Before Buck Perry pioneered structure fishing, most bass anglers were stuck on the bank, or at least on obvious, visible cover. Perry’s teachings dramatically changed the way we fish.
These days many bass anglers place a heavy emphasis on structure fishing. They rely on contour maps, depthfinders and even Loran and GPS navigation systems to help them find offshore hot spots. Their fishing conversations regularly include terms such as “underwater humps,” “ledges,” “drop-offs” and “breaklines.” With all the emphasis on deep-water fishing methods, its easy to forget that excellent fishing still exists along the bank.
I was pleasantly reminded of this fact while fishing for largemouth on a southern Ohio impoundment near my home last spring. Several days of balmy spring weather had warmed the water, and the bass responded by moving up to the bank. It was a major pre-spawn movement.
I started along a steep shale bank and briskly twitched a floating plastic minnow next to a fallen tree. When I let the minnow pause, a three-pound bass darted up and nabbed it.
After landing and releasing the bass, I repeated the performance at the very next windfall. In little more than two hours, a dozen sizable largemouth assaulted the floating minnow, either on the surface or as I worked the lure underwater with a twitch-twitch-pause jerkbait retrieve. The biggest fish weighed well over six pounds.
I regularly fish structure for bass, but I also enjoy catching them from the bank. I like sizing up a target, the challenge of making an accurate cast. Some anglers have gotten away from this traditional approach to bass fishing.