Article 8 โ Flats
We are referring to main lake flats and cove flats that will produce fish year round. The best ones have the river channel or main creek channel that slams against it to deliver the fish. The best ones have submerged cover like hardwoods or grass on top and or near the drop. With the channel being right against the flat Big Bass will live in and suspend in the river trees. The shorter the distance these Bass have to move to take care of business the better. Because the channel slams against them you will find the best Irregular Contours. These include Gouges, Protrusions and points that run out into the lake to block a cove. These are excellent staging areas for feeding fish year round and fish that are moving up to spawn in the Spring. For Spawning and Feeding:
Flats are good for the spawn both in coves and on the main lake for Pre-Spawn Bass to feed up on. Most Big Bass will spawn on the same flats that they feed next to during the year. The beds will be scattered across the flat when they reach the right depth for water clarity and light penetration. These fish will be on the flat for feeding or near the flat year round. In other words the flat is basically blocking their migration route making for an excellent stopping spot during the spawn. Depth changes like gouges, drains and channel slams are avenues that Bass and bait follow into the flats. The soft bottoms of the slightest depression grows excellent grass which will produce a Bass haven. When you find fish that have moved up into the shallower water of the flat they become much easier to catch. They either have moved in to spawn or they are seeking the food source that is there. On the main lake flats you will find all the late spawning fish in late April and May. This is a good place to be when everyone else gave up on the spawn a month ago and are running and gunning points or fishing deeper structure. All you have to do is find the things on that flat that are out of the ordinary; like depressions, grass, stumps and above all rocks. Donโt forget to check the water temperature even on the main lake flats. When the water gets skinny the temp. rises and warmer water means more aggressive fish that are up there looking.The Perfect Main Lake Flat:
Knowing how to research the flats and look for all the Irregular Features that provide comfort zones for deep water Bass is the key. Do your search with all the maps that are available and the electronics you have onboard. You want to do most of this work at home on the computer before you ever go to the flat. The rest is done when you get there to determine the bottom composition and the cover that is available on the flat as you fish the irregular features that you have found at the edges of the flat and turn into the gouges, drains and cross the protrusions that extend off the flat. Following these to the top of the flat will take you to the cover where the fish will be holding. Big fish are not going to travel far from the features that brought them here and may never get to cover that may be all the way to the shoreline. Those fish that are up on shore in the cover are what I call resident fish or shallow water fish. We are looking for large groups of fish as close to deep water as possible and the small amount of cover or rocks they they are using a short distance from their comfort zone. The Perfect Cove/Creek Flat:
Start your search in the deepest coves first; as these will deliver a greater number of larger fish to the Flats protruding out off the shoreline and surrounded on three sides by the creek channel. This type of bend in the creek is referred to as Horse Shoe Bends. With deep water close by and with the creek slamming around the flat you will find some great irregular features on the sides of the flat. An example would be flats in the backs of creeks on Lake Amistad that have Slap Rock with Hydrilla growing out of all the cracks between them. Some of the best flats extend off the shore over half way across the cove then the cove breaks either North or South which is known as a Dog Leg. The dog leg creeks will hold warm water in the back very well allowing these flats to warm fast in the Spring to produce the early spawning Bass. These flats shallow up quickly as they rise out of the creek channel. At 5 to 10 ft of water on them and being wide and long they can have lots of different cover from the creek to the shoreline. Rocks, grass, wood and weeds are excellent cover to roll a spinner bait through and run the Rattle Trap across to cover ground quickly. Once you locate and catch a couple of aggressive Bass pick up the slow plastics and start picking the cover apart. Pay attention to any bait fish flickering in the shallows or a nice Crayfish in the throat of the Bass you are catching. These kinds of clues will give you the colors to throw and to mimic the presentations of the bait to match the forage.
These flats have close access to deeper water and provides those Bass with a very important escape route for huge fish. These are not resident shallow water fish and only frequent the flats to feed or spawn. Low light conditions will usually bring them to the flats; so early morning and late afternoon are good times to be there. During high skies they will use the lip of the flat on its deepest irregular features and resist moving to the top depth ranges in the shallows. One of my favorite techniques is to drift a flat. Just get that shoreline visual to be able to keep your distance across a long flat and turn all electronics off. Dragging a Baby Brush Hog, light 1/8 oz Crig with ever so slight of a breeze and only using the trolling motor to control the boat on occasions.