Junk Fishing

Personally I can tell you that several of my big wins throughout my career have come with this term, junk fishing. We're going to talk about it today.

Loading the player ...

View Transcript

Hey BassResource fans.  Mike Iaconelli back here with another edition of Ike's Bass Class.  We've got a cool topic today.  We're talking about junk fishing.  J-U-N-K, junk fishing.  And it's a neat topic because when you say junk fishing, I still think there's a lot of anglers out there who don't know exactly what that means. 

Junk fishing?  What are you, are you fishing in a junk yard, you know, what are you doing?  But it's something that's very effective.  It's kind of a strategy that works a lot of places all over the country.  It's a strategy that works different times of the year.  And you know personally I can tell you that several of my big wins throughout my career have come with this term, junk fishing. 

So, let's talk a little bit about what it means and then I'm kind of going to give you some scenarios of when it really works good and we'll go over some of the baits that you can use for junk fishing. 

At its core junk fishing really means when you're out there on a day of fishing and you never really dial in to one pattern or one lure or one technique. And so, I think for a lot of us, we always go out and we try to really find a key pattern.  We work hard to find one bait and get dialed in, one depth, and to catch them that way.  And that's called pattern fishing.  We all know about that and that's what we all try to do.  But the reality of it is there are days, there are times of the year, for a lot of reasons that when you go out on the lake you can never do that. You can never dial in to an exact pattern.  And they're the kind of situations where junk fishing rules. 

So again, junk fishing at its core is fishing throughout a day, throughout the course of a day, using a lot of different baits, a lot of different areas, a lot of different depths, different patterns, and having a successful day of fishing.  You know, catching a big bag, catching a lot of fish. 

And it's interesting because you're almost kind of like always changing.  You're always analyzing the situation.  And you've got, you look down on your deck and instead of having one or two rods, a lot of times you've got eight or ten or twelve.  I can't tell you how many tournaments that I've fished and I've had, you know, twenty, thirty rods on the deck.

So again, junk fishing means you never get dialed in, you've got a lot of things going on and you're really analyzing the situation.  And, so when I know that it's a junk fishing day, here's kind of the mentality that I have.  I pull up to an area and I look at the area.  I pull up to a stretch of bank and I try to ask myself what's the best tool for that situation.

So, let's just give an example.  You pull up on a stretch of bank, you turn off the outboard, you drop your trolling motor.  And the first thing you come upon is a rip rap shoreline.  And so I look down at my ten or fifteen rods and I say what's the best tool to fish rip rap here?  So I'm looking down and I see a medium diving crankbait.  I see something like a Rapala DT6. 

And so I'm trying to pick the right bait for that situation.  You go down the rip rap, you're cranking, you're cranking, you're cranking.  And you get a bite, about halfway down you get a bite.  And it's a two pounder.  You put him in the boat.  You finish that stretch of rip rap and you don't get another bite.  But then the rip rap turns into a mud bank and all of a sudden there's one big lay down. 

You put that crankbait down and you look down again and there's a jig.  You pick up that jig, you throw into that laydown and you catch another two pounder.  You fish the next three laydowns, never get another bite.  You continue to go down the bank and now you get to a shallow dock in the back of a little pocket on this bank.  You look down again and you've got a weightless stick bait.  You've got a Senko style bait on a spinning rod and you pick that up and you skip it by the dock and you catch another two pounder.

That's kind of a good example of what a junk fishing day is, and how that scenario plays out.  So again junk fishing's not really getting on a pattern.  It's fishing the moment  It's utilizing the best tool or the best situation.  And I can tell you that junk fishing situations happen a lot throughout the year.  And it happened or a lot of different reasons. 

We'll go over some examples.  One of the best junk fishing periods of the year, I can tell you from experience, is post spawn.  And the post spawn scenario is perfect for junk fishing.  Because think about what's happening.  In a typical post spawn scenario. You've got some fish that are still on beds. You've got kind of the last wave of spawners.  You've got some fish that are guarding fry.  You've got some fish that are just off their fry.  You've got the females that have moved to the first breakons.  And then you have the early waves of spawners that are essentially already in their summertime pattern.  So the post spawn scenario presents you with lots of different things.  And they're the kind of times when you need to junk fish.

Another situation where junk fishing is awesome is heavy pressure situations.  This keeps coming up in a lot of our topics but I think we all deal with it.  You get to the lake and you launch your boat and you get out there and there's already sixty boats out there fishing.  And all the best stuff is already taken up.  That's a great situation to junk fish because you can kind of hop scotch around between different areas and pick up one or two fish here or there.  So heavy pressure. 

And then in the last scenario for junk fishing is weather changes.  Weather changes that happen throughout the day.  I can't remember the last time I fished a tournament where the weather remained the same throughout the entire event. Maybe back in the 80's.  Maybe that was the last time that happened, I can't remember.  But over the course of a multiple day tournament, a lot of time you're forced to junk fish because of changes in the weather.  So the first day of the event it's sunny, the second day it's cloudy, the third day it's sunny and cloudy.  So you utilize junk fishing to do all those things. 

So I think the moral of the story for junk fishing is to keep an open mind.  You don't always have to lock into a pattern.  Absolutely you know, an ideal scenario is to find one pattern.  But if you don't, don't get discouraged.  Think about junk fishing.  Think about picking the right tool for the right situation.  Have a positive attitude, fish the moment.  And you could still have a good event. 

Again, like I said, I've had a lot of success over the years junk fishing, kind of just picking one here and one there, and it really does work.  So, junk fishing doesn't have anything to do with Fred Sanford, just has a lot to do with catching fish.

Read More Articles from Mike Iaconelli