Ultimate Bass

Brush Pile 101

Sunken brush piles may be the best way to find concentrated schools of fish and it is usually a place that one or maybe two people will know about, but how do you make and place a good brush pile? Following these helpful hints will make fishing not only easier but a lot more fun and can make your good spot into the best on the lake.

Professional fishing guides Mike and Cathy Wheatley has an interesting approach for building brush piles. His use of live willow trees in a technique while not new, is a little off the norm. Most folks when building brush piles take stacks of old Christmas trees and bundle them together tie a heavy object to them in several places and let them go deep into the waters below. Mike and Cathy use a little different approach.

"I like to have the top of the tree in about 12 foot of water for the hot summertime and staging periods for both bass and crappie," Mike said. "I like to find areas located near spawning and feeding flats." This gives the bass deep water to hide out in but also will be fairly close to shallow flats where they can feed early and late in the mornings.

How the Wheatleys make a brush pile starts with a single branch and the piles build up and grow with each season. They begin by taking a willow branch varying in length depending on the depth of water. Always look for branches that can provide both vertical and horizontal cover. Sinking a brush pile is simple. Mike keeps the main branch vertical by attaching a 20 ounce plastic soda bottle to the top of the branch and attaching a single cinder block to the bottom of the limb. This small coke bottle keeps just enough air in it to float the top of the tree off the bottom, while not picking up the cinder block used to anchor your brush pile to the bottom. Mike also makes sure to use a stainless steel wire to attach his bottle and cinder blocks. The stainless steel wire will not corrode or break like regular wire or ropes.

How and where to place brush piles is a game of numbers. The more piles place will significantly help fish number production. Having the brush piles in concentrated areas will also keep fishing more efficient as well. By placing several brush piles in a small area you will be able to hit several in one stop, rather than hitting a brush pile here or one there on each stop you make.

GPS use can be a major player in brush pile fishing. Make sure to mark your brush piles on your GPS unit or handheld unit if you have one. If not make reference points some where on the bank so that you can locate your brush pile when you go back to fish it again. Always use more than one or two landmarks if you can this will help you zero in on your brush pile quicker.

Mike also suggested to make sure that you can put brush piles in your water, while most state agencies appreciate and encourage fish habitat building, some states do not allow man made structures in the waters. So please check to make sure it is legal in your state or local waters.

By building your own habitat for fish, you will effectively be able to concentrate your fishing techniques and areas to find and catch more fish. Brush piles when done right will make fishing more fun and can possibly make the best spot on the lake yours and yours alone.

Chris Megee
chris.megee@ultimatebass.com



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