My tournament partner was incredulous – we were bass fishing a row of productive docks when I turned around and fired a cast off into what was seemingly nowhere. A minute later he was netting a three-pound bass for me, and before he got his bait back into the water I was needing his assistance again with a twin bass to the first. All do to another bass fishing “Secret”- build a honey hole – Brushpiles.
By then he was doing a little muttering to himself when my third cast with the jig and plastic crawdad never even hit bottom. A six-pound “fatty” inhaled it just above the cedar brushpile, I had planted there the year before. It was a very productive five minutes, and one I repeated several times through the day. Before the tournament was done, my comrade was convinced having a few well-placed “honey holes” wasn’t a bad idea!
Many game fish, with the bass at the top of the list, love brush. They use it to rest in, and more importantly, they feel safe in brush. It also gives the bass a vantage point to ambush prey, and sometimes the prey itself uses the same brush for a safe haven.
So, what makes a good brushpile for bass fishing?
Man, I could write a book. Instead, I’ll try to be concise and to the point (this will be hard for me to do, believe me). The very first thing about a good, or a great brushpile, is location. It’s the same as with everything bass fishing – “you can’t catch’em where they ain’t”. Luckily, a good brushpile can, to a degree, help bring some of the bass to us and put them in a catch-able place and frame of mind. We hope.
Besides the obvious locations like points, drop-offs, etc. good brushpiles need to be in places leading to someplace else. My point is, put brushpiles down in a way bass will use them in their daily or seasonal meanderings. These well-placed brushpiles increase the productivity of a location day in and day out, and even through several seasons.
I try to put several brushpiles in an area, and in fairly close proximity to each other, basically a lane of brush. I’ll go from just inside a good point (main lake or secondary) then I’ll put several more in a straight line and in progressively deeper water until I get to the creek channel, or to the deepest water the bass in this particular fishery will use.
Get it? We’re building a bass highway. One trick, I always advise putting brushpiles in a productive area, a place already proven. Use the brushpile to concentrate bass, put them in a specific location in the area.
Another good trick (secret) is to go to a creek or a cove with all the basics a bass needs, with some depth in the middle being a big help, particularly if the deepest water (creek channel) is pretty much centered in the middle. So, we’re actually looking for a “flatter” cove or creek, with no close to-the-bank channel. Basically, an UGLY cove or creek.
A side note here, a lot of these places are really neither a cove or a creek. Around these parts we call ’em “Hollers”.
Find a place with two secondary points directly opposing each other, then build a line of brush all the way from one point to another. For me, this will usually work best mid-way back in a larger cove, or in a creek itself, in a locale letting me utilize the deepest water in the middle. If it’s a hundred feet deep, a brushpile may not be helpful. Maybe. Six to eight brushpiles will cover most of the scenarios like this. If it needs more to get it covered then I would do it. This is just too good of a trick to pass on. And I’ve made this work in prime coves with just four well-placed brushpiles similar to the one at the start of this article..
And there’s so much more! In addition to location, which we’ll have some additional discussion on because of its importance in future ramblings, I’ll talk about what the best brush to use can be, and methods on getting it to the bottom of the lake or pond.
Brushpiles are a fascinating addition to the world of bass fishing. They can make bad days good, and sometimes they can help a good become incredible. Stay tuned.
by D.W. Verts