One of the best aspects of stump fishing is that it often involves casting to visible targets, which simplifies the task at hand. But Ish Monroe usually avoids such conveniences.
"My best tip for fishing stumps is just backing out and trying to find the stumps you can't see," advises the Bassmaster Elite Series winner from California. "Everybody fishes the stumps that are visible. The ones you can't see are going to hold more fish that will likely bite a lot better."
Monroe searches out invisible stumps using a crankbait. He then switches to a Texas or Carolina rigged soft plastic. A drop shot rig is another option.
"At a tournament on Lake Murray, S.C., I caught fish with a drop shot on stumps that were in 25 to 30 feet of water," Monroe continues, "I actually found a lot of those on my Lowrance graph. It was something nobody else was fishing."
Elite Series competitor Kevin Wirth identifies an often overlooked element of stump fishing. Current plays an important role in positioning bass on these wooden remnants.
If an angler can identify some current, either from power generation or the wind, the location of stump bass will be pretty easy to figure out. The Kentucky pro recommends positioning the boat downcurrent and casting past the stump so that the lure is retrieved with the flow. A bass relating to the cover will most likely be positioned on the downcurrent side facing into the current.
One of bass fishing legend Larry Nixon's favorite stump scenarios involves isolated cutoff trunks surrounded by aquatic vegetation.
"Anytime you've got two critical pieces of cover like stumps and grass together, it can make a big difference," the long-time angler says. "That can be a bonanza situation.
"But if you've got a lot of grass around any type of wood cover, it calls for more precise fishing, which means flipping and pitching, and getting a little tighter to it. If you don't, you'll just get hung up in the vegetation and never fish the stump properly."