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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments #13531167 04/23/20 01:46 PM
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Donald Harper Online Happy OP
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Bridge Pylons and Highway Embankments:

Major highways usually provide Rip Rap for you to spend the early morning hours with the Top Water bite. This gives the sun some climbing time to provide the shade that the Bass are seeking. Not only the shade but current from wind produces an eddy on the corners of the Pylons. This is not to mention all the bait and other species under those bridges looking for food. Many passage ways under bridges are narrow which will provide the best current flow. I always start on the first and second pylons closest to the bridge embankment. Bass only have to move a short distance to feed on Shad making that shoreline run. The Bass will then move to suspend in the shade of the pylons to rest. As you visit the bridge pylons for the first time you will want to do that research with you depth finders. Yes, it is going to disturb the fish; but we need to know which side or ends they are holding on and how those pylons are made. Knowledge is the key here for your success the next time you come. Always start on the end of the bridge that is closest to the Creek Channel. It seems that more fish frequent this side of the bridge in greater numbers and feed throughout the day. Some Pylons are just round or square columns that go to the bottom foundation. Others have formed cross supporting concrete that connect the pylons. The more structure down there the more shade the fish will have for their comfort zone. Shade from the roadway above is not enough to influence the Bass’s behavior. It is the direct shade from the pylons and cross members that are important. The small bait fish feeding on the scum and moss attached to these pylons also play a big roll.

The Highway Embankment:
Almost all of these embankments contain Rip Rap and slope off quickly to open water. These are excellent areas for Bass to put on the early morning feed. The Shad life is swimming in schools, wave after wave down these rocky banks. Everyone of these should be on your list of Top Water areas at first light. Select the fist 100 yards as your indicator to determine if the Bass are using the area. If so turn quickly and go the other direction until the bite slows down. The embankment gives you that wind break to throw top water in calm water. Starting on the calm side 100 yard stretch will give you plenty of time to work to the bridge and around to the other side to the wind blown embankment. Many times this will be the most productive stretch for some of your other search baits like a spinner bait, buzz bait, senkos, flukes and crank baits. The section of the embankment called the bridge embankment forms two corners and if there is any current from either the slow moving flow of water or the wind Bass will stack up to feed heavily on the corners. There is no doubt the two Corners that extend out in the direction of the pylons are the best early morning deeper water Hot Spots. Many times a shelf is even involved that provides a highway for Bass moving up from the channel under the bridge to the end of the embankment to feed on the corners. Usually the first set of Pylons are sitting on the lip of this shelf before it drops to the channel. Your larger fish will be on the two corners that lead to deeper water. You would be smart to stop Top Watering as you approach the first corner. Pick up a deep diving crank bait to throw across that corner and swing wide away from it; as not to disturb the Bass and the bait that will be using it. Work the shelf that runs out to the first Pylon with your Crank and under the bridge to the other Corner. If you are picking up good fish on the crank bait try switching to Plastics and slow way down to pick the corners apart. Where rocks are involved use as light of a weight as you can get by with and have it pegged. This will keep the weight from falling away from the rig and down into the rocks where it will get hung. I like the 1/8 oz. Short Crig for working the ends of the corners with the weight pegged. With a light weight that is pegged you will be able to make long cast without the weight sliding up the line while casting.

Pylon Techniques:
Once you have graphed the area on one of your previous trips and know how the area lays keep the boat stable facing the wind. The Bass will be set up facing into any current coming around the Pylon Structure. Position the boat to make long cast past the Pylons; bringing it beside them as close as possible. Work the shady side first. If two fisherman are involved; both sides can be worked from the front of the boat at the same time. Your three most productive baits depends on the depth of the suspended fish that day. Try a Crank Bait that will dive to 6 to 10 ft., work a weighted Wacky Rig and throw the Drop Shot for Bass that are connected to the bottom.

Story:
This is my favorite technique learned from an 85 year old retired tournament fisherman and guide. There are many other species of fish using the pylons for shade and the food sources there of. BASS are just sitting there and watching for any thing taking place out of the ordinary. Sometimes this is nothing more than the larger species like Crappie and Whits feeding on the smaller species of Minnows or Baby Shad. The feeding frenzy will cause the Bass to move in and take out a Crappie or White. He stated that the number one cause was the minnows, baby Carp, Shad and Sunfish that quickly slam into the pylons that are covered in scum or moss. They are trying to knock small pieces of the moss off the pylon to be eaten for the nutrients. Again in doing this they are acting extremely out of the ordinary and sets off the Bass’s instinct to kill something. The bait of choice to mimic this erratic behavior is a 2.5 Square Bill Crank Bait that runs off center a couple of feet to the right or to the left. Remove the split ring so it can be tuned easily with needle nose pliers. With the bait facing you, bend the wire loop on the nose ever so slightly to the right to make the bait run off center to the left. You only get one shot at this; so it is better to do this in small adjustments. Clip the bait on and make a few cast to see what it does; then make another adjustment. Usually if you over tune the bait will roll, if it runs more than 2 ft. off center. Trying to re-tune never seems to work. I have two in the bait box labeled L and R. Clip one or the other on depending on your boat position and the shade of the pylon. Throw the Square Bill past the pylon and crank it down. It will slam into the face of the pylon at about 6 or 8 ft.. Now kill the bait and let it float up about 3 feet. Softly jerk the bait back down striking the pylon several times as it crawls its way around the pylon. This represents the erratic action of the bait fish taking the scum off the column. Lastly when the bait breaks into the sunlight let it float to the surface. It immediately shows all its colors which will also cause some vicious strikes. Mr. Phillips took more than 100 Bass over 7 lbs. off of the pylons in several of the Tennessee lakes.

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Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13531237 04/23/20 02:27 PM
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Thanks Donald.... always appreciated


Fishing is Like Breathing...I was born To Do it
Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13531351 04/23/20 03:43 PM
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I like that technique in your story-pretty unique.
Thanks for sharing all the info.

Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13531397 04/23/20 04:16 PM
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Thanks again for the experience, techiques and wisdom you've provided.


Not retired, self-employed -- paying myself to do what I like to do!
Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13531419 04/23/20 04:27 PM
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Very informative! Keep em' coming

Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13532104 04/24/20 01:53 AM
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banker-always fishing Online Content
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Love these post. Thanks for sharing. thumb


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Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13532487 04/24/20 01:03 PM
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Great article, thanks for the info about fishing around bridges, this will help me a ton. Please keep them coming.

Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13532841 04/24/20 04:45 PM
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thanks


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Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13533019 04/24/20 06:28 PM
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Always a great read.

Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13533645 04/25/20 02:44 AM
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Great reading sir. Tons of info!


Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.
- More Maxims of Mark, Merle Johnson, 1927
Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13533831 04/25/20 11:47 AM
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Nuther good un


GOD is good!
Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13533944 04/25/20 01:59 PM
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Mr. Don,
Thanks, always informative.


Ray
Re: Article 6 - Bridges and Embankments [Re: Donald Harper] #13533961 04/25/20 02:22 PM
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Great reading. Thanks

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