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Isolated cover vs structure

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Since I am grounded by injuring my back again and should be fishing today with a low pressure front approaching I will start a thread on isolated cover vs structure.

So what isolated cover or structure? Isolated to me means away from other cover or structure and they can be isolated together. For example a boulder or rock pile on a otherwise featureless flat away any other boulders or rock piles is isolated.

Same for cover  bush, stump or grass bed or mat away from other similar cover is isolated. A single underwater hump surround by deeper water is isolated. A boulder or rock pile on the hump with a bush, stump or grass bed or mat are all isolated, together they form the ideal spot for bass to locate. Seperately the isolated cover or structure may hold bass, which would you fish, the cover or the structure?

Tom

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I'm not 100% quite sure of the question being asked, but in short, structure is my guide. That's what I look for/fish first. The breaks and breaklines on that structure, often the result of what you term "cover", will help me pinpoint exactly where on that structure I would expect to catch fish. I still have to 'check it out' though and fish the structure thoroughly (shallow, deep and in-between). It's possible there may not be any 'cover'/breaks on a piece of structure though, and that's fine, too. I'd rather fish a piece of structure without cover, than a piece of cover without structure (out in the middle of 'nowhere'). YMMV

 

Hope the back gets to feeling better quick!

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Chewing vikes for that back pain, are we?

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We had to get ready to evacuate from a fire last week and manage to twist my back, hope it settles down enough to be active again.

I rather fish structure then cover in general, prefer isolated structure elements over isolated cover, both together is a preference. Some anglers are always looking for cover along the bank, laydowns or weed beds and pass by some excellent structure elements on the outside of the boat, out if sight out of mind. Sometimes the isolated structure or cover may only be the size of a table top that holds a big bass. Many times boats are fishing over the top of isolated structure casting towards the bank at nothing just pounding the shoreline. I know if they are watching the sonar unit it's being displayed while the anglers casting not looking at the screen or think it's too small to waste time on. Wait a few minutes and catch a good bass behind those anglers. 

Tom

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6 minutes ago, WRB said:

Some anglers are always looking for cover along the bank, laydowns or weed beds and pass by some excellent structure elements on the outside of the boat, out if sight out of mind. Sometimes the isolated structure or cover may only be the size of a table top that holds a big bass. Many times boats are fishing over the top of isolated structure casting towards the bank at nothing just pounding the shoreline. I know if they are watching the sonar unit it's being displayed while the anglers casting not looking at the screen or think it's too small to waste time on. Wait a few minutes and catch a good bass behind those anglers. 

Tom

THIS IS WHY I NEED A d**n BOAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a kayak and no fish finder! I do have 2 kickass finders! Down scan , and side scan/GPS/ finder unit! BUT NO BOAT!!!!!! It killing me! But I need to get a trailer hitch installed on my car, then a trailer , then a boat

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My  home lake Mark Twain   is a flood control reservoir . The water fluctuates often and drastically. When it goes high it is also  muddy . Isolated structure such as humps in the middle with deep water all around do not hold bass at all . If there is a saddle or point leading to it then it will be productive at times . 

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I love these conversations between you guys. I'm hoping there's a couple more who join. Ding the popcorn is done, you may continue. 

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From my own experience Larger Bass can survive just fine without much cover. I always look for structure first. If there is cover on the structure that is just a bonus.

One of my favorite lakes has large expanses of  featureless rip rap. it holds large bass, but  usually only in certain isolated areas.

thanks to GPS and side imaging, i have found subtle contour differences along the rip rap.  Nearly every large Bass I have caught in this lake, came from these areas.

 

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We found a spot on a 7acre quarry lake by luck years ago before we had any electronics. Trolling slowly, a friend caught 3 bass on 3 consecutive passes, out away from the shoreline pretty far.A hump in the center of the lake, created when they dug the old qaurrey. 31ft deep, hump rises to 16ft. Sunlight causes vegetation to grow on this spot.Structure and cover. We found this place by triangulating with points on the shoreline for a while, but now have a portable depthfinder in our wide body canoe. Next season I plan to explore this spot more. What I'll be looking for is something "different" than the weeds for cover. A rock pile, slight depth change, even a patch of different weed growth, which might have a chance at holding larger fish. 

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"Isolated" is a key word here.  In a lake filled with stumps, laydowns, rockpiles, grass, weeds, etc., you have to find out why some are productive and some are not.  There are a lot of other considerations that then come into play, time of year, water conditions (clarity, temp, etc) and the rest of the fishing puzzle.  BUT.....all things being considered, you can drill down beyond cover to structure to help identify why they are where they are.  That's what separates the bank beaters from the fishermen many times.  But if either cover or structure is isolated it has a better chance of holding fish as a general rule.   

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I spend a lot of time fishing one particular quarry.......there is a fair amount of cover as far as tree trunks, brush, weeds, overhangs in certain areas.  But the bigger fish in there relate  mainly to structure such as steep drop offs, submerged islands etc   There is a submerged rock point that juts out from one side of a above water island that extends out about 100 yards.  It's about 8-10 feet deep and in the summer months is covered in vegetation that comes to within about a foot of the surface.  I catch nothing but dinks there.  In the fall after the vegetation dies off and is now only about a foot tall, I catch the big ones.  

 

Even in summer the bigger bass relate to the structure and for the life of me they ignore the cover.  I hit areas that look like they should be holding big bass but seldom do.  

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Irregularities

 

Is what I look for in either structure or cover.

 

Isolated would fall under irregularities.

 

Isolated doesn't necessarily have to be yards away from everything else.

 

A Cypress tree surrounded by hardwoods, a little patch of lilies in hay grass.

 

A river/creek swing near a bank or underwater flat. A hard bottom surrounded by firm or soft bottoms. 

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16 hours ago, WRB said:

Since I am grounded by injuring my back again and should be fishing today with a low pressure front approaching I will start a thread on isolated cover vs structure.

So what isolated cover or structure? Isolated to me means away from other cover or structure and they can be isolated together. For example a boulder or rock pile on a otherwise featureless flat away any other boulders or rock piles is isolated.

Same for cover  bush, stump or grass bed or mat away from other similar cover is isolated. A single underwater hump surround by deeper water is isolated. A boulder or rock pile on the hump with a bush, stump or grass bed or mat are all isolated, together they form the ideal spot for bass to locate. Seperately the isolated cover or structure may hold bass, which would fish, the cover or the structure?

Tom

I fish a small lake consisting of one half all standing trees in 15 feet of water and the other half a flat, nearly featureless expanse of gently sloping flatland toward the dam.  In that large flat are there are just a few very lonely "humps" that stand anywhere from 5ft to 15ft off the bottom.  These spots generally have at least one or two crappie fisherman stuck to them all day.  My question for you; is there a "prime condition" and not-so-prime for bass to be holding in an area like this?  Season? Weather?    

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I have never really been an offshore fisherman and finding isolated cover or structure in deep water usually happens by chance when i'm deep cranking or dragging a football jig. How ever I do know several spots on my home lake where there are lay-downs that are not visible unless the water is down or where there are brush piles that are just deep enough you cant see them in the water. These have proved as honey holes for my partner and I as we won a high school tournament just finding these tiny little *pockets* of cover and fishing them all day. I have noticed when we do find a spot like this our hookup and catch ratio is significantly better around 90 to 95%. I have no proof of this but i believe since we are fishing a spot that has way less pressure than the "community lay-downs" the fish are more likely to grab the jig or whatever we throw in there with less hesitation and maybe hold on longer than a fish that has had baits thrown at him all day. Just my opinion though.

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Structure vs cover; a Christmas tree weighted down with cement blocks would be isolated cover and structure, the blocks being structure and the tree being cover.

Featureless mud flats that someone sinks Christmas trees with cement blocks will attract baitfish and predators like bass. If those sunken trees are located on a hump or next to a ditch or creek channel the location enhances the isolated cover/structure.

Think in terms of smaller feature in lieu of house size or foot field size structure or cover elements. On those larger well defined structure or cover areas, the isolated elements at prime locations are what I am discussing and where you should concentrate your efforts, depending on depths he bass are active at.

Tom

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cover- trees, weeds, rocks, docks.  structure- humps, holes, flats, points. 

I always like isolated cover and structure, i think they are often over looked. 

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Guess we can all agree on the general theme of isolated cover and structure or irregularities being important areas or spots to focus your attention and efforts on, and just agree to disagree on the specific definitions of the terms in play 😉

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On Kentucky lake the crappie fishermen drop a lot of stuff on the flats in the backs of creeks.  During the post spawn I look for this isolated cover on the flats between the spawning areas and the main creek channel.  I can usually catch good numbers and a few quality fish just off the bed.  This is a great pattern for a few weeks in late spring.

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Per BassMaster:

 

If you read a lot of fishing magazines or watch a lot of fishing television shows, you've doubtlessly read or heard someone use the terms "structure" and "cover" interchangeably.

Well, structure and cover are not the same thing. They are very different, and using the terms correctly is important because it avoids unnecessary confusion and leads to a greater understanding of the sport and bass.

Let's start with some definitions.

"Structure" consists of contour changes on the lake or stream substrate. Examples of structure include channels, dropoffs, flats and points.

"Cover" is an object or objects like vegetation, a stump, rock, boat dock or bridge piling that creates an ambush point for a predator (in our case, the bass ... but it could just as easily be a pike, muskie or other ambush feeder).

Cover offers a hiding place from prey or predators. Structure is part of a bigger picture; it may offer access to deep water or serve as a bass' navigational reference point of some permanence. They are not the same thing and do not overlap.

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I try (and try is the key word) to fish cover (aka breaks, standing timber, lay downs, brush piles, etc.) that are close to structure  (aka cuts, ditches, channels, etc.). Here these run off the high ridges down to the water's edge where you lose sight of it and on out to a main river or creek channel. 

 

But depth of any this stuff is the most important piece and the one I struggle with especially after the Fall turnover. 

 

Good thread, hope you get healed up quick Tom.

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19 hours ago, reason said:

Chewing vikes for that back pain, are we?

Advil for now, the next step is targeted steroids shots and they work. It's the cabin fever that drives me nuts.

Tom

 

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1 hour ago, TOXIC said:

Per BassMaster:

 

If you read a lot of fishing magazines or watch a lot of fishing television shows, you've doubtlessly read or heard someone use the terms "structure" and "cover" interchangeably.

Well, structure and cover are not the same thing. They are very different, and using the terms correctly is important because it avoids unnecessary confusion and leads to a greater understanding of the sport and bass.

Let's start with some definitions.

"Structure" consists of contour changes on the lake or stream substrate. Examples of structure include channels, dropoffs, flats and points.

"Cover" is an object or objects like vegetation, a stump, rock, boat dock or bridge piling that creates an ambush point for a predator (in our case, the bass ... but it could just as easily be a pike, muskie or other ambush feeder).

Cover offers a hiding place from prey or predators. Structure is part of a bigger picture; it may offer access to deep water or serve as a bass' navigational reference point of some permanence. They are not the same thing and do not overlap.

Well, at least they got 1 out of their 4 "structure" examples right :lol: 

 

I do agree they are completely different, and to whatever degree possible, they should be understood as separate things. However, so much use and misuse over the past half century or more, along with the natural evolution of word usage and meaning means we'll never all be on the same page when discussions get beyond a certain level of detail. Even hardcore Spoonpluggers don't completely agree these days on exact terminology. Such is the nature of life.

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Agree it's difficult when everyone speaks a different language, terms are important and bass anglers are constantly redifining them to suit their own needs.

Lets say cover is something that grows or at some time grew like a tree. Tree we can agree on. Grass to bass anglers is regional word for every type of aquatic plant, it's not grass of any variety, out west we tend to call grass weeds. It's easy to get confused with simple terms let alone nuances of cover and structure like adding breaks, transitions, etc.

Tom

 

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I consider rip rap as cover . Also I would call the blocks that sink brush piles as cover . I consider structure as bottom topography only .

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In our discussions,  it helps if use the same terminology.  When fishing it may be more important to understand the concepts.  I think of structure as what the bass uses in their movement between their deep water home and shallow water.  I think of cover as their hiding place.  Sometimes the bass might ignore our definitions and hide in what we call structure and move along what we call cover.  I hate it when fish don't follow the rules 😝.  I think I remember Buck Perry calling an old fence row structure.  It could probably be classified either way and be used either way by the fish. 

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