Sweeten your favorite lake - part 2

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

As I noted in Part 1, now is the time to place new cover on structure of your favorite lake.

This week I'll share tips for creating fish holding brush on barren structure.

Many reservoirs are drawn down during the winter, allowing you to walk the barren bottoms and sweeten them. That's when I don a pair of waders so I can stack cover in 2 feet of water where it's less noticeable, knowing that when the lake refills in the spring it will be in 5 to 10 feet of water.

If possible, create a rockpile, or stack some brush and weight it down with rocks.

Once I gather trees — preferably hardwoods — I trim off the smaller branches and use only bigger limbs. While the smaller stuff is effective, it also interferes with my power fishing style. Crankbaits are more likely to deflect and less likely to hang on big, hard objects.

When planting brush by boat in deeper water, I want my cover standing erect, not lying on the bottom. An oak tree lying flat is better than nothing, but if you can get it standing 6 to 8 feet off the bottom, it's even better — especially on soft bottoms.

I'll bind multiple limbs with wire, but do it judiciously. Too much wire gives lures something else to hang on and makes it difficult to get them free.

When planting brush on a hard bottom, rocks are fine, but I've found that cement or cinder blocks are better. You can buy them, but if you know someone who works construction and does teardown jobs, they may invite you to take what you need for free.

Now, you can toss blocks over the side of the boat, but they tend to land haphazardly and are difficult to place where you want them. I solve that problem by pounding a long piece of PVC pipe into the bottom and slide the holes of the blocks over the pipe so they are stacked. Once I get 6 to 10 blocks on there, I pull out the pipe and the blocks will topple onto each other, making a nice man-made rockpile. Bass love rockpiles, especially when stacked on the side of a barren point!

Another advantage of the blocks is the crawfish and other aquatic critters love the holes in them, so you're attracting forage as well. That's makes them better than rocks.

Wood pallets work, too. You can stuff rocks and bricks in between the holes and sink them or even nail them together into a triangle shape. They are harder to sink, but if you fill them with enough rocks, they will go down.

You'll likely have to haul your man-made structures onto the lake by boat, and that can create problems. I lay a carpet remnant across the deck before I load up, allowing the carpet to drape over the gunnels. This protects the boat from dirt and damage as I create a honey hole that'll give me good bass fishing next year.

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