Liven up the ledges

Experiment with different bait sizes and colors to dial in what the fish like.
Experiment with different bait sizes and colors to dial in what the fish like.

With today’s advanced sonar units boasting the game-changing ability to see detailed images of not only what’s under the boat but also the outlying bottom, it’s pretty easy to locate the sweet spots on a ledge. Find a nice little nook or a hefty brush pile, and you have your target for casting and winding those crankbaits, spinnerbaits and football jigs.

But what do you do when your hot bite suddenly cools? Well, unless you just enjoy looking for new spots, you should pull directly over the ledge and take a good look at your targeted spot. Often, the fish are still there; they just got tired of seeing the same types of presentations.

This is where your dropshot can really shine.

Fish move up on the ledge to feed, so it’s not surprising to smoke a bunch of them on reaction baits. However, they will wise up eventually, so the savvy anglers must shift gears to pick off a few more.

As long as the fish remain on the ledge, it’s a safe bet that they’re still in the food mood — so it’s just a matter of keeping an easy meal available to them.

Few rigs can achieve this level of consistent vulnerability like a dropshot. The fish might scatter when too many cranks buzz past them, and they might get tired of watching a buddy yanked to topside after tipping down on that football head. But a slender worm or small shad figure that just sits there wiggling in the current — now that’s just too much to resist.

A couple of considerations:

  • Take a good look at the spot you’ll drop on, and if there’s brush, timber or anything else that can snag an exposed dropshot hook, Texas rig your bait.
  • If fish are suspending off the ledge, try a longer leader that keeps the bait at the fish’s eye level.
  • Use a weight sufficient for the depth and current of the spot you’re fishing. In Pickwick Lake, for example, a TVA release schedule of 12,000 cubic feet per second won’t require nearly as much weight as 30,000 cfs.

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About David A. Brown 142 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications.