We're on our way to Kentucky Lake. There's no doubt this tournament will be won offshore, out on the ledges. With that in mind, there's one question I get all the time — how do you guys find those little spots on mile-long ledges that hold the fish? The answer is we use a combination of two methods.
1. Careful use of electronics
Move along the break at a fairly fast clip — a high RPM idle with the current. All you're really looking for is a small, hard-bottom spot. It doesn't matter if its rock, sand or shells, just so long as it's hard.
You find them with traditional electronics by turning the gain — sensitivity — way up. You're not looking for fish. You're looking for an area where the bottom turns from a wide line (soft) into a thin line (hard). In most cases that'll be accompanied by a slight rise in the bottom, usually between 12 and 24 inches.
With some of the newer equipment, you might want to go with a split screen. Put one side on traditional and the other on side-scan/imaging or down-scan/imaging. You'll get a better view with the side- and down-scan stuff, but that's really not critical. Once you find a hard spot, toss a marker buoy over the side or mark a waypoint and you'll be good to go.
2. Careful use of lures
Cast carefully along the break with a deep diving LaserLure, a Berkley 3/4-ounce Gripper Jig or a Carolina rig with a 3/4- or 1-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight. I follow the drop (ledge) with my electronics and then quarter-cast my bait toward the flat. I bring my lure back from the shallow side, over the ledge and let it drop off into deep water. I'm looking for that telltale scrape or crunch that tells me I've found a hard spot.
Once I find one I mark it and I never forget where it's at. I'm fishing spots I found back in 2002 or 2003. They still give up keepers every time I visit Kentucky Lake.
Finally, let me dispel some of the stories and rumors surrounding these hard-bottom, fish-holding places. We don't have any secrets when it comes to finding them, and no one tells us where they're at. We find them just like I've told you. We use our electronics and our lures. True, we know stuff from prior years, but you can do that, too.
This is not an expensive way to fish, either. You don't need to purchase the latest, high-dollar, super sophisticated equipment, or fancy lures, to find these spots. Almost any depthfinder made in the last 10 or 15 years will find a hard spot and show it to you with a thin line at the bottom of the screen, and everybody has a few of the baits I've recommended.