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bassnleo

Cover vs. Structure

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I was just watching a fishing show, 2 guys pitching jigs into shoreline bushes and laydowns. They were catching quite a few smaller LM and with every fish they landed, one of them would make a comment about how amazing it was that the fish were in the structure, for example "man Jasper, that dude was tight to the structure, folks this is the ticket, using dor-kee-jigs and pitching them to the shorline structure, man this is great"

Ok, I'm no expert, but it drives me crazy to hear people on TV calling cover, structure. Am I alone in this thought or have I been spending too much time behind this keyboard? :)

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I have learned that structure is changes in bottom depth and composition, creek channels, humps, drop offs etc..  Cover is stuff that bass hide in, under or around like trees, stumps, rocks, grass, docks etc...

Combine structure with a little cover and look out!

Opinions???

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Yup,that's pretty much how I see it!

Cover:anything a fish can get under,in,or around.

Structure:Bottom contour,I sometimes relate rocks and stumps to structure just because they contour the bottom.

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I am the same way and figured I was just picky. (but I'm sure we all did it in the begining)  There are a few gray areas but for the most part a "terrain feature" is structure - and weeds, reeds, brush, timber, rocks, docks, etc are cover.

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I agree. I too get annoyed. This can confuse anglers about the differences and then everyone starts calling them the same thing because they think it is the same thing.

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Guest avid

I hear these things alot from other anglers on the lake.  I think the terms are starting to be used interchangeably by most people. Or at least untill they really get educated.  I don't make a big deal about it.  It's just talkin the talk

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I hear these things alot from other anglers on the lake.  I think the terms are starting to be used interchangeably by most people. Or at least untill they really get educated.  I don't make a big deal about it.  It's just talkin the talk

*laugh*  Ditto...."silence hides ignorance".    I follow those words often.

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You got it right Leo. But a lot of people use the wrong term, just like a lot (much more) use "action" when they mean a rod's "power."

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Buck Perry was the man who coined the term "structure". It originally referred to

the contour of the terrain. Cover on the other hand, refers to the wood, rocks and weeds

found upon the terrain. Unfortunately, there are objects found on the bottom of some impoundments

that are neither or both structure and cover. Examples of these objects are submerged bridges,

flooded barns and sunken cars, which may be called structure or cover.

Roger

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The terms "cover" and "structure" are not black and white, there is a little gray in definition and usage.

Cover: v. To place something upon or over, so as to protect or conceal. n. The material used upon or over, so as to protect or conceal.

I think of cover to be predominately vegetation, grass, weeds, cattails, lillies, standing timber. Things that are transitory in nature.

Structure: n. Something made up of a number of parts that are held or put together in a particular way.

I think of structure as permanent in nature. Examples include points, cliffs, drop-offs, rock or mud bottoms, boulders, channels, pilings and stump beds.

The gray area: Sometimes cover and structure overlap. I consider rockpiles "structure" and in a lake they are usually "permanent in nature", but on a river they can be transitory. A dock may be both: the planking provides "cover", but the supporting pylons represent "structure".

I don't think a strict definition is required when it relates to largemouth bass. Largemouth in their natural habitat are shallow water, vegetation oriented fish, but they adapt very quickly to changing environments. The best example is manmade reserviors where huge areas of vegetation (cover) was once available and over the years has vanished. These "old" reserviors still produce huge bass, but the bass may now be more orientated to "structure" in deeper water. The fishing may not seem as good as it was in "the old days", but that is because the fish have adapted to the changes in the lake. Fishermen need to adapt, too.

Smallmouth are another story. This species is not native to most of the country, but it too has a tremendous ability for adaptation. Instinctively, bronzebacks thrive in current. The orientation to structure is a result of developing in a river environment. Smallmouth are rarely attracted to transitory vegetation (cover), but tend to live and feed at ambush points defined by permanent "structure".

Cover vs. structure, the definitions are blurred and the usage ambiguous. Here's something simple:

If you are a smallmouth fisherman look for "rocks" in current, in deep water, that's a "structure" you can count on.

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I often hear comments from TV experts that make me stop and question the accuracy of the statement. I see many fisherman choice tackles based on what a celebrity uses on his program. That may or may not be the best choice because that person is using his sponsor's equipment that can be serviceable but not necessarily the best choice.

I agree with all the comments as to the difference between cover and structure but as roadwarrior stated sometimes the line can be blurred. It's like the difference between cover and concealment that drill instructors try to beat into recruits heads. Cover means something a bullet can't pass through while concealment means something that keeps the enemy form observing you but will not stop fire directed at you. These are general differences but sometimes there is elements of both present.

;)

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I have difficulty referring to pilings and stumps as structure.

Differently put, we often hear mention of weedy cover, woody cover and rocky cover,

but rarely hear mention of woody structure. Some exceptions, as I previously mentioned,

are barns and other "manmade" structures like houses, buildings, etc.

Roger

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I have difficulty referring to pilings and stumps as structure.  

If it is on the shore I would call it cover if it was in 40 ft of water structure.

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I have difficulty referring to pilings and stumps as structure.

If it is on the shore I would call it cover if it was in 40 ft of water structure.

That's interesting.

Suppose there were a stumpfield in 40ft of water that was

located on the ledge of the river channel dropping sharply to 80ft.

Would you refer to the stumps as structure or cover?

Roger

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Rolo,

"Permanent " not "Transitory",  but I'm not really arguing the point that you're making. Maybe everything that is not,  and was NEVER alive should be called structure. There is a lot of gray area in the terminology.

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that would be structure

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Suppose there were a stumpfield in 40ft of water that was  

located on the ledge of the river channel dropping sharply to 80ft.

Would you refer to the stumps as structure or cover?

The stumps for me would be cover while the ledge and the river channel are structure.

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Suppose there were a stumpfield in 40ft of water that was

located on the ledge of the river channel dropping sharply to 80ft.

Would you refer to the stumps as structure or cover?

The stumps for me would be cover while the ledge and the river channel are structure.

Bingo!

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Cover vs structure.

I always believed, anything associated with the shore was cover.   Marinas, boat docks, grass lines, lily pads, a lay down off the bank

Anything that is not associated to the shore is structure.

Contour is the elevation breaks in the water.    Pond dams, river and creek channels, guts, ditches, road beds, ledges, humps, borrow pits, flats.

What extends up from the contour is structure.   Bridge pilings, stumps and trees, rock piles, houses, barns, foundations etc.....

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I have been reading the replies.I think some structure could be considered cover and vise versa.When I am fishing I have a different feel for how I fish cover vs. structure and that is how I would base where I draw the line between them.

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Suppose there were a stumpfield in 40ft of water that was

located on the ledge of the river channel dropping sharply to 80ft.

Would you refer to the stumps as structure or cover?

The stumps for me would be cover while the ledge and the river channel are structure.

Thats the ticket! 8-)

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Cover is a place to hide structure is a place they use as reference or a place they relate to. Ambush point is a place they use to feed. A deep stump a bass might be next to it, above it, and they might use it to ambush something and will use it to relate to but has no place to hide unless the roots are washed out and only is viewed by a bass the same as a rock pile. Shallow cover be it weeds, dock, brush pile, bass use to hide in. You take the same stumps on a point and it becomes an irregular feature and still is not cover. It still has no place to hide and can still be used as a ambush point.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

A fisheries technician would define structure as any change in contour of bottom, even a little 6 inch deep ditch, or any geologic feature attached to bottom. That could be a point, a ledge, hump, bluff, bridge pilings, riprap on shore, creek channel, rock pile (natural or man-made), shoreline contour breaks, or just a change from mud to gravel on bottom.

Cover is mostly whatever grew on bottom before the lake was formed, or has been added since, like stake beds, sunken tree tops, or grows there now, including sunken standing trees and flooded live brush and submerged aquatic vegetation.

A marine biologist might call it differently, not using "cover' at all, saying the "structure" of a lake is the total makeup of everything in and around it.

Yep, it's a bit of a lost set of terminology on a lot of our really high profile pros on TV that keep everyone confused including the fiseries and biology folks.  ::)  Jim

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So there you have it. I don't think many would argue that there must be "something" to attract and hold bass, whether it's cover, structure or a concentration of baitfish. As we narrow the target, we improve our chances of finding bass. You can't catch them if the ain't there!

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I call it all 'good stuff'.  "Man, I just dragged my C -Rig through some 'good stuff'!"  "My Spot just hit some 'good stuff' on that flat".  "Look at that 'good stuff'" (pointing at a pad field).  Although, I differentiate between cover and structure much like the majority of the resposes here... cover is an object and structure is a contour.

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