Don't get stumped by stumps

Tree falls or meets the axe and what was once a tower of wood and leaves, now stands as a subtle monument to a past life. But, enough with the poetic stuff; stumps are straight-up angling assets, about which Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg Hackney recently shared some insightful tips.

A relevant structure in various capacities year-round, stumps prove particularly strategic to Hackney’s game plan during the fall feed-up because they help manage the playing field.

“In the fall, fish migrate to flats where they can chase bait in shallow water,” he said. “Here, stumps are a bigger deal to fisherman than to fish because this time of year, a fish doesn’t have to have cover. They relate more to bait than they do cover, like they did in the summertime.

“But they help fishermen on those days when you have high, bright skies because they give you something to throw at. The fishing can be tougher on these days and the stump gives you something to deflect a bait off of for a reaction bite; or something to pitch to on days when you don’t have wind.”

As Hackney points out, the stumps’ fall popularity is kind of an incidental deal. The fish move to the flats for the bait; not the stumps. But since the stumps aren’t going anywhere, why not use them to your advantage?

“The fish relate more around the cover than they do to the cover; they’re not as ambush-oriented as they are other times of the year,” Hackney said. “You might catch three or four bass around one stump in the fall, but maybe only one came right off the stump.”