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Tips For Reading Shade To Catch More Bass

Tips For Reading Shade To Catch More Bass

Shade is one of the most underrated aspects in bass fishing. Although they are often one of the top predators in their environments, bass are also extremely wary of predators, so shade works like a comforting blanket – obscuring them from the view of herons, ospreys, and other natural bass-eaters.For this reason, reading shade should always be considered when fishing any shallow water technique. In general, when it's sunny, bass will almost always relate to the shade created by any structure. If you’re dock fishing, the bass will most commonly be underneath the shady portions of the dock, and the same goes for laydowns, bridges, and even grass beds. That’s why techniques like punching have become so popular – bass get under the mats for the shade.Here are 3 ways to use shade to your benefit when fishing for bass.

1. Morning Shade vs. Evening Shade

Shade impacts which parts of the lake will have the best bite, and it’s something that changes throughout the course of the day. The sun rises in the east, so the eastern banks of a lake or reservoir will hold shade the longest in the mornings, and as such they’re a good bet to target early. Conversely, the afternoon sun sets into the west, so switching to western banks in the afternoon and evening will increase anglers odds when all else is the same. This is particularly impactful when trying to prolong a topwater bite.

2. Shade Lines

You’ll often hear top tournament pros talk about shade lines, and bass can and do use them almost like structure at times. Bass will use the shade line from a dock, bridge, or overhanging tree just like a grass line or seawall, and hang out right on the edge – waiting for prey fish to wander by. Try working a topwater, spinnerbait, or jerkbait right along any shade line you find while fishing.

3. Vegetative Shade

In lakes or reservoirs that have lots of grass, the bass will often relate closest to the grassy areas that offer the most overhead shade – i.e. the thickest and most matted stretches. When fishing in a grass bed, focus on the matted portions that have the most shade. Frogs and punching rigs are ideal for drawing strikes from these shade-seeking bass.

Updated February 8th, 2019 at 10:12 AM CT