Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday Tips: Made in the Shade

Today's pattern was as simple as it gets. The fish were in shallow shade. Bass and bluegills alike were lurking in the shadows, and the farther up into the shade Nathaniel and I cast or pitched, the better are chances became of getting bit. Cover type or even the proximity of cover didn't seem to be much of a factor. Good stumps and grass on sunny banks held no fish. Barren shores with trees overhead held fish.

As spring progresses and eventually gives way to summer, shade will become more and more of a factor, with the fish using it just like they use hard cover and structure. Whether lurking in the shade is cooler or more comfortable for bass or whether it simply provides the best ambush point is a matter of debate among anglers. More important than knowing why, I think, is to acknowledge that the fish will use the shade and to be intentional about putting baits in shady places and working shady edges.

Remember that all shade is not created equal. When you do focus on shade, think about whether an object provides very temporary shade or hours of shade. (The latter is usually better.) Also know that the pattern normally is a little more complex than what existed on the pond day. Think about shade as a factor, but also think about bottom depth, structural features, cover and other factors within shaded areas to figure out which ones will hold the most fish.

Just don't forget about shade. It isn't as obvious as hard cover, but sometimes it is a very important factor.

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