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BASSMAN1301599783

Fishing a drop-off

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How do you approach a drop off?  I have a drop off that I know is holding fish, and I plan on spending an 8 hour tournament, sitting on it.  How would you fish it when you have all day to find what the fish want?

Thanks

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You can prowl along the drop off on the shallow side and cast your offerings to the deep side or do the opposite, prowl along the deep side and cast your offerings to the shallow side, the point is: fish will be holding along the drop off so when your baits cross the transition zone from deep water into shalow water they become a target. That could also answer you question about spinnerbaits in deep water, in the particular case when I 'm doing that I prefer single blade spinnerbaits.

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a good rule of thumb is to fish parralell to the drop until you find the depth where fish are holding.  Then you can tune your presentation to keep the offering in that zone longer.  By fishing perpendicular to the drop you are only presenting your lure for a short time and this may not tell you where the fish are.

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Bassman,you are in my ballpark.You'll need to start out by keeping your boat in the deeper water and casting to the shallows.I always start atleast a casting distance off the ledge and work it all the way to the deep.The first presentation I try is dragging a jig on the bottom.If I don't get any bites,I will go to lifting it up off the bottom letting the line slack so that the jig will fall straight down.The fish will usually hit it on the fall.I use these same presentations with a 10 inch worm on a Texas-rig.There's alot more to fishing a ledge.It's hard to explain all the details.A good tip is to find the ledge on your depth finder by idling over it and throw out a bouy marker then zig-zag across it a couple of times to try to look for brush then throw another marker on down the ledge about 25-50 yards pending on the size of the ledge.This will help alot especially if you haven't fished it alot.Good Luck!

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Is a drop-off the same thing as the edge of the channel if it changes depth dramatically? It may not be a cliff, but more of a 10 foot change in depth spread out over a width of about 10 feet. It runs for a hundred feet or so. This being the case, do you fish the entire length? Do you fish both sides of the channel?

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drop offs dont have to be dramatic.  they can be subtle.  a small drop off on a flat, say about a foot can also be a drop off and can hold fish.  just keep in mind it doesnt have to be dramatic or obvious.  everyone fishes the obvious ones.

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Cujo that's right it doesn't have to be dramatic.Some drops you need to fish the whole thing or until you find the sweet spot.The best drops have some sort of structure or cover on the top.

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I have installed a GPS/Depthfinder on my bow. I lay out my drops in the routes section. When I fish that drop  I pull it up on my routes & follow the cursor. It's better than sliced bread.

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I'm all for throwing out buoys to get familiar with structure.....it was how I learned to fish deep.I've had as many as 12 buoys around a point or ledge before just to be able to back away from it and look and study it.In some cases,on lakes I only fish a few times a year,I'll throw out my buoys,back away and take a picture of it.I mark my GPS  #'s on the picture and pull them out when I reach the structure.It's alot of work but it will pay off.

And like shadmaster said,I always fish a ledge parallel first to find the correct depth.

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You say you know where the drop off is and that it has fish on it and you plan to stay on it during an 8 hour tournament.

1) Make a pass or two over the drop off to confirm fish are marking and where the marks are in relation to the drop off. The most active feeders will mark just on the top of the dropoff.

2) Anchor on the deep side about half a long cast away and take out the trolling motor. 99% of tournaments have rules protecting participant's space when anchored and the trolling motor is up.

2) I would have four lures rigged - a worm with as light a weight as possible that will let me feel when the worm reaches the drop off itself, a swimming grub on an 1/8 oz lead head (unless the drop off is more than 20 feet deep, then go heavier), a jig and pig on a 1/4 oz jig and finally a 3" sinking crank bait rated to dive 20' or more.

3) I would expect the worm to catch most of the fish without spooking the remaining fish, if the action gets fast the grub may be the fastest way to get them in the boat,

4) make your casts so that you lures traverse at least 10' of the bottom on the shallow side, an active feeder at the drop off will run up onto the shallow part and get the bait (when feeding the fish play leapfrog to get to the front of the chow line and will end up on the shallow part),

5) If bites slow switch among the bottom running lures and try different color and length worms,

6) If you get nothing for 30 minutes make about 10 casts with the big crankbait (this may when you catch the largest fish of the day), this will stir things up a little and may start the fish feeding again,

7) If you go an hour with nothing, pull up the anchor and with the boat right over the drop off try you best hole shot, then repeat a couple of more times, then go back and reanchor - this will get the fish feeding again with 30 minutes unless the bottom is hard and cannot be stirred up.

8 ) Regardless, do not leave the spot because ther will come at least one good feeding period during the 8 hours and most of your fish will likely come in a 45 minute period, but you must be there when it happens.

9) Once you have a limit, alternate between the jig and pig and the crankbait - these are the big fish lures.

35 years of experience in 5 minutes.

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First of all, if possible I would mark the drop off with some inconspicuous bouys like clear soda bottles with a line and weight attatched.  Mark the main drop off and then find any structure on structure like a little finger or pocket on the ledge.  Next I would find out how the bass are relating to the structure, are they suspended off the deep side or on the shallow side? are they near the bottom?  If they were on the deep side or suspended they may be inactive and you may have to use something that falls slowly and stays in the strike zone longer like a soft stickbait, AKA senko.  If they are on top of the drop off they are most likely active and can hit a carolina rig jig, a slow rolled spinnerbait or crankbait.  I would make casts at different angles.  First casting straight at the structure and then after I find out their depth and where they are holding on the ledge I would move the boat so I am casting parallel to that depth.  

Tell me how the tourny goes.

best fishes.

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