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Isolated cover vs structure

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2 hours ago, Tennessee Boy said:

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. 

The fence/hedge row example Buck used is a little tricky (IMO). It was diagrammed in an article on the best places to locate fish in a reservoir, as well as in a little booklet he published. In both cases, that example was in reference to what Buck referred to as "structure situations." Similar to Tom's original premise, "structure situations" are the areas Buck stated we are most likely to find fish consistently. This is because these "structure situations" are comprised of 4 different entities; structure, breaks, breaklines and deep water. It is the combination of these 4 things that make these areas so productive. In the case of the fence row, it was situated on a small bar (structure) and was comprised of individual trees or posts (breaks) that happened to run in a line (breakline) and that led all the way from the shoreline out to the channel (deep water). This example was used to try and explain why, as Buck put it, "'Structure fishermen' should [be able to] tell the difference between fence rows and standing trees out on some big flat."

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I used the example of a Christmas tree tied to cement blocks to sink the tree for a fish attractor for a example of cover vs structure; the tree providing cover and the blocks adding structure. If the blocks didn't have the tree they don't change still structure. 

Rock regardless where or how they are used are structure elements; individual, pile up, used to protect soil erosion or a dam face, underwater rocks are structure.

lets examine a bridge made of concrete that spands over a lake or river. The rocks used for soil protection on the banks we call rip rap, the concrete underwater bridge pilings that hold up the bridge are man made structure elements. The bridge span above the water is a structural element that provides shade. Shade, to me, isn't cover, it's a break line that bait and bass relate to. 

A dock is another example of structure and cover. If the dock has pilings or crips to hold up the dock, regardless if they wooden, steel or concrete, underwater they are structure.  The dock floating on or above the water regardless of construction, to me, is cover.

Buck Perry followers may have a different definition as they consider Perry as the guru of structure as it applies to bass fishing. Not being on the same page does confuse everyone and I am as guilty as anyone else in using terms as I understand them. What we have is a failure to communicate.

Tom 

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2 hours ago, Team9nine said:

what Buck referred to as "structure situations."

 

Remember reading that 😉

 

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5 hours ago, scaleface said:

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 .

Agree. The way I understood is like you do.Structure is bottom topography. Cover is anything in those areas that bass can hide in.

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18 minutes ago, Mobasser said:

Agree. The way I understood is like you do.Structure is bottom topography. Cover is anything in those areas that bass can hide in.

How do adult size bass hide in rocks or cement blocks? Crawdads can hide in rocks!

Tom

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Great discussion.  Thanks for the Buck Perry refresher @Team9nine .  I'm definitely in the Buck Perry camp.  Again,  my real concern is how something affects the bass' behavior.  What we call it only matters in our discussions. 

 

Does a cement block that holds down a brush pile affect the bass in a way that I need to be aware of?  If it does then maybe we need to classify it.  If not then it doesn't matter what you call it.

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50 minutes ago, WRB said:

How do adult size bass hide in rocks or cement blocks? Crawdads can hide in rocks!

Tom

Of course bass can't hide in cement blocks. I always looked at cover as weeds, wood, etc, but in the bigger picture of structure, which I thought to be the bottom contour, depth changes, drop offs etc.Maybe I don't understand this correctly?

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Rip-rap can be both cover and structure. It's a change in bottom composition and by definition, that is a form of structure not related to bottom contour. On many natural lakes, those changes in bottom composition are one of the main structural elements.  Some chunk rock that makes up the causeways of some lakes up this way are the size of a pick-up and I'd consider them a form of cover also.

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Any rock bigger then a basket ball becomes a boulder, several ton size rock the size of a pick up truck is no longer chunk rock, it's a big boulder. 

It takes 2 each 8"X 8"X 16" cement blocks to sink an average size Christmas tree, not a insignificant piece of structure. Pile up a half dozen blocks that size and they become isolated rock pile in my book.

if you pass up that tiny structure you mis a opportunit to catch some big bass if blocks /boulders are located in the right place.

Tom

 

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6 hours ago, WRB said:

Any rock bigger then a basket ball becomes a boulder, several ton size rock the size of a pick up truck is no longer chunk rock, it's a big boulder. 

It takes 2 each 8"X 8"X 16" cement blocks to sink an average size Christmas tree, not a insignificant piece of structure. Pile up a half dozen blocks that size and they become isolated rock pile in my book.

if you pass up that tiny structure you mis a opportunit to catch some big bass if blocks /boulders are located in the right place.

Tom

 

Ok thanks Tom. I see what your saying now. I'm from Missouri you know, " the Show Me State". Sometimes you have to show me! I'll catch on eventually .

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And now you start seeing the nuances and differences in thought (and terminology). Sticking with my originalist mentality, Buck stated structure is a feature OF the bottom...meaning, the dirt. Breaks, or what most people call 'cover' now days, are features ON the bottom. Rocks, whether we are talking tied to a Christmas tree or laid down to protect a shoreline, are still sitting ON the bottom, therefore are considered break/cover. 

 

You can really get into nuances, and even Buck said there are some instances where what we would traditionally consider breaks could also be considered 'structure-like' because of the lack of true structure in certain bodies of water (and fished or treated accordingly. The good news is that whether I call it a break, or whether Tom considers it structure, it is recognized as something important by each of us, and would be evaluated and fished accordingly. The difference is just to what degree of importance (and terminology).

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I fish a lake with many lay downs, fish on all  of them. There are boulder fields with some boulders big as a house. The boulders are almost always in relationship to an incoming drain (hollow, run, etc).or a point.

There aren't fish on all the boulders but the bigger fish are usually around them. The biggest fish in this lake are structure oriented but the numbers are by the cover,(laydowns).  Not to say there are no big fish on the laydowns

- is this confusing enough?

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Ultimately,  the fish decide what they use for cover.  This can vary from lake to lake and from season to season.  Most people would say that a lake has structure even if there are no fish in the lake.  I would have to agree but as a structure fisherman I don't see it that way.  To me the fish also decide what is structure.  

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In response to the question, I am going to start fish the isolated structure.

 

My home lake is basically all rock.

You'll hear guys say all the time that they caught the fish on a muddy featureless bank.

This is where they are usually wrong, there was some type of isolated feature that the bass were holding to.

Sometimes its just one or two rocks or a section of gravel the size of a 5 gallon bucket.

 

One of my best spots I found using google earth and its just a couple of large rocks with a couple drainage areas that run beside it. Also there is a laydown at the end of a point where a vein of rocks breaks up. (the ditches are caused by rains when they drop the water.)

 

You can fish these areas all year round as the isolated rocks on the drains continue to extend into 40 feet of water.

Fish will move both up and down depending on the conditions in this area.

 

You will also see this lake has many rock veins that run thru it.

Most guys find the way the rocks are laying and fish with them so they are not getting snagged.

I have always found that fishing parallel to the veins produces the best.

 

I tried to show a little diagram with arrows pointing to the drains, stars to show the isolated areas where we have success year after year.(blue line shows where it would be at full pool + bottom picture))

 

image.png.5a118754e0c38017d75e2a1ac66abb6a.png

image.thumb.png.cc58f77bc364081b1f21cf583be42df1.png

 

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Very nice diagram 👍 I'd fish those areas too, just with a different interpretation that got me there.

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Thanks @BassNJake for taking the time to create this diagram. It's facinating to see the approaches others take.  Personally,  I would probably be very focused on fishing the rock veins at different depths and I don't know if I would ever get around to fishing the isolated rocks that produced for you.

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2 hours ago, BassNJake said:

In response to the question, I am going to start fish the isolated structure.

 

My home lake is basically all rock.

You'll hear guys say all the time that they caught the fish on a muddy featureless bank.

This is where they are usually wrong, there was some type of isolated feature that the bass were holding to.

Sometimes its just one or two rocks or a section of gravel the size of a 5 gallon bucket.

 

One of my best spots I found using google earth and its just a couple of large rocks with a couple drainage areas that run beside it. Also there is a laydown at the end of a point where a vein of rocks breaks up. (the ditches are caused by rains when they drop the water.)

 

You can fish these areas all year round as the isolated rocks on the drains continue to extend into 40 feet of water.

Fish will move both up and down depending on the conditions in this area.

 

You will also see this lake has many rock veins that run thru it.

Most guys find the way the rocks are laying and fish with them so they are not getting snagged.

I have always found that fishing parallel to the veins produces the best.

 

I tried to show a little diagram with arrows pointing to the drains, stars to show the isolated areas where we have success year after year.(blue line shows where it would be at full pool + bottom picture))

 

image.png.5a118754e0c38017d75e2a1ac66abb6a.png

image.thumb.png.cc58f77bc364081b1f21cf583be42df1.png

 

I bank fished your home lake from 5-6 last night and got skunked. Water was still way too warm, probably at least sixty. It felt like a hot tub when I stuck my hand in it 

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Excellent photo that clearly shows isolated rocks that most anglers don't bother to fish. Bass located at that type of isolated structure are nearly always hunting prey and active feeders. 

Where the clay soil meets the shale ridges to me are breaks lines edges that also can be good areas that get over looked.

Tom

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3 hours ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Thanks @BassNJake for taking the time to create this diagram. It's facinating to see the approaches others take.  Personally,  I would probably be very focused on fishing the rock veins at different depths and I don't know if I would ever get around to fishing the isolated rocks that produced for you.

I used to fish those rock veins a lot with minimal success.

I used to ask myself where do I start when the whole lake is rock?

I started targeting the isolated stuff and have had much better success.

 

One of the nice things about them dropping the lake 20 feet every year is seeing all the places I caught fish the year before with no water on them.

Say the lake is down 5 feet, I'll drive around marking areas with the same color waypoint.

When the lake drops another 5 feet, I'll do the same using a different color.

 

This makes it easier for me to pattern my milk runs.

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On 11/29/2018 at 1:07 PM, 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.

I was understood it as “cover” being something that with enough determination and manpower you could pull off the bottom with hooks and ropes while “structure” would require an underwater bulldozer to alter. 

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I feel like ISOLATED structure will typically hold a bass (or several) for mainly for one reason; to feed. Or perhaps in transit to/from seasonal holding areas, which again usually means they are trying to feed. 

 

STRUCTURE over a greater area to me is an area where fish school up and hangout for a certain part of a season, or during certain weather or water conditions. 

 

Right or wrong, this was my thought while reading this thread. 

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