Okay, so let’s hope by now I’ve conveyed just how important I feel about having a few carefully located brushpiles and how they can increase bass catches. Bass will relate to brush year ’round- learning where to put a few brushpiles (or a lot of them!) can truly help an angler in his or her endeavors. Now, let’s talk about how to build brushpiles.
“Back in the day” (I seem to be saying this more and more often as I get older) I was a serious tournament bass fisherman, and I also did a fair bit of guiding, so my own personally-placed brushpiles were an essential part of my bass catching strategy. I realized fairly quickly a bass boat is not the best craft to be in when it came to placing brush in a lake. The brush and the instruments of construction I use to assemble the piles are very hard on a bass boats’ finish. And the mess it made- wow. So, I came up with a few tricks making the planting of brush easier and cleaner, plus the devaluation because of damage to my boat quit being an issue. Not to mention (although here I am, saying it) I found some safer techniques for my brushpile dispersal.
I believe the size of a brushpiles ranks a very distant second place to where it’s put. When I finally got this into my head, I figured out some new ways making for very effective brushpiles. The effectiveness, not to mention the ease of placing them, more than made up for the physical size of the attractor. Here’s the design I use the most:
Talk about easy. Five-gallon buckets are available everywhere, and most of the places I fish the rocks are available right there on the shoreline. It’s hard to argue with the price. A small handsaw, or just a quick tour of the shoreline for a dead tree, add a bucket and a few rocks and WA-LA! a brushpile.
I generally fill up my bucket with the rocks after “planting” my tree in the bottom. The “trunk” does not have to be in the middle of the bucket, but I believe it helps the tree stay in place if the rocks are holding it from all sides. I place the rocks all around the brush until I’m satisfied there’s enough. I reckon most of my buckets will weigh between fifty and sixty pounds. Not much is needed to make a good “bucket” pile. I’d say thirty pounds or so will work just fine, and the lighter weight will be more manageable for many folks.
Now comes the added attraction of having a handle on the bucket to hoist it into, or out of, the boat. But be careful here, these handles can pinch the heck out of you, and I always use heavy leather gloves for this kind of work.
Another option–“milk crates” (that’s what us older guys will always call them). They can be bought cheaply and make an excellent brushpile holder; they also come equipped with handles:
And there it is- two very simple yet crazy-effective ways of putting a “tree” at the bottom of your favorite fishing hole.
This can get to be a very addictive hobby. The very first time I tried this, I realized just how quickly I could go through ten buckets. I was literally on the water less than two hours and had ten new brushpiles to fish in! A quick trip to a grocery store in town yielded another twenty or so. After the morning was over, I had more new brushpiles to fish than I could have put out in a week using my old methods. As I recall, I spent the afternoon actually fishing.
Now here are a few tips. Don’t forget to mark the brushpile locations. So many of us have GPS capabilities now and marking a waypoint is as simple as it gets. It is easy to forget exact locations as the years pass–It Happens!
“Clustering” two, three, or four of these buckets close together is an excellent thing to do, especially if different types of trees are used. When the trees finally rot away, there will be two, three or four artificial “stumps” holding their share of bass.
I’m a firm believer in the vertical brushpile, but if horizontal or slanted laydowns are desired, just wire a good-sized rock or a cinder block (easiest) in the upper third of your pile with less rocks in your bucket or box; it will then lay down on the bottom.
A piece of remnant carpet is a good thing to have on hand when it comes time to hoist the homemade Honey Hole over the side of the boat.
“Back in the day” (see how easily I fall into that) several more dedicated souls put together an old 24′ pontoon boat solely to plant brush for our bass. We took all of the fencing off from the console forward, and we had a brush-planting machine. We built huge piles on the forward 14′ of that old boat and invented crazy and sometimes adventurous (read -dangerous) ways to get them overboard. But after the first time I planted one of my “brushbuckets” in the lake, I never set foot on that boat again.
I hope all of this helps in creating some of your own bass fishing “Honey Holes.” Please remember to stay safe and observe local laws concerning these activities. Oh yeah, I don’t mind a bit in hearing some brushpile bass fishing stories from ya’ll.
In closing, I will gladly except all brushpile waypoints; I may feel the need someday to come and check out your work!