In recent years, “ledge” fishing has become a buzzword in bass fishing circles. In the broadest sense, ledge fishing is really just a way to describe offshore bass fishing on impoundments that have a river channel, and thus the “ledges” they refer to are actually just the banks of the old river channel.
Like any non-flooded river system, the channels in these impoundments feature current, an abundance of turns, outside bends, shallow and steep depth changes, and bottom substrate changes. All of these features concentrate offshore bass, which gang up on ledges to take advantage of the cooler waters, increased oxygen, and abundant baitfish populations.
Here’s a quick guide to help you get better at finding and catching offshore bass on ledges:
Find The Ledges
The first and most important part to success while ledge fishing for offshore bass begins before you even get on the water. Pick up a good contour map of the lake, and spend some time identifying a series of offshore spots you plan to target. To prevent getting overwhelmed, focus initially on obvious ledge locations, like outside bends, points where creek channels meet the main river channel, and high spots along the ledge. These are your best bets at hooking up with offshore bass.
Evaluate The Quality
Once on the water, it’s still not time to fish. Spend a few minutes idling each of the choice areas you identified on the map, in order to look for fish and learn how each spot sets up. Many times, a few minutes spent idling will pay off greatly by cluing you into the specific depth or type of cover the offshore bass are relating to. If you notice all the fish you’re marking are hanging right on the lip, or only around brush, you’ll be able to probe those areas more efficiently.
Time To Fish For Offshore Bass
Once you’ve got the lay of the land, get up on the front deck and start fishing. Begin with moving baits like crankbaits or swimbaits, as you can often trigger the best fish first. If you’re not getting bit, slow down and make a few casts through the area with a bottom presentation like a Carolina rig or jig. Ledge fishing is a waiting game though, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t catch a fish right away. If you’ve been fishing for a half hour or more, pick up and head to another spot. A big key is to fish enough spots in a day that you’ll run into one that’s active, and load the boat. Ledge fishing is often a feast or famine proposition, with long lulls interrupted by short feeding windows that can be legendary.