Have you ever been working a point, creek channel ledge, or pocket and thought if there was only a brush pile here, these fish would stack up on it? Some of us hit the water looking for brush piles that others have planted. Well save yourself some time and plant your own. I, along with you, have read so many articles about finding that sweet spot on a piece of structure. You know, the brush pile on the tip of a point or that stump in the bend of a creek channel. Well instead of spending hours with electronics searching for that sweet spot why not make your own? With todays electronics and GPS units it is very easy to plant your own cover and then easily find it, after all if you put it there right?
I have a few ways of creating your own cover that I thought I would share with you.
Of course we have all heard about, maybe even done it ourselves, but planting used Christmas trees is a very effective and inexpensive way to build a brush pile. But there are some things you need to do before you drag that tree out into the lake and drop it off. First is make sure all the tinsel (if it was used) is removed, I personally cant think of anything more unnatural than a bunch of shinny strips of metal waving around with the currents. I also like to let it sit in the back yard for 3-4 weeks to let it dry out so all the needles fall off before I drag it into my boat, this can create quite a mess. By letting the tree dry out you also reduce the amount of acidic fluids in the tree that will be released into the water. These fluids will raise the pH of the water, causing fish to shy away from the area until it balances out again, this is really only a concern with pine trees. Ok, it is dried out and all the tinsel is removed, now you want to drill a hole threw the trunk of the tree so that you can thread cheap cable or rope threw the hole and attach it to some sort of sinking device. Use your imagination here and cheap is the key. I have used bricks, cinder blocks, or even 1-gallon milk jugs filled with sand; the ideas are endless. The main concern here is what type of current you will be dealing with and how much weight it will take to hold it in place. I have played with the position of the tree somewhat and find that a bait comes threw it the easiest with it pointing straight up or laying on its side pointing at you. So take this into consideration when you actually plant the tree and when you are positioning your boat to fish the tree. I once planted a Christmas tree upside down thinking that with the base up high it would cast more of a shadow and allow for more fish to get under it, but this created a nightmare when trying to get a bait to come threw the limbs. The bait always worked its way to where the limb meets the trunk and would hang at the connection point. To help position your tree in the way you want you can add weight to both ends of the tree or if you want it to stand straight up take a 2 liter soda bottle and tie it to the top of the tree that way when you sink it the bottle will float the top of the tree and cause it to stand up. Dont forget to ask your neighbors what plans they have for their trees, you might be able to get more than you can stand and never leave your street.
Drag brush from the shore
Another very effective way to create your own brush pile is to simply drag dead limbs and brush from the shore and sink them with some sort of weight. Use caution here and make sure it isnt illegal. Landowners sometimes can be very strange, you would think that by dragging dead limbs and brush off their property you would be doing them a favor but they dont always look at it that way. So, first if it is legal and second if you have permission to get on someones land (assuming that it isnt state owned), search the bank lines that are close to your desired planting spot. Look for hardwood debris that has dried out already but is not rotting. Hardwoods are much better choices, if they are avaliable, they will last longer and do not have the acid problems that most softer or pine type trees do. But, hardwoods tend not to have as many limbs so it takes more of them to create a good size brush pile. What I like to do is find a couple good size limbs that have fallen and tie them together and then mix in some bushy type limbs to give the brush pile bulk. Keep in mind that a single log can be enough to concentrate several fish in a single spot along a drop off or point; you dont necessarily have to create an elaborate brush pile to have a great fish holding spot. If after some time it doesnt pan out for you, you can always go back and add more to it, because you marked it on your GPS or triangulated its location with permanent structures on the bank.
The 2-Liter Tree
This is one of my favorite things to plant. One because it will last, and two because it can be made almost weedless. First you need to collect several empty 2-liter soda bottles, an old bucket (a 1 gallon milk jug can work if you dont have much current in your waters), a broom handle, some nails and a bag of Quick-Crete from Home Depot. First strip the soda bottles of all the wrapping. Now take the empty soda bottles and cut it starting just under the threaded portion for the cap and working down to the side to the bottom, cut across the bottom and back up the other side to the threaded portion again. Now you should be able to lay both halves flat on a table and they will still be connected in the middle by the threaded portion. Do this to 5 bottles. Now mix up some of the Quick-Crete and pour it into that old bucket you found with the broom handle placed in the middle. After it dries you will be ready to install the leaves of your tree. First thing you want to do is figure out where you are going to want to have the leaves sit. Next put a small nail in the broom handle where you have decided you want your first set of leaves, now slide your leaves onto the broom handle and let them rest on the nail. Then determine where you want the next set to be and repeat the process until you have all the leaves installed. After the last set of leaves is on the broom handle put a final nail close to the top of the broom handle to prevent the last set from sliding off. By setting it up in this manner the leaves should be able to spin freely, that way when your bait hits one it will rotate and allow your bait to come threw with out hanging up. Last thing, take some sand paper and ruff up the top side of the leaves, this will promote faster growth of algae which in turn will start a food chain around your new trees. Be careful not to put any holes in the leaves of your new tree, the air that will get trapped in the underside of the leave and will cause it to lift and spread out giving you more cover and prevent your tree from falling over when you sink it. Now sink it on your favorite point and watch the fish gather around it. I have found it best to sink at least three in the same spot.
Now that you have some ideas on how to create brush piles and cover for your secret Sweet Spot, get out and build that dream hole and position those fish right where you want them.
Get the Net its a Hawg
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