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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Bass love to hang around brush piles especially during the spawning season. Brush piles in 4 to 7 feet of water with a mildly sandy bottom tend to hold many bass during the spring. Females, if possible will always bed near brush piles because they provide protection and tend to hold some bait fish. Often times while the female is sitting on the bed, the male will hold in such brush piles and ambush bait as it comes by. This is what anglers often take advantage of. The males will strike at many baits to provide food for themselves and for the female on the bed. Various baits will work. Anglers tend to use soft plastics such as lizards and trick worms by slowly pulling them by the brush or directly through it.

Brush pile bass tactics can be very tricky but yet very productive. Since you are targeting fish that are holding in or around a tree, you must be very careful not to get hung up. There are several different approaches that you can take when targeting these bass. One tactic that anglers use primarily in the springtime are to horizontally pull soft plastics and jigs by the brush pile. Like explained above, many bass will hold in the brush in shallower water during the spawning period. Since these bass are very aggressive, they will attack these baits that are slowly going under them. Another tactic that anglers like to use is to pull weedless worms and jigs directly through the brush. The action of the bait catching on and then falling from the tree limbs makes it look very realistic.

Bass will often it attack the bait as it falls from the limbs. The third tactic that some anglers use are to mark the brush pile with a marker buoy and they throw various crankbaits and jerkbaits around the brush. Bass will see these baits flashing by and will think it is a baitfish. This tactic can be used year-round but it is necessary that you have good electronics to pinpoint the exact position of the brush pile. The last tactic that is often used in the fall in winter is vertical jigging. When the waters cool down, bass and other species tend to hold on the structure for long periods of time. Finding a brush pile with fish on it with your electronics and then sitting over it jigging with spoons and jigs can be very productive when the fish slow down. No matter the tactic or the situation, brush piles are a great place to catch large quantities and good quality fish.

Deep brush piles can also be very productive depending on the time of year. Many anglers like to find brush between 10 and 20 feet and fish those during the post-spawn through the fall. Deep brush can sometimes provide you with lots of quality tournament fish or sometimes a few real big fish. And ever so often it will provide you both. Once you have found a deep brush pile there are several different ways to fish it no matter the time of year. Some anglers will sit over the top of it and jig a spoon. Others will mark the pile with a marker buoy and then sit off and throw jigs and plastic worms through it. Yet others will sit off and throw deep crankbaits and work them slowly once they have hit the brush.

Originally post on 08/2012

My then five year-old son Gabriel and I decided to go and sit in the woods one late October afternoon to see what we could scare up. For this first trip I decided to let him carry along his bb-gun, binoculars and a map that he spent no small amount of time drawing up for us. The latter was to prevent us from getting lost should we find ourselves running from a big scary bear while hunting for our big buck. It didn't take me long to come to the realization of just how serious he was taking our expedition into the dark and mysterious forest.

We found our spot beneath an old hickory tree that had several young cedar trees growing around its base, and those small cedars provided us with a natural hunting blind. He never played with the bb-gun while we sat and waited, kept still and whispered. On reflection I am rather surprised, as well as satisfied, at not having to tell him to sit still, to stop playing or to be quiet. Truth be known, I was the one that was most uncomfortable from sitting on pine combs and small twigs!

As I expected, we didn’t see anything other than a few squirrels and those we decided not to target. While getting a little irritated with the mosquitoes buzzing in my ear and numbness of the buttocks getting the better of my patience, I was succinctly reminded by him why he and I were there. Time together.

“You are the greatest dad ever!” Gabriel said.