Bass Fishing Tip: Rock Piles – Bass Magnets for Any Season

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Underwater Rock pile = Bass MagnetBass fishing and rock piles

I don’t know about you but I have a love-hate relationship with fishing rock piles and trying to entice bass from their hardened haven.

Don’t get me wrong, I have caught numerous largemouth, smallmouth and even spotted bass from those heaps of stony rubble.  Even so, all those nooks and crannies have wreaked havoc with my tackle eating a variety of baits and constantly fraying line…

Rock Piles = Magnetic Bass Attractors

None the less, if I am fishing a body of water where rock piles are present, I will make a concerted effort to seek out as many as possible. I will go to even greater lengths to locate and fish the lesser known structures since the fishing pressure is lower and resident bass are usually much more cooperative.

Another great thing about rock piles … they can be bass magnets in winter or summer; spring or fall depending on its location and water depth.  It’s just a matter of considering the seasonal conditions and structural nature of different rock piles in the lake and focusing on those most likely to be productive during that season.

Rock Pile Size and Forage Considerations

Other factors influencing your success when fishing rock piles for bass include the size of the structure since some are only a few tens of feet wide where others might be several hundred feet in length.  The larger the rock pile, the harder it is to locate the area being used by most of the bass …

Identifying the types of forage bass are feeding on when using a particular rock pile is also an important consideration since it impacts lure selection.  Although many people would assume crayfish would be the key forage, many times the bass are feeding on some sort of baitfish.

Five Helpful Tips for Fishing Rock Piles …

So here are five tips to help you fish your favorite rock piles more effectively during your next trip to your favorite bass lake …

  • Actions to help locate new, less pressured rock piles;
    • Although you can start of doing some homework with a lake map before you even hit the water, any rock piles labeled on the map will likely be known (and fished) by everyone.  Take extra time to locate other resources (aerial images indicating possible targets) before hitting water.  Once on the water, scan the shoreline for indications of rockier areas extending to water; they may indicate similar areas off shore.  Make effort to survey areas with sudden bottom rises with sonar zigzagging to define extent then check it our with bottom bouncing lures.
  • Focus on the secondary structures on the rock pile;
    • Once rock pile is located, take time to map out the structure and identify the “structures on the structure” (smaller piles, wood accumulation, etc.) since these are the most likely sections to hold numbers of fish.
  • Make an effort to keep baits in contact with rocks;
    • Don’t just rely on swimming baits (less change of losing lures), use bottom contact lures as well since the action and sound of the lure against the rocks can be a trigger mechanism.
  • Alternate between horizontal and vertical presentations; &
    • Most people work the rock piles using a horizontal cast and retrieve approach.  Quietly drifting over the pile and using a vertical presentation (vertical jigging or drop shotting) may provide the bass with a different bait presentation again helping trigger strikes.
  • Search out isolated rock piles.
    • In many fishing situations throughout the year, bass, especially quality bass relate to isolated structure more readily than areas with numerous structural elements throughout.  The same applies for rock piles with a possible additional benefit … if the rock pile is isolated and not on the public lake map, it may be one of the less known structures and a true honey hole!
Squam rock piles

Aerial Image of Lake with Rock Piles


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