Fishing Texas waters is the ultimate challenge of trying to locate southern bass on reservoirs like Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. It's a tricky task for an angler learning to ledge fish. When I first heard of ledge fishing his mind turned to deep water drops into a creek channel or a river. Little did I know that ledges can be nothing much more then a few feet of contour change.
Some anglers refer to relatively shallow pieces of structure as a ledge, but Scott has learned that not only is a ledge a relatively sharp depth break from a piece of shallow structure surrounded by deep water, a ledge can also be the edge of a small point or an expansive flat, and it doesn't necessarily drop from shallow water into much deeper water. The depth break might be simply several feet.
Flowing water has a big impact on the productivity of this type of fishing, and understanding how bass position on these depth breaks can make or break your fishing of this structure. The bottom of the ledge is often hard, swept clean where the current is strongest. These spots often have gravel or shell beds which can make an area more likely to concentrate forage. Ledge fishing is all about this type of concentrations of fish
When you approach this type of situation, you will need a plan, not only to position the
boat but also for what you are going to throw. I have found the most productive forms of ledge fishing to be throwing large worms, Carolina rigs, jigs, and deep-diving crankbait that will deflect off the structure on the retrieve.
Once I've located a school of fish on the contour change, I find that repeated casts to one location can produce an amazing day of fishing. A good mapping system such as Navionics or similar software will allow you to study the Lake's contours prior to your outing. Points and river and creek mouths are good places to start your search. This can be very helpful particularly when trying to locate bass in their summertime pattern, or when they are staging during the pre and post spawning transitions. I remember one trip when my partner and I found a ledge on Sam Rayburn that was holding fish on a contour change not more than 4 feet. But that ledge produced a 21- pound sack of largemouth that allowed us to take second place and an $800 payday.
There's nothing more fun then hitting the same spot repeatedly and catching 4 pounder after four pounder. It is important to always keep in mind that a ledge doesn't have to be a big drop-off. Sometimes the most productive are subtle contours. Using your electronics, especially if you have side imaging, will be your most useful tool for
this type of fishing. Take the time to study lake contours so you know your area, that specific body of water. This preparation can really make for an exciting day of fishing, when you find a pattern and then can repeat it over the whole lake. It can also be the difference in that next tournament.
As I always remind LaNette, the fun of fishing is what you learn on every outing. Time on the water is the best teacher, so be sure to learn what you can each and every opportunity you get. Most importantly, enjoy God's gift of fishing and Live The Passion.
Scott Burns has been tournament fishing since 1998. Most recently he teamed with fellow iBass360.com angler Misty Schmidt to win a Texas Pink Fishing fund raiser. Scott has been involved with such highly recognized organizations as B.A.S.S. and FLW, and he has been involved in supporting High School fishing as well as several Texas-based series such as the Texas Team Trail which he will fish with his fiancee LaNette Luce Childers. In the iBass360 tradition, Scott is always willing to support the many wonderful causes related to fishing. He is pleased to be sponsored by Strike King Lure Company and Sport Threads custom jerseys.