Making A Good PointMaking A Good Point Learning how to fish points effectively includes knowing how bass use them and then using that to your advantage.
By Ron Henager
We have heard the word point of all our lives. There are good points, bad points, points of interest, decimal points, all kinds of points. There were even the ones Mama would remind us of like, it's not polite to point. Those of us who fish must be more concerned with points because they can, and will affect our fishing.
Points are a basic element of bass movement. All bodies of water have various types of points from main lake points to secondary points inside coves. Some points are formed by structure in the lake such as rockslides, dead falls, grass mats, and other similar objects. These are what I call mini points.
There are several factors involved that can make each type of point better than another at certain times of the year. Things such as river channels, rock points, hydrilla growth, and even boat docks can give fish the structure and cover needed, but sometimes one will hold fish better than others.
Any type of secondary cover on a point will make a difference as to how good a particular point produces.
We'll begin with main lake points. Ideally, there will be a channel running up to or alongside of the point. This gives bass an escape route to deep water and provides them with perfect feeding territory. Hope, too, for a scattering of small stumps across the point to offer bass ambush areas in their environment. Just for kicks, we'll throw in a decent growth of hydrilla to our point area. This could be a very productive site, except for one thing. The most important ingredient in our perfect point must be present and that is forage fish. All of these factors will play a part in selecting a productive point.
Main lake points usually hold fish better in summer or winter months. The fish will hold there, moving in and out of deeper water depending on their mode of feeding or resting. During these seasons bass tend to like points with sharper drops. This allows more vertical movement without far distance travel for the fish.
Often fish will move off a main lake point and suspend over deeper water. This is particularly true in lakes that form a thermocline. If the thermocline is at 24 feet, the fish will remain just above that level and move up on to the point to feed.
Bass will use a point to push shad in shallow water where they are easier to catch. During these feeding sprees, is when points will really pay off for you. The fish will congregate here and the pattern can be very stable as long as there are no major weather changes.
Secondary points are used more in fall and spring. Fish will start to move into the coves in the spring to spawn. They will follow shad up the creeks in fall. Spawning bass, or rather pre-spawning bass, will stage on secondary points. It is here that some big fish can be caught. Locate the points where big females are staging and you have a gold mine. This is where tournaments are won and big bags of fish are found.
These same points serve as feeding places for post spawn fish. Also, in the fall when shad begin relating to creeks, these secondary points become feeding grounds for bass. Look for secondary points that run out to a channel. These will be your best bet.
Irregularities in the bank, rockslides, or other such deformations in the shoreline form the mini points mentioned earlier. These smaller points tend to form an edge, or difference, in the rest of the areas. Bass will use these areas to feed and rest. One of the best places to catch fish on rock bluffs is where the rocks have made a mini point and offer fish a sloping, little point.
Dead falls around the lake also create the same effect. It is a difference in the regular cover which bass will use to their advantage. The dead fall is actually a point in the water that adds more cover. Fish will be there. This can also be true with boat docks.
Steeper points will be the most productive in summer and winter, but in spring and fall the long, gently sloping point is where you'll need to begin your search for fish. These points give fish easy access to the shoreline to seek spawning beds or chase shad. This type of area also allows bass to be able to push baitfish to the shallows.
How To Fish Points
Fan casting is highly productive on points. Boat position can be critical to your success. There will be times when you won't get a bite if your boat is in the wrong position.
If a current is present, which is usually the case be it from the wind or a river, retrieve your lure with the current. This gives a more natural look to the movement of the bait.
Try fan casting from different directions. I like to get on the down wind side of the point and cast from shallow to deep and vice versa. I will move the boat several times to get different angles on the point. Sometimes, though, you just can't stick with the rules. At times the upwind side will produce better. Much like casting from shallow to deep or deep to shallow, the deciding factor is how the fish are positioned on the point.
Cover located on a point can help you determine where the bass will be located. Tree lines or stump rows, even old roadbeds, place fish in certain areas. These, once found, generally hold fish all the time. A tree line located on a point is almost invariably one of the best places to catch fish. Not only do they use the breaks on the points, but also they will use the tree line itself as a highway to move from deep to shallow.
The best baits to use on points are generally whatever you have the most confidence in. The Carolina Rig seems to be the choice of most anglers when fishing points. By using different leader lengths you can choose what depth you want your bait to float. It is particularly useful when fish are not holding tight to the bottom.
A deep-diving crankbait will also catch fish on points. I like ones that will get all the way to the bottom so I can stir up some silt when it digs down. When fishing points with crankbaits, you can be extremely versatile. I like to crank it down until it comes in contact with the bottom, then let it float up a bit before cranking it down again. This particular bait movement will trigger viscous strikes. It's also a good idea, if fishing in an area of stumps or rocks, to bounce the bait off them.
A heavy spinnerbait works well on points when slow rolled along the bottom. Try following the contour of the point and at times let the bait stop and flutter down. Ripping it up and letting it "die" will also work very well in these areas.
In lakes with clear water, topwater baits are hard to beat when fish are holding on points. I have drawn fish from over 15 feet to the surface to hit a Zara Spook or Pop-R.
While there really is no "best" bait, some things that you must have are a good graph and some marker buoys. The graph you can use to find the position of the fish, which sure makes positioning the boat easier. You can actually lay out the point contours with the marker buoys or use them to mark submerged cover on a point.
Many a tournament has been won using eight or 10 points. You can fish each until the fish quit biting, then moving on to the next, perhaps even returning for a second pass. This is a run and gun method that works well in competition.
A lot of people relate point fishing to deep fishing. This is not always true, especially when the fish are moving up to feed. They will also locate shallower on points if the wind is blowing in on the point.
On the hot, dog days of summer you should move out on deeper points and look for a pattern that will produce. If you have trouble fishing water that is 30 feet deep, just look at the boat you are in. Most are 17 to 20 feet long these days. So, you're only talking about one or one and a half boat lengths in depth. Thinking about it this way made it easier for me not to be intimidated by deep water.
Just remember that points are major holding areas for fish in transition. Transition being they are going in to spawn, moving into summer patterns, moving shallow to feed in fall, whatever. They can be productive year round and familiarizing yourself with fishing them can improve your catch ratio. Analyzing the situation and the structure on the bank will tell you what is under the water.
Points play a big role in the life of a bass. Learning how to fish them effectively includes knowing how bass use them and then using that to your advantage.
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