In the hot dog days of summer deep water ledge fishing can be one of the most productive ways to fish. Here’s how I approach ledge fishing. First, let me say, I’m not crazy about ledge fishing in tournaments because you often have to bunch up to get to the best places, but if it’s a tournament where I can have a place pretty much to myself, I’ll give it a go. Otherwise, I look for something else where I can avoid the crowd. But if I’m not in a tournament and filming or fishing for fun, I love ledge fishing. The first thing I do is make sure I have quite a few rods rigged up (six or seven) – football jigs, a few deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rig, and a flutter spoon (something I can jerk up off the bottom and it will flutter down slowly). I generally will rig it with Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon, which is a dense line that cuts through the water well, and gets the bait down into the strike zone. Then I need to know how deep to get, which, in Texas is generally about 15-25 feet. Then I use my electronics to look for structure and schools. The Garmin Panoptix is an amazing tool for this type of fishing in that you can actually SEE schools of fish when you get close to them. So rig up a lot of rods on fluorocarbon line, determine the depth, use your electronics to find schools if possible, and get out there and have fun catching.
Where to Start When its Cold?
When the weather starts getting colder and water temperatures drop, the first thing I do when I put my boat in the water is look at my Garmin 7612 to find where the bait is and what the topography looks like. A lot of times in this cold weather, fish will come out of the creeks onto the main body of water and suspend, so you will want to concentrate on fishing stuff that is vertical, fishing baits that work vertically, like a jig and spoon, something that will work up and down, or fishing a jig very slowly. Or if your depth finder tells you the bait is suspended, often the bass will be suspended, and you can catch them on a jerkbait or maybe a tight wobbling crankbait or a swim bait that doesn’t have a lot of action. It will be a little trial and error, but understanding what bait and bass do when the water is cold is key.
Cranking in the Winter
Throwing a crankbait in the winter months can catch a lot of big fish. The key is you want a crankbait that does not have a lot of wobble to it, something that runs really tight. I like to throw a Strike King Lucky Shad this time of year. It can go anywhere from four to ten feet, depending on the line set up you have and it has a nice steady retrieve. This isn’t a bait you crank real wildly, just make a nice steady retrieve. When fishing like this, you’re looking for stretches where fish can suspend, sometimes bluffs, sometimes rocky. And I like to use a light crankbait rod because these baits can sometimes be pretty heavy to throw. Enjoy these cold fishing days and catch a lot of bass. The dog days of summer will be here before we know it!