Brush piles are classic fish holding structures. They provide cover for baitfish and gamefish alike, and are becoming increasingly important as our lakes and reservoirs age, reducing the natural made cover.
For those reasons, knowing how to locate and fish manmade brush piles is a skill that every angler should possess.
Here’s how to do it:
Finding Brush Piles
Finding brush piles requires first knowing where to look, and then what to look for. The where depends somewhat on the lake, but in general, good spots to look for brush piles include points, channel edges, and in front of docks. Idle these areas and pay attention to what your electronics show you. Often they’ll look like a big smear on 2d sonar, but they’re much easier to see with down or side imaging.
Once you find one, drop a waypoint or marker buoy on it, and pay attention to the depth it is in. Often, lake managers place brush piles at similar depths, so if you find one at a certain depth, there are likely to be more.
Fishing Brush Piles
Once you’ve located a brush pile, the first casts should be made with a moving bait. Doing so draws strikes from bass that are actively feeding on or near the brush. Ideal moving baits for brush are crankbaits like the 6th Sense Lures Crush 50X, and swimbaits like the Z-man Pop ShadZ on a jighead. The goal should actually be to run the bait into the brush, and let it deflect off the limbs. To minimize lost baits, a good plug knocker will pay for itself quickly.
If you don’t draw any strikes with a moving bait, make a few more casts with something slower moving, like a big Texas rigged worm or jig. Make a long cast past the brush, let it sink to the bottom, and work it slowly over each limb and branch. Drop shots and shakey heads are also dynamite brush pile baits. In deep water, don’t be afraid to get right over a brush pile and fish it vertically, you’ll get hung up less.
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