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jimmyjoe

brushpiles

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   The lakes around here have brushpiles. (DNR calls them "habitat", I call them brushpiles.)  The tops of them are anywhere from 2' to 8' in depth, in 8-12 feet of water. They hold bass, but I don't quite know how to target them.  Being a shorecaster, my first thought was a spinnerbait. That was fine about half the time. The rest of the time, not so much. So I tried shallow cranks. No fish. Mid cranks .... hung up, big time. Then I tried ribbontail worms. Hung up on brush, or hung up on wrapped-up fish. Then I found out weedless spoons aren't the same as snagless spoons. (There are no snagless spoons.)  Jigs? Hung up.

    What should I do this coming year? I don't quite fetch how to attack this problem. And it's bugging me, 'cause that's where the bigger bass are. Any suggestions are appreciated.   jj

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If you can't get in there with Texas Rigs or a variety of jigs with hefty weedguards, I'm not sure what you can do. You did mention fish getting wrapped up. Heavy braid with heavy rods - muscle them out. 

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If I was in that situation, I'd rely heavily on a Texas rigged plastic with very few appendages (a personal favorite of mine are Roboworms).  Use a really light tungsten weight, the lightest you can get away with even if you have to throw it with spinning gear to reach the cover.  Work the outside edges first to cut down on hanging up and having to pull fish out of the cover.

 

A second option would be weightless Senkos or soft plastic jerkbaits (flukes or sluggos), also T-rigged.  These will take a little more time to sink, but will sit on top of the brush piles instead of going down in.  Use the Senkos if the fish are eating, the soft plastic jerkbaits to get a reaction strike.

 

The more I think about it, the second option might be better than the first.

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I've had my best results with Gene Larue salt craws Texas rigged.  When I get a fish on I don't try to horse it out of the brush (can't really with 10# mono).  I just keep tension on the line and the fish will almost always come out of the brush.  

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14 minutes ago, OCdockskipper said:

....   Use a really light tungsten weight, the lightest you can get away with  ....

   Why tungsten?    jj

4 minutes ago, Jig Man said:

.....  When I get a fish on I don't try to horse it out of the brush (can't really with 10# mono).  I just keep tension on the line and the fish will almost always come out of the brush.  

   I honestly have never tried that. I guess my first instinct - like most people's - is to fight the fish. You might have something there. You'll have to rename yourself "The Fish Whisperer".   😉   jj

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Are you shore bond because boats are not allowed? Trying to target brush from one direction from shore is problematic. You can only cast so far and the further you cast the ability to keep in contact with whatever to casted losses your ability to determine strikes from hang ups until it's too late, you miss the fish and hang up badly.

Kayak or another style boat maybe in your future.

Straight tail plastic worm with the lightest weight that gets you to the brush pile rigged weedless would be my first choice. Lighter weight for it's smaller size (tungsten) tends to hang less often.

Tom

 

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Heavy rods with braid is how I've always done it. A T rig or a slither rig do best doe me at avoiding snags. You're going to lose some baits and some fish to the brush, just part of it.

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14 minutes ago, WRB said:

Trying to target brush from one direction from shore is problematic. You can only cast so far and the further you cast the ability to keep in contact with whatever to casted losses your ability to determine strikes from hang ups until it's too late, you miss the fish and hang up badly. 

   Ahhhh ...... you found that out too, huh?   :fishing1:   jj

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A t-rigged worm would be my 1st choice.

But almost more important than the bait selection, is practicing getting a bait through the brush.

You really have to finesse a worm, or any bait, through trees, brush etc... 

First, visualize the brush/cover you are throwing to. Visualize your worm/line draped over a limb and pull slowly up to the limb. You will feel the weight hit the cover, then just shake the rod tip and pop it over. Picture all this going on underwater.

Not only will the bait come through the cover better, this slow/finesse type of retrieve usually yields more bites as it's a more natural look.

 

Now go visualize and attack!!

 

 

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1 hour ago, OCdockskipper said:

A second option would be .... soft plastic jerkbaits (flukes or sluggos), also T-rigged. 

  OK. I've never tried flukes or sluggos. (No need in the river.) Which size do I try to start? This (flukes) is one aspect of fishing where I'm a total noob.   jj

  

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1 hour ago, jimmyjoe said:

   Why tungsten?    jj

Tungsten is denser, so it is smaller in size compared to lead for the same weight.  A smaller size of the same weight has a better chance of making it through the brush pile without hanging up.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjoe said:

  OK. I've never tried flukes or sluggos. (No need in the river.) Which size do I try to start?...  

I tend to favor small to medium sizes (4" - 5"), as long as they are heavy enough to cast the distance you need.  Sluggos have more meat & are heavier than flukes, so they might be a better choice to start with.

 

I like using a Gamakatsu skip gap hook with these because I am often skipping them under docks, but they will work well for coming through brush as well because the hooks stay in place better than many other T-rig hooks.

 

They are a great bait to use from shore, because they have a lot of action without you having to move them far.  The retrieve is similar to hard jerkbaits, except in your situation, the pauses are longer to let the bait sink (when twitched, the baits tend to rise in the water column).  When they sink, they actually have a subtle swim action as opposed to diving to the bottom.  You could make a pass or two over the tops of the brush pile to see if a fish comes out to get it and if no luck, make a couple of casts where you let it settle into the brush pile & twitch it out.

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10 minutes ago, OCdockskipper said:

 ...... as long as they are heavy enough to cast the distance you need.

  I've got some Mr Twister keeper hooks, unweighted, and there's a sale on weighted, # 4/0. I see they also have a fluke body. Unless someone says that the Keeper hook won't work, (some people definitely don't like them) I think I'll put in an order tomorrow. For colors, maybe Baby Bass and chartreuse-and-pepper. Sound good? After all, I gotta start somewhere.  😀  jj

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2 hours ago, jimmyjoe said:

   Ahhhh ...... you found that out too, huh?   :fishing1:   jj

You don't always learn that fire burns by putting your hand in it.

Natural brush or trees grow directional, ground up, the branches are organized and your line tends to slip off them. Brush piles are man made, the branches are unorganized going in all directions that first snags your line then the lure is pulled into the snag hooking into it.

Tom

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Heres how I would handle it . I would use a texas rig worm , lizard , craw ,    brush hog...  it doesnt make any difference . I would avoid skin hooking with an EWG hook and use either an offset or straight shank hook and bury it in the worm .  Peg the worm . I have been using a strip of bicycle inner tube to  keep the worm from sliding down the shank , plus it get batter hook sets . Usually I dont peg a sinker but in your case I would use a bobber stop to keep it all together .

 

Here is how I use the inner tube to lock the worm in place . After experimenting with it there is no need to poke holes in it , just run the hook through .

aaaa.JPG

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44 minutes ago, jimmyjoe said:

 

  I've got some Mr Twister keeper hooks, unweighted, and there's a sale on weighted, # 4/0. I see they also have a fluke body. Unless someone says that the Keeper hook won't work, (some people definitely don't like them) I think I'll put in an order tomorrow. For colors, maybe Baby Bass and chartreuse-and-pepper. Sound good? After all, I gotta start somewhere.  😀  jj

I actually use Keeper hooks for my thinner bodied plastics, but I have a mental hangup about using them for Flukes & Sluggos because there is alot more worm to go thru.  You could give it a try, the worse thing that would happen is you would continue to miss fish on hooksets, the plastic would come back bunched around the hook.

 

For colors, baby bass always works as well as colors that match the local forage.

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Lots of good techniques mentioned here. One of my favorite ways to fish submerged timber is to fish a topwater over it. Make sure to fish just above the timber and you should not get stuck. You can also fish other lures just above the timber and get good results if you put in your time. Have caught many nice bass this way from the shore. Good luck and have fun.

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6 hours ago, scaleface said:

Heres how I would handle it . I would use a texas rig worn , lizard , craw ,    brush hog...  it doesnt make any difference . I would avoid skin hooking with an EWG hook and use either an offset or straight shank hook and bury it in the worm .  Peg the worm . I have been using a strip of bicycle inner tube to  keep the worm from sliding down the shank , plus it get batter hook sets . Usually I dont peg a sinker but in your case I would use a bobber stop to keep it all together .

 

Here is how I use the inner tube to lock the worm in place . After experimenting with it there is no need to poke holes in it , just run the hook through .

aaaa.JPG

   That looks like a great idea! And the bobber stop is a great idea, too. I already use them to guide my Crazy Alberto knots through the guides, so I have lots on hand. I use the Arnold "dog bone". It works OK. I can see how a non-EWG hook might be a lot better, too.

   Thank you.    jj

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