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Article 22 - Heavy Cover #13591000 06/11/20 01:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
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Donald Harper Offline OP
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Article 22 – Heavy Cover

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read the articles then go out and put something together that works for you. When you read these articles in general it seems that I am always talking about structure fishing off shore. I get many inquiries about learning to fish deep. Let me try to make this clear as mud. Ha. I have been a shallow water fisherman my whole life; because this is where my confidence was built over the years. I have learned that the shallow water areas are good because of the deep water contours between the shoreline and the deepest water in the area. Even when you get past the 10 foot depth in the last third of a cove headed into the creek system and there are no great contour lines to help you there can be an area back there that is super good. You find these good areas by looking at the deep water contours at the mouth of the cove to determine if there is enough irregularity out front to deliver fish to the back of the cove. Production in Heavy Cover on that last third of a cove is always determined by the routes that big fish follow to get there.

I am big on keeping the boat off of the top of staging fish that are moving bait toward the shallows. We do this by keeping a short cast distance from the staging area just enough as not to disturb the forage that the Bass are after. You do everything you can to plan for what type of heavy cover is in the back of the cove; but you never know for sure until you experience it up close and personal. Once I observe a heavy cover area we are going into the heart of it to dig those Big Bass out of the cover and these are the reasons why. We are talking about tons of vegetation where the oxygen level is high, there is shade under the thick stuff and the bait is plentiful. Developing a pattern and presentation is always the hard part. Heavy cover is no different than deep water because ever day something new can develop because of the weather and seasonal changes. All fishing requires lots of patience and can be very difficult to do when you see such cover that may be holding the fish of your live time. If you get in a hurry there is always a huge possibility of causing the fish to move from the area. Wait for the perfect position to make the short cast to heavy cover. Patience making that first cast gives you the best shot to catch the fish that is waiting to ambush. If you are fishing with a partner he has to understand that we are going to get to all of the cover sooner or later. There is no reason to make a throw at a bush 20 yards away. We are sharing the area and you should be paying attention to every cast that I make so you know where the hot spots are that I will be leaving for you to throw into. Then when you catch that 10 lb fish you can say; I can’t believe you didn’t throw in there.

There are no secrets about finding this heavy cove. You must spend days driving and mapping vegetation. While running the shoreline look for heavy grass matted in pockets, any lay-downs off the bank, Hydrilla pods, old downed docks, lily pads, runs of reeds, logs and hardwoods. These are all visuals and much easier to find than the submerged vegetation that may be in just a little deeper water. With any luck and the right bottom composition there will be some of both. For the more serious fisherman, vegetation which you cannot see growing under the surface, may be a great starting spot for your next tournament. Once the cove jumps to 20 ft deep cut back to idle speed and start searching the slops toward the shallows all the way to the back. The cove will step up fast from here and you do not want to take a chance on missing the deep grass that begins at this depth in some of our lakes. It begins to grow on the sides in some coves and others it grows right down the middle of the ditch. After you have payed your dues, done your research to find the best areas, start the fishing process on these areas as slowly and thoroughly as possible. Start on the submerged vegetation that you cannot see and work your way up to the cover you can see in the shallows.

Big Bass love the heaviest cover you can find giving them the darkest spot to ambush from. The larges Bass take up residence here and stake a claim to the exact spot and feel very safe there. To get close to her I like the wind moving some stuff around, so she is not as aware of my presents. You want her to continue to feel safe in the ambush spot. During the Summer months when everyone else is out on structure, go directly to the heavy cover that you have found from 10 ft of water to the surface. There is always big fish there year round to be caught that is in search of easy pray. On sunny days Bass will hold tight to the exact spot that a big fish should be in. Any cloud cover seems to cause them to move around more, making a moving target more difficult to catch. On cloudy days I will stay back and work the edges; as they will eventually come to the edge cursing around in search of food. Again have more patience on cloudy days. The shallows will virtually be least pressured during the Summer when everyone else is out deep. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are fishing to a disadvantage without having the best electronics and you haven’t learned to fish deep structure. You have to fish to your comfort zone and pick up a few pointers to add to that zone of shallow water visuals. Take all the knowledge that you have with your confidence game and go do what you do best. One never, never stops learning even after 60 years of fishing. Just do what you do best; but take a look behind you once in a while and you will learn something new.

Baits:
I only have a few things to say about baits as everyone again pitches and flips the heavy stuff with what they have confidence in. I have said this before. There is somewhere on the lake that you can have a great day on all of them. You get in the right spot the spinner bait will catch them all. On a cloudy day I will do everything possible to find them on the Spook bite and use it all day long. When the fish are on the move the Chatter Bait and buzz bait are two of the best and even with the bare hook will come through some really heavy cover. I prefer the heavy drop shot over the jig for deep grass and mats, because of the amount of slop that the jig brings home. The heavy drop shot brings none. Another good alternative is a pegged bullet TX. Rig. No matter how good you are everyday will bring something different as to how the Bass want it presented and what bait they want. Trial and error is the reason for a poor day of catching. You must know what the few best baits are. There is a reason the FROG should be on deck and that is because of Dean Rojas’s success with 50 top 10 finishes in the BASS and a single day total of 45.2 lbs on Lake Kissimmee.

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Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13591059 06/11/20 01:40 PM
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Tight Lines Offline
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Great insight.
Having been primarily a shallow water fisherman all my life as well, it was good to get confirmation from a pro that it is a year round technique.

Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Tight Lines] #13591428 06/11/20 06:04 PM
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senko9S Offline
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pro what?


David Short

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Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13591455 06/11/20 06:21 PM
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ZX4545 Offline
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Good info Don

Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: ZX4545] #13591486 06/11/20 06:49 PM
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Cadda_Boom624 Offline
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Great info! Thanks Don!


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Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13591526 06/11/20 07:31 PM
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Kemo Sabe Offline
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Always good stuff. Thanks much.

Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13591711 06/11/20 09:41 PM
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banker-always fishing Online Content
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Yet another very fine post. Thanks for sharing. thumb


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Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13591856 06/11/20 11:37 PM
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Dr JL Offline
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Good post

Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: Donald Harper] #13592041 06/12/20 02:16 AM
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tmd11111 Online Content
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Another good read as always.

Re: Article 22 - Heavy Cover [Re: senko9S] #13592092 06/12/20 03:07 AM
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Always a pleasure to see one of your new articles to read.


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