Hackney: Attacking bluff walls, part 2

Editor's note: Read part 1 here.

Up until now we’ve been talking about bluff walls as if they all held bass. They probably do, but at different times. What I mean is that bass tend to hold on specific walls, or on specific spots on those walls, at specific times.

It might be that you’ll find them out on the main lake for a while. Then they’ll move to the walls that are just inside the creeks, hollows and cuts. Or, they might all be on the last one in the back just before you run out of water. If there’s a way to predict where they’ll be at any given time, I don’t know what it is.

I suppose you could say that when the fish are moving shallow, like in the spring and the fall, you’re more likely to find them on the walls in the backs of the creeks and other places like that. That’s only sort of true, though, because across from nearly every wall there’s a flat. The only exception would be out in the main lake.

Unfortunately, the only really effective way I know of to find them is to fish every wall you see until you find something going on. Three lures will get you started.

The first is a spinnerbait. Slow roll it along the bluff. If they’re eating shad or any other type of minnow they’ll crush a spinnerbait. Another great choice is a suspending jerkbait. If they’re holding in open water off the walls they’ll grab one if it looks like the real thing. Match the hatch here.

My real weapon of choice, however, is a jig. It’s the perfect bait for a wall. You can cast one parallel to the wall and cover every possible ambush point, and if you move in and out off the wall you can cover every possible depth. Make long casts and work your jig slowly.

Another way I like to fish my jig is to cast at the wall and bring it straight out towards the boat. I drop it right up against the wall and bring it out so that it stops on every ledge or shelf. And I make sure it drops off of every one as well. I do this until my jig is out in the deepest water there is around. I call that letting it fall off into the abyss.

A lot of times you’ll find wood on bluff walls. You can’t always see it, but I assure you it’s there. It falls from the top of the wall where the ground is unstable. When you run into it make sure you fish it all, regardless of what bait you’re using. Bass will hold on the wood. It’s different, much like a transition.

It doesn’t take much wood, either. Just a couple of small, spindly limbs will often be enough. And remember, the walls are somewhat vertical. A tree or big limb will stick way out if the big end catches on the wall and swings out towards open water. Don’t push in too close.  

If I see a wall, it’ll be an unusual day when I don’t stop and make a few casts. I encourage you to do the same thing.