Its summer time and that means hot, humid temperatures in the south and very high water temps. Bass tend to stick closer to shady cooler areas this time of year, and for me thats timber. One of the very best ways to fish timber is with a crank bait, however; there are a few things to keep in mind if youre throwing a multiple treble hooked bait into the stick ups in your favorite body of water.
Reading timber is a must know thing, by looking at the timber you should be able to estimate the water depth, surrounding topographic features and other aspects of the area you are fishing.
Imagine the area you are fishing as if it was drained completely of water and it is the top of a mountain or the heart of the bottoms. Now pretend all the timber around you is still alive and green, this is what is under water. Dont think of it as a bunch of sticks standing in the water, think of it as a series of hills and valleys, with creeks running through it and long areas of flats and plains.
Tall standing green timber is what is found in new impoundments and can be some of the best fishing ever, however; on most of the impoundments in the South this isnt found very often any more, most of the timber in our lakes and rivers (at least around the Central Louisiana area) is standing dead timber. Tall, heavy round timber is going to be typically the deeper water, if you notice an area with smaller shorter growth, this is usually shallower water. Think back to the hills and valleys, this shorter timber is what is on top of the hill, it didnt have to grow as tall to reach the suns rays. Therefore the timber is shorter and smaller.
Look for obvious channels in the standing timber, these will usually be two or three things. First is a creek channel, fish will stage in the deeper cooler waters of the creek channels and feed up onto the flats and shallower water early and move deeper and travel the channel lines as the daytime sunlight heats up the water.
Second is the timber lines and flats themselves. Again if you image the water gone you will be able to follow the hills and valleys to find the deeper water and humps that makes all of us go giddy for big fish.
Now for me Crank baits in timber means big fish and a lot of them, but knowing how to read the timber is the key to serious fish catches instead of limbs. Typically wood and hooks, dont add up to anything but trouble. When you put them into the hands of someone whom knows and loves fishing wood, crank baits will be a big time money maker. The main thing to remember 99 percent of the time you hang up in timber the bill of the crank bait is what is hung. Keeping pressure and snapping the line in an arch is one easy way of releasing this pressure. Also you can slowly drop the tip of the pole and allow the crank bait to float up and away from the timber and the hang up.
Another thing that you will always want to have while cranking the timber lines is a plug knocker. A Knocker can be as simple as a spark plug that you have tied to a line or as complicated as some elaborate contraption bought from the Bass Pro Shop. I personally us a 2 ounce catfishing weight tied to a nylon cord that I got from Academy made for trot lines. Keeping a cheap plug knocker will save you money in the long run and pay for itself the day you use it the first time.
Reading timber for cranking is a good way to find a lot of big fish hide outs and put that all important kicker in the livewell. Good Luck.