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spoon33

How do you fish underwater structure/ledges once you find them?

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Been fishing for years, but recently got a GPS/fishfinder so I will be watching the screen more closely and marking locations.

My question is though when your slowly driving across the lake and say you see an old underwater road which is 12 ft below water, and 20 feet to both sides what do you do?  Or if there is a laydown that might hold some fish how do you attack it?

Do you turn your boat to the side and go 20 yards away from where you think that tree is and cast down wind or what??

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great question....I've wondered the same because i too will be using electronics for my first time this year and ive been thinking "well what good is the spot if im already over it and possibly spooked the fish?"

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This topic will take more time to answer than I have at this moment.

First remember that your sonar is displaying a history of what you have already passed over, so the target is already behind you and could be off to one side or the other.

Slow downand use your trolling motor to get on top of the target before marking a GPS way point or mark 2 way points; 1 as you first pass over, then turn around and mark a 2nd when you pass back over. The actual target should be in between the 2 way points.

Depending on the depth and type of structure or cover, plus the seasonal period should help to determine what presentation or lure to use.

WRB

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WRB makes a really good point. Your electronics are used to develop an understanding of your lake bottom. You don't necessarily have to fish those surprises immediately, but document where they are, and what they might have to offer. Then return to fish them regularly, or at appropriate times.

Also, the boat may not spook fish. But how well you understand the structure, cover and current present will influence how you present your lures.

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Great topic guys.

Personally, I will usually follow as they are saying here, then once i get an idea of where the structure is, I will cast past it and work over it, depending on the shape I will try multiple angles.

Unless I am really shallow (< 4 ft) spooking fish is generally not going to be an issue, and even then, it is not a guarentee. I actually have had times I sat down, accidentally dropped a line over the side of the boat a couple feet and gotten a hit. now too often but it has happened.

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In the example above, the roadbed becomes a "break", which is a change in bottom content, from the surroundings. That's a good thing, but only if it has something on it to attract bait and ultimately game fish.

Find something different on that roadbed break, such as a fallen tree or stumps or brush - whatever. That's a "break" on a "break" (Google "Structure Fishing" by Buck Perry, circa 1960). Then once you find that, the "break on a break" needs to actually be attracting bait in some form or another. This will lead to you seeing game fish as well. Now you've found a great place to start.

Understand that it takes a combination of elements to create a spot which will produce fish. Don't ever forget that 90% of the fish are in only 10% of the water you are fishing!

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Every situation is different but I will add this...GPS units on your console are great for motoring to a spot, but where they really shine is when you have one on the front deck(or within sight) while structure fishing. It opens up a whole new world by allowing you to know exactly where the breaks, drops, flats, etc. are so that you can throw to them without guessing where they are.

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I'm looking to buy a GPS. What are the best on the market?

LOL.  How much money do you want to spend?

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I have two lcx 38c hd lowrance units on my rig

although they have been replaced now with a sleeker unit

but i am very interested in the side scan humminbird units they seem

very neat but have yet to be able to play with one of them the new boss hog unit is 3 thousand bucks

if you can afford it i suggest networking a front and back system

that way when you find structure from the back you can hone in out it up front and mark it then both units receive the location for future use.

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I like to throw out a marker buoy on top the ledge I'm fishing. Sometimes I will throw out ,many to not only mark the ledge, but any type of contour or structure I found on this ledge.

I'll approach it 360 degrees until i find out what triggers these fish.

For starters, I will back my boat off the ledge and throw past the top of the ledge. Using a crankbait for my first time probing of this area allows me to work fast, cover a lot of water, and catch the active fish. I'll pull it down the ledge, parallel to the ledge (in both directions) and cast from behind the ledge.

I like to use a deep diving crankbait that will bounce off the ledge and really rile the fish up. You want that crankbait to dig into the ground!!!.

Some of my other favorite ways to approach a ledge is to throw a Carolina rig, a dropshot rig, and a jig in the same way that i threw my crankbait.

With ledges, you have to understand that the "active" fish are shallower and are in the "I'm hungry" mode.

But... sitting a bit deeper are the bigger fish that come up shallow to feed, but then quickly return to their safe deeper hideout.

So, if you are fishing a ledge and only catching small fish... back off that ledge and throw a Carolina rig or a jig and try to entice those deeper bigger fish into biting. Those fish are catch-able, you just have to know how to push their buttons. It could very well mean casting to the same spot over and over and over until that fish has just clearly had enough of you, and will bite out of aggravation.

Another thing that I really key in on is STRUCTURE ON STRUCTURE. This is the key to finding that "sweet spot".

Look for that isolated rock pile or single rock sitting on or just below the ledge. Look for the one lay-down that is running North/South, when all the other lay-downs are laying East/West. Look for changes in bottom composition. Look for a mini point coming off the ledge. Look for that one little grass clump sitting all by itself on or near that ledge.

Look for a depth change on that ledge. That ledge may be the bank of what used to be a river or creek. Well, rivers and creeks often times have "feeder" creeks. These will appear as "ditches" running perpendiculiar to the ledge. These are very desirable areas for bass to hang out in.

Some of my favorite baits to fish a ledge with are:

The LIVE Magic Shad on a drop-shot rig.

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A Ringfry or a baby ringfry on a carolina rig

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A 1/2- 3/4oz jig with a Hyperfreak for a trailer for a very slow fall.

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More Lake Fork Trophy Lures products can be seen at www.lftlures.com

Hopefully some of my information that I have shared will help some of you develop new tactics on how to approach ledge fishing. I certainly hope so!

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This is a very good question and if anyone has an answer that works everytime tell me too. I have a couple old roadbeds in the lake where I fish. The problem is there are changes throughout the day and the season. Antytime there is a change the fish act different. I will usually start to fish paralel with the road edge with a deep crankbait on the shady side. Try to find a cluster of rocks or a hump that stands out to give the fish a place to hold. Then I go to a texas rigged brush hog or a jig. Other considerations to remember is what color and temperature is the water. GOOD LUCK  

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