bluerock

How fish relate to structure

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After reading many many articles and books about fish setting up behind structure or current breaks to pop off and pick at baitfish struggling to fight up tide I made it a point this fall to try and witness that kind of activity by the fish but it never happened.

Also, by watching a videos of striped bass underwater they don't really seem to stack behind structure rather roam around it looking for forage.

 

They are a lot more experienced surfcasters on here than me that I'm looking for you to chime in and tell me what you think.

 

Thanks and Merry CHRISTmas

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Many of the videos shot underwater are not where there is a good moving tide. I haven't seen any u/w vids shot around bridges, inlets and rip, not when the water is moving at least. I've seen bass stay behind pilings and I've seen them sitting in depressions in the sand out of the current. I've seen the same behavior with weakfish but not so much with bluefish. Oh yes, let me add fluke.

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Like JohnP I've observed bass holding behind structure in inlets where the current rips.  

 

As well as a former mate on a charter boat that fished rocky reefs with very strong currents I know that bass sit out of the current behind rocks and on the down tide side of a high spot.

 

Bass behave like trout in a river if they are in strong current... they sit where they can expend little energy and feed by darting into the current and taking prey being swept along by the current.

 

In strong current, such as an inlet, where the bass are holding and letting food come to them they may prefer a lure that simply stems against the current. They know their prey can't swim up current at a moderate clip, so they don't often strike the plugs swimming over their heads.  Stop reeling, let that same lure stem and swing around in the current for a minute or 2 and they will kill it.

 

When there is no current to act as a conveyor belt of food they roam in search of prey.  In this case structure offers prey shelter and food so bass hunt there.

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Here's how I look at structure. First it is where the bait gets funneled or tumbled about. Second it can create some holding areas for bass. I've had divers tell me that bass will feed in the fastest part of a rip and then drift off for a bit then return. If you watch fish feeding in the shadow line of bridges, you will see the fish just holding in the fast current waiting for dinner. They are not always hiding behind a piling. 

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So, so , so, many variables. 

 

 

But number 1.  Is there bait.

Number 2 is why.  and that's not easy.  But that is the challenge that keeps us interested and the sport fun.

 

Structure is always a reason for why, but what is structure, that depends on scenario.  It's whatever channels bait, and that depends on location plus other elements like wind direction.

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 There could be fish anywhere, but at certain places, currents, and tides....they're there to feed. If a bass is hiding behind structure in a strong current, it's there hoping a crab gets dislodged (or a bait fish gets swept by) and it's in position to swallow it. Otherwise, the bass would go someplace to expend less effort.

 

I know of a few places where I can usually catch fish shortly after a current starts. The places have structures, and if I sweep my lure over them I'll hook up. 50 yards away, I'd be lucky to catch a micro with a worm soaked for an hour.

 

But, like Yudi said, there are many variables.

 

Me, and 1,000 other people know about a spot that holds bass in the spring. It's just a flat shallow beach with soft current and small waves. But there's bait there. In that scenario, the bass could be (and are) anywhere along the beach. If you cast a 100 times, you'll catch a fish, no matter if you're here or 100yards in the other direction

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Like JohnP I've observed bass holding behind structure in inlets where the current rips.  

 

As well as a former mate on a charter boat that fished rocky reefs with very strong currents I know that bass sit out of the current behind rocks and on the down tide side of a high spot.

 

Bass behave like trout in a river if they are in strong current... they sit where they can expend little energy and feed by darting into the current and taking prey being swept along by the current.

 

In strong current, such as an inlet, where the bass are holding and letting food come to them they may prefer a lure that simply stems against the current. They know their prey can't swim up current at a moderate clip, so they don't often strike the plugs swimming over their heads.  Stop reeling, let that same lure stem and swing around in the current for a minute or 2 and they will kill it.

 

When there is no current to act as a conveyor belt of food they roam in search of prey.  In this case structure offers prey shelter and food so bass hunt there.

very well put.

predatory fish will act the same way weather they are fresh or salty water fish.

if you can catch SMB,you can catch SB too.

 

H&H

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Also did not think about about drop offs and Channels that create current underwater.

neither did I.

that situation is why some fish will be deep catching bait that flowing through and not near the upper layers with very much less or even no visible current.

good point and important too.

 

H&H

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Bass are strong swimmers and lazy ambush predators by nature. Thats why you will find them gathered in rips,under bridges,in shadow lines,drop offs,in holes. Where ever bait is present and an ambush opportunity is there. 

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Bass are strong swimmers and lazy ambush predators by nature. Thats why you will find them gathered in rips,under bridges,in shadow lines,drop offs,in holes. Where ever bait is present and an ambush opportunity is there. 

I agree fully.

well said.

 

 

H&H

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One thing to consider here, a shadow line is not 'structure' and it does not affect current or flow. Yet bass will sit/swim in the current and fight the flow to feed. I believe that the shadow line is effective because the bait fish caught in the current cannot see the bass waiting for them and are easy to ambush. The same principle might be applicable in other spots, not that it would be easy to be in a position to verify it. The idea that bass like structure because they can stay out of the current and save energy might be incorrect. I read Billy the Greeks book about fishing bridges for trophy bass and he says that the big ones like the shadow line and will be there in moon tides which are very strong, so they are not afraid to expend energy. He doesn't say anything about big bass laying behind bride supports out of the current. I think that structure gives bass an edge in visibility and it is the ambush aspect that bass like. I spent some time late this fall checking bridge shadow lines for late season bass. I didn't see any bass but I saw seals sitting/swimming in the shadow line looking upstream fighting the current.

Edited by MikeBlue

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One particulate night this past Oct I was able to walk out to the tip of a pretty long pipe. Crystal clear water with a nice bright moon shining. Had a small school of keeper sized bass swimming back and forth within this pocket the outflow had created. There were a few other bigger bass that were holding pretty tight to the pipe and at times slipping inside the opening. They would dart off for a few minutes just to return shortly after. Watched a number of them follow a bunch of different plugs in just to turn away at the last second. That was a cool sight to see even if I wasn't getting bit.

I've noticed alot of short fish normally hold tight to jetties. Cast 15-20 ft out from the rocks w no takers. Cast right along the side bumping boulders on the retrieve and bam! My favorite is catching them when they are sitting in 2ft of water inside the jetty pocket. Not much of a fight at that point but it always suprises me how they lay up like that.

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