Bridge over trebled waters

Shade, shelter, pinch points, bait aggregators — yeah, we know why bridges rank as top-shelf fish magnets, but what if the fish didn’t get the memo? Or, maybe they just blew off the meeting? Well, you can keep on keepin’ on, or you can dig into the bag of tricks to tease, tempt and taunt your targets into making a mistake.

Sometimes, this requires a position change — subtle or not so subtle — while other instances find a creative bait or presentation flips the switch. We asked a few Bassmaster Elite Series pros for their insight on bridge-fishing tactics that some may be overlooking. Here’s what they shared.

Off the beaten path

David Fritts is no stranger to cranking bridges, but when the bite’s tough, he knows he has to shift gears; but that doesn’t mean decking his crankbait rod. Rather, it often means finding a different place to present that tried-and-true bait.

“When fishing is tough, the crankbait bite can be at its best because you can get a reaction strike out of it,” Fritts says. “I’m going to figure out not only what color they want, but exactly how deep I need to be fishing.

“In tough conditions, you try to fish where not every crankbait has passed by. That may be underneath a low bridge; I can get on one side and throw all the way underneath and out the other side. That kind of stuff doesn’t get fished as much.”

And what about those traditional ambush spots, like the corners of causeway riprap? Fritts often finds heavy fishing pressure pushing bass off the textbook stuff — but not entirely.

A lot of times, he said, the ambush spot is not on a corner, but around the corner. Dissatisfied with the obvious stuff, the fish might simply ease back from the heavily pressured areas, so don’t completely bail on the idea; simply adjust your positioning — and remain open-minded.

“Where you least expect to get a bite, that’s probably where you’re going to get it,” Fritts says.

“Sometimes, it’s the angle at which you’re throwing on the bridge. If I’m going down the bridge and I haven’t had a bite, I’ll turn around and come back the other direction and catch five.”