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Discussion Starter #1
When you fish a lay down tree how do you fish it? Do you fish the inside first or do you start at the outter extremeties and work your way in?

For me it depends upon the conditions.

If it is the dead of summer and the weather is pretty stable I will fish the inside first, assuming that the biggest fish is going to own the best cover in that tree, being as bass, especially big ones, are territorial. Many people may say that doing this will scare away the fish on the outter branches. I wont disagree with that. It could scare away those fish but there is also a chance that it wont. However, I think getting the kicker from the middle is well worth taking that chance. I think hitting the outter branches and taking the risk of scaring the kicker out of the middle is a greater risk and one Id rather not take. Not to mention the fact that if the tree is a good tree and is in a prime location, fish will move back up into it pretty quickly.

Now if conditions are bad, and a cold front has hit or water is dropping, I will hit the outside first. At this point my assumption is that the fish that were held up in the center have pulled back to the outter edges seeking the security of deeper water.


How about yall? Any lay down tips or advice?

Tattered Thumbs n Bigguns, Jared
 

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I fish the tips first, wherever the laydown is deepest. Sometimes it isn't necessary to explore the inner parts of the laydown. If the water is clear and i can see the branches, few if any bass will hold there anyway. I ignore laydowns that don't have nearby deeper water than at the laydown. My theory is if I begin on the backside and do catch a bass, dragging the thing out will spook bass I haven't had a chance to tempt. I'll cast to the farthest tip from the tree's butt, then bring the lure out into deeper water first, maybe 5 times if I suspect bass are off the tip. Whether using a jig, spinnerbait or floating crankbait in there, I work back to the inner water if bass are present, following each branch out to their tip. I want to bang as much wood as possible, though gently with crankbaits. Take your time working them out of the branches, pausing each time they hit something. I use a heavy flipping rod with heavy line for that so I can keep bass from curling under branches. Get it's head pointed up and get it on the surface, then skip it to you. They are expert at snagging a lure on a branch, then ripping themselves free.

Jim
 

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I also go outside to inside, deep toward shallow. I used to work laydowns from the inside out but found that I caught more fish from the same laydown if I went outside/inside. Jim is right, you don't spook the bass out of the laydown as easily and since I have a tendency to wrap lures around limbs a lot, at least I get a chance to fish the outside, deeper side before I have to destroy my laydown going after my bait! :D Maybe I need to practice my presentations and accuracy, huh. :banghead:

Gary
 

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If the lay down is fairly new, attached to the bank and doesn't have weed cover, the deepest outside branches are best to fished first. If the lay down is older and doesn't have many branches, then fish it shallow to deep, parallel to the main trunk on the shaded side. If the lay down has a weed bed, fish the edges of weed bed first, then the deep water and finally the shallow to deep lay down. It would be rare to find a big bass in a lay down surrounded by a shallow flat, unless feeding on bluegill or crappie that the lay down attracted. I agree with Jim and more than likely would pass up that type of cover.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #6
oldschool said:
It would be rare to find a big bass in a lay down surrounded by a shallow flat, unless feeding on bluegill or crappie that the lay down attracted. I agree with Jim and more than likely would pass up that type of cover.
Tom
I know you guys know more than most of us combined, but I believe the above statement would depend on the body of water. On a lake like Santee's upper lake, Lake Marion, where shallows flats can be 100's, even 1000's, of acres of water 5 foot or less, a lay down can become prime real estate, even in only a couple feet of water. Perhaps this is a major exception to the rule, but none the less, it is an exception ;)
 

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LakeCityYankee said:
oldschool said:
It would be rare to find a big bass in a lay down surrounded by a shallow flat, unless feeding on bluegill or crappie that the lay down attracted. I agree with Jim and more than likely would pass up that type of cover.
Tom
I know you guys know more than most of us combined, but I believe the above statement would depend on the body of water. On a lake like Santee's upper lake, Lake Marion, where shallows flats can be 100's, even 1000's, of acres of water 5 foot or less, a lay down can become prime real estate, even in only a couple feet of water. Perhaps this is a major exception to the rule, but none the less, it is an exception ;)
Thats the problem with deep water, it is relative to the type of lake or river. If the flat is 2 feet deep and 5 feet of water is nearby, that is deep water. Sometimes a 12" drop is all it takes to give a big bass enough security to move across a large flat. In the highland and hill land reservoirs you may need about 2X that depth to call it deep water.
Tom
 

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As our shallow flats get more choked up with weeds I'm finding few large bass are willing to risk being trapped around heavy cover. In fact, we're getting a very lopsided polulation of panfish that aren't pestered like they use to be, living in the thick slop. A laydown drifted into a weedline on a large flat would be a prime zone as long as there's an escape route to deeper water. If a bass has to swim 100' to deeper water (deep enough to get out of sight) to escape seeing you, he's in a bad bass zone. They don't grow large making mistakes like that. Somewhere around those flats ought to be a ditch cut through, a hole made from a tree falling over, or a sink hole that can hold a school of lunkers. But if it's difficult to get to deep water sanctuary, finding them there has to be rare.

On those huge flats I spend time just crossing back & forth looking for the slightly deeper ditch(s) and ignore everything in between. Lots of those are so insignificant they don't show up on any map, but to a bass it's everything.

Jim
 

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Agreed! Lay downs are such obvious cover when near the bank they get pounded by everyone within a cast length from shore. Unless the lake is in a remote location, the chances of finding big bass there is very low. Finding a tree or lay down on outside break lines is a treasure that the vast majority of bass fishing pass up. Out of sight out of mind.
Tom
 

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I usually dont bother fishing anything on a laydown except the deepest point and the places where branches stick out. Oh, and if two of them cross each other. That is a prime spot. I rarely fish a slick log, regardless of location.
 

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Now if conditions are bad, and a cold front has hit or water is dropping, I will hit the outside first. At this point my assumption is that the fish that were held up in the center have pulled back to the outter edges seeking the security of deeper water.
I always thought that bass go deeper and hold closer to cover when conditions get bad. I like to fish the outsides with some kind of movng bait and then come back through the same stretch with a jig and start on the tips and work my way in. Don't forget to jig out a few yards becuase often times there will be branches or a laydown out farther from the rest of tree that you can't see. A lot of people may pass this up, but it can be a huge honeyhole. I've found spots with about 4-5 laydowns and I just keep going back and forth between them catching fish most of the day or at least a limit. Casting different lures and at different angles all the time. Throw something they haven't seen after the 2nd time or so.
 

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I fish the laydowns heavely on creek channels. The best ones are old and grey, like me. 8) I do not fish laydowns with green leaves or laydowns that have bark that is not weathered(old, like me). I have do like laydowns on any points I can find but most of the ones here are on the creek channels or cove banks. If I spot a new laydown, I will pass it up BUT, I mark where it is. I will re-visit it in a month or so. It can be amazing how high water can move them, they sink further into the channel or cove, or drop deep. My map of Dardanelle is covered with X's where laydowns were and arrows where they moved and sank during higher water. As the root systems give way, they change from being laydowns to being sunken brush. If it happens to be on a creek channel in about 10 feet of water or so then I will have a great time! 8)
 

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We need to separate all this out by seasons. The only time I fish obvious laydowns in really shallow water is during the spawn. Bass love bedding around them if there's some sunlight hitting through the day (warming eggs). After the spawn I look for lone laydowns along a main lakeshore along a main travel route most anglers use to get from cove to cove. My first choice is one laydown along a shoreline that doesn't look fishy, but is close to deep water. Rocky clay or rock rubble shorelines with the lone tree don't attract many boats. In fact, some of my best post spawn/early summer spots are places I never see anyone fishing in. Where there are many laydowns along a main tributary I believe I'm correct to assume have been fished thousands of times a year, and about all I catch are the really dumb young bass.

I'll leave off seasons there since the heat of summer season is too far off.

I finally started crankbaiting laydowns last year, giving bass something I don't think they see. It looks crazy pitching one in branches like that, but it's worth the occasional loss. For now I won't recommend which since no matter what I recommend about that gets someone saying they lost it on first cast. :p There are several that come through the mess quite well if fished carefully, stopping it when it slaps wood. I use all balsa crankbaits for that. They have the hooks placed to ride protected. They float best and back out of trouble the best. The main thing is I'm fishing something I don't see or hear of others using. Most use worms, tubes and jigs.

Jim
 

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There is a article in this months BASS Times that separates the lay downs into seasonal patterns. I'm not home, just received the newspaper this weekend and don't recall who wrote article. It did catch my eye because of this subject being covered by TBH. The article did point out that isolated lay downs were the best and I agree with that. Bed fish love to have protected areas that a lay down offers. Lay downs are rare in southern CA lakes, a few oaks topple over on occasion, it's usually only a large branch that makes up most of our lay down cover. When I fish in Canada, the lakes have miles of lay downs from high winds and the only lay downs that produced well up there were isolated on deeper banks. I caught a 37 lb musky on a black 1/4 oz hair jig fishing for smallies from a deep lay down on Lake of the Woods.
Tom
 

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I miss the TIMES, but will stick to me guns. I dropped everything BASS related when I left the Insider board, got a refund, but still have membership there, and get the magazine...so far. They are giving me a year's subscription to Insider, but not to BT. That was actually the best they had, but I think a little protest is better sometimes.

Well, fill us in, Tom. I'm sure they said something we didn't know? Did they cover all the seasons or just mention them?

Jim
 

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Ouachita said:
I miss the TIMES, but will stick to me guns. I dropped everything BASS related when I left the Insider board, got a refund, but still have membership there, and get the magazine...so far. They are giving me a year's subscription to Insider, but not to BT. That was actually the best they had, but I think a little protest is better sometimes.

Well, fill us in, Tom. I'm sure they said something we didn't know? Did they cover all the seasons or just mention them?

Jim
Since I'm a lifer with BASS, they can't get rid of me and Ive been peeved at them since they DQ'd me for nearly 38 years! It's not too detailed, quotes from a pro on the topic and will get back to you.
Tom
 

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I won't say exactly where it is, but one of my super hotspots is a laydown on an island next to 30' of channel, a cedar maybe 80' long that got knocked down about 5 years ago. It's about half rotten now. During low pool I add green cedars sunk below the branches, and while at it collect lures off the branches. From that I know others know about the tree, all by itself. A beaver hut is on the trunk, so that keeps some folks away. Another tree had drifted into it, so its hard to fish the original laydown. That brush pile has always given up bass, even in summer. I think it's way worth the trouble to keep a laydown alive with new wood. Hydrilla has taken over the shoreline half, making it even better. The outer tips are clear of vegetation and always will be unless low pool stays all summer to allow hydrilla to move out farther. After retiring I plan to work up a few more similar spots.

The Corps goes out occasionally to paint some shoreline trees that are earmarked for cutting to preserve shoreline features and create fish cover. Most of those trees are removed to prevent them from falling over and taking huge chunks of shoreline with them. Last year about 150 were dropped in the Lake Ouachita Little Fir stretch of river. All it takes is a letter of volunteerism to help with cutting. I also supply GPS coordinates of candidate trees and hope they get painted. When I cut them I leave a hinge on the stump to keep the tree from sliding out into the lake. If I can I'll cut off branches that poke up when the tree is in the water, leaving major forks. Adding a green cedar or holly bush to be pinned under it helps draw bass and forage fish.

Jim
 

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Tom, I'm happy I didn't take the lifer route. You probably recall the battle I had on the old board after pointing out the problems with C&R as a general principal. I wrote maybe 50 long posts in that debate on that and outraged practically everyone there. To this day few there will engage in a discussion with me without insults. After it died down I would post, get the silent treatment, and try again. So I'm a little gun-shy about some topics, though have lots to say about them based on a natural resources degree, 20 years of wildlife habitat management, including fisheries, at work, plus continued education on fisheries through extended courses and personal reading. I finally gave up when the post purging came. I regret not making copies as I spent weeks of hours researching to be sure I was using supportable facts. I just don't share enough of the philosophy of BASS and probably 99% of the board members there. I've been very hesitant to discuss it here, even though I think this is a bigger problem than algae blooms, pollution, or exotic species in some fisheries. I'd put 100% no-bass-harvest about equal to sustained drought pool where bass are concentrated in isolated pools and starving. If someone reading this doesn't like debate and controvery, don't ask why i believe that ;D

That brings me to this. Most anglers think it's OK to fish laydowns, but many resent adding, improving them, or adding any fish attractors like brush piles at all. Part of that is they realize bass are more easily found and caught there, increasing harvest. Another, which I can agree might be valid thinking, is anyone that's been doing that with future tournaments in mind has a significant advantage. Can we open up such discussions without offending a majority? Maybe a poll to decide hot issues?

Jim
 

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I have a ton of my very own secret piles that only I fish. yeah right! What pisses me off is spending the time and money and effort to build up a pile to have some one catch you fishing it and then claim it as their own and fish it all the time. This is the name of the game on my lake 1/2 put them out the other 1/2 find them and fish them. We have some neat tricks to keep them hid as long as possible.
 
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