" Senko or a worm with a 1/32 bullet weight for a slow fall through the water column.  Let it work up the drop-off from the bank.  Treble hooks will get hung up every time on the ledge, from the bank.   In the summer work it slow, many bite will occur at the base of the ledge or at mid level.  They are not chasing baits down here in 90+ water temps.  Bites often come while sitting still.  Use 15 pound test or better so you can get them up and through any pads or weeds along the bank.  

From the boat I will throw the bait in the pads and weeds and then slowly let it drop off the ledge all the way to the bottom.  Then snap it off the bottom and let it sit for 15 seconds or more.  From the boat most bites will come on the initial drop off the ledge.. Good luck.

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1. Topo map of your lake or pond.

2. When the lake drops in water level, go out and take pictures of spots. 

3. I used my anchor rope to measure depth before I bought my finder. With a sharpie, 5 feet markings. 

4. Ask a friend, local tackle shop, store guy or co angler 

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Have you checked out Deeper?  Its a castable depthfinder that links by bluetooth to your smart phone.  They make attachments for attaching it to your boat/canoe/kayak.  I use it pretty regularly given that I mostly bank fish and I really like it.  I was able to snag it for like $200 on Amazon.  I dont know your budget, but I think that is pretty reasonable given that a middle-of-the-road rod/reel combo can cost $200.

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Do it old school and get a buddy and a sounding line. Mark One, Quarter One, Half One, Quarter Twain, Mark Twain!

http://boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/marktwain.htm

Seriously though, you can find cheap portable or used depth finders on ebay or at yard sales that ought to serve you well.

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Your best option is to get a cheap depth finder and use the navionics app for your phone. Use the combination of the 2 and you will be just fine. 

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Carolina Rigs on the ledges...........  Also check out Bulldog Outdoors on YouTube.  He's got a tutorial on how to use the Navionics WebApp to target the ledges and depths you want to fish.

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8 minutes ago, thirtysixit said:

Carolina Rigs on the ledges...........  Also check out Bulldog Outdoors on YouTube.  He's got a tutorial on how to use the Navionics WebApp to target the ledges and depths you want to fish.

Yep , Carolina rig with a  3/4 or 1 ounce weight .

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Navionics app for your phone and reading the contour/topo maps are a good place to start. Learn how to identify flats, points, humps, ledges and drop offs, etc.

 

Actually, if you don't have electronics, I highly recommend the navionics smartphone app. It has helped me tremendously while fishing out of my small jon boat at smaller (non power) reservoirs. 

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Not every lake type has ledges. You are from Kentucky where the pioneer of structure fishing developed his skills, Buck Perry's book Spoon Plugging isn't expensive and this is where you should start.

Understanding what you are looking for will save you years of fishing time. Look around at the terrain where you fish and visualize what it looks if it is was underwater because it doesn't change when covered by water.

Ledges are usually river channel walls where the river carved away soil leaving rock cliffs located along the river channel. You can see steep drop offs looking at a good topographic map where the lines that indicate evelation come together, the closer together the steeper the drop off "ledge" is.

Tom

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Before I go fishing at a new lake I like to zoom in on it on google earth. I have a couple depth/fish finders but you would be surprised at things you can find looking at it like that. If you get lucky, the google earth image will be from when the water is low. 

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