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Fun4Me

How do you fish shade?

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I'm always looking to learn new stuff. I've never spent much time studying how to properly fish shade areas in sunny conditions. How do you guys/gals fish the shade? Do you fish the actual shade lines, run baits in the sun just outside of the shade, go right thru the middle, fan cast it, etc? Is there a starting point for every patch of shade (always work the shade line first then work your way in)?

 

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I always try to fish shade if possible. If you think about it, a bass's eyes are on top of their head and they can't wear sunglasses, so a bright sun will be blinding to them if they don't have some kind of shade over them. Whether it's under overhanging tree's/bushes, underwater vegetation/wood/rocks, or just going to deeper water. So I always take that into consideration when fishing on bright, sunny days in the summer.

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In ponds I always fish shady banks, generally in the summer shade is the coolest place and where the fish generally congregate. Again this is for pond fishing where fish generally don't have very deep, cool water. I always have a topwater tied on, works really well under overhanging trees.(Been using a teeny Pop-R recently. Lots of fun!) I also generally have a weightless trick worm or wacky worm to work over the area. Spinning gear is helpful for both because there's less fear of backlash from overhanging branches.

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On shore, I first fish locations where the sun is in my face.  Same goes from boat.  I don't my shadow to get there before my bait, if I can help it.  So, from shore, I'm fishing the sunny side, from boat, the shady side.  I hope that makes sense, and this is by no means a hard coded rule at all.  Just a starting point.

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1 hour ago, Fun4Me said:

I'm always looking to learn new stuff. I've never spent much time studying how to properly fish shade areas in sunny conditions. How do you guys/gals fish the shade? Do you fish the actual shade lines, run baits in the sun just outside of the shade, go right thru the middle, fan cast it, etc?  

 

 

Yes .

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If its a stump or something I  usually cast to the shady side first . On a  lake sometimes the sunny banks are easier to fish than the shady side . I   experienced that two days ago . The bass were easier to pinpoint in the shade of overhanging trees ,laydowns and  grass.

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I generally try to fish the edge of shade, and to do so, locate the wind or current that will best carry the lure in.

 

Lots of places I fish are extremely high pressure and I therefore try to be as subtle as possible unless circumstances are such that noise is preferable, and then the noise is controlled and deliberate.

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A lik tip I learned about shade....sometimes the shady side isnt always good fishing.

 

Fishing the sunny side in the rare places that have shade concentrates fish more.

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If all things  are equal, I prefer the shade, but I think there are far my  important things to consider.

Time of year.....water temp...thermocline....wind...drop-off...structure...location, ect

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Don't make it complicated.  Fish different types of shade until you find the ingredients necessary for fish to hold there and you can start to find a pattern.  Work the outside edges first and work your way in.  Try to stay stealthy as best you can.  Usually, I'll start with some type of jig (I always have one tied on and I'm fishing some type of jig more often then almost anything else) pitched or skipped into the shade.  If I'm not getting a reaction with a jig, a wacky Senko or weightless worm can make for a great follow up bait.  Jigs in shade won me a tournament back in June.  

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The structure that's in the shade is more important than the shade itself.  Dictate the fishing technique based on the structure, just know that shady areas can help concentrate fish on blue bird days if most of the lake is sunny and hot.

 

If the water is cold, a lot of the time the reverse happens.

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2 hours ago, Looking for the big one said:

In ponds I always fish shady banks, generally in the summer shade is the coolest place and where the fish generally congregate. Again this is for pond fishing where fish generally don't have very deep, cool water. I always have a topwater tied on, works really well under overhanging trees.(Been using a teeny Pop-R recently. Lots of fun!) I also generally have a weightless trick worm or wacky worm to work over the area. Spinning gear is helpful for both because there's less fear of backlash from overhanging branches.

Second this! In ponds whenever I can, I'll throw a topwater at the shade. Coming from a big lake to pond fishing, this is one of the biggest adjustments. Now I'll even throw a topwater when a cloud passes over.

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2 hours ago, scaleface said:

 

Yes .

 

^^ THIS ^^

 

Way too many variables to give specifics. Just remember that shade is just another form of break/breakline, so treat it (fish it) accordingly.

 

-T9

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Another myth about bass in bright sun can't see.

The 1st Lake Mead Bassmaster Classic was a blind event, know one knew where they were going to fish and had limited amount of tackle to take with them. John Murry known as a skinny water spinnerbait angler didn't know bass couldn't see in bright sun in shallow clear water so he did what he always does...fished backs of coves and won the event to everyone's surprise. He said the water was so clear he could everything but the bass that seemed to come out of no where. Did you fish shade pockets?, John said what shade pockets? If he found a shade line he would fish it but the bass he was catching most of been hiding next to rocks because there wasn't any shade in these coves.

A shade line is a break line, bass use it to take advantage over the prey, they can see very well in bright sunlight.

Tom

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I learned something this week while vacationing on a small lake in the California desert.  There were no bluegill or crayfish in this lake, the only forage that lived in the water were shore minnows (looked to be mostly fatheads).  The lake had bass & catfish, none of which looked like they missed a meal.  The water had 3 feet visibility, which was a lot considering the maximum depth was 6 feet.  All of the docks were in water less than 3 feet deep.

 

Although docks & weedlines 10 feet past the docks were the only cover, I had very little luck skipping docks or punching the weedlines.  A majority of my fish came from casts in front of the docks, with TRD's, wacky senkos and a small spinnerbait.  It produced multiple bass up to 4 lbs and aggressive catfish up to 5 lbs.

 

While watching the shore minnows getting chased by fingerlings one afternoon, I noticed that when they came to a dock, they would not swim into the shade or under the dock.  In fact, they would swim out & around the dock, into deeper water, rather than venture into the darkness under the dock.  Exactly why, I don't know, but it quickly explained why my small lures were hit where they were.  That ambush zone, in the light instead of the shade, is where the predators were used to finding their prey in this lake.  The prey was never in the shade, so if a predator was there, he was typically inactive, not feeding.

 

I also found out that midday, the catfish were under docks, but apparently resting, not eating.  If you drove past the front of the dock, they would stream out like salmon migrating, sometimes in groups of 30 or more.  If you skipped a lure under the dock, it would panic them.  However, I learned to toss a hand full of dog kibble to the front of the dock.  After 30 seconds, if anyone was home, they would wander out to investigate and could be caught with a well placed cast.

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I try to fish shade all the time especially in the summer.  When the sun is out and the water is warm bass will seek shade much as we do during summer.  No one is sitting at the park in a cleared sunny area, but most are under a big shade tree or under a picnic pavilion.  In early morning and late afternoon while the sun is low in the sky, I will seek shade at drop-offs and structure points.  As the sun gets higher in the sky I will go to thick vegetation that provides shade, ambush points, and most important Oxygen from the thick green stuff.  Bass are very sensitive to O2 levels in the water.  All of these variable are extremely important especially in the heat of summer. :think:

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I've had excellent luck fishing jerkbaits on shade lines formed by high bluff walls. They don't relate to anything else, just hold right on the shade line. I'm sure they're ambushing schools of baitfishing cruising the same edges. 

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