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Ledge fishing can be a great option if you’re struggling near the banks.
If you’re not familiar with ledge fishing tactics, you may be asking….Ledge fishing? Where do I start?
Well, today is your lucky day!
What Is Ledge Fishing?
Not to be confused with offshore fishing in saltwater, ledge fishing can also be referred to as “offshore” fishing because it is fishing that takes place away from the shoreline and the banks of the lake or river.
Video: Ledge Fishing Basics Explained
But since you will be in freshwater and not the ocean, don’t confuse this with the salty version.
What Are Ledges?
Ledges are formed by the structure of the underwater landscape. Currents, old river systems and other factors can create channels and sharp drop offs within a body of water that are deeper than other parts, forming an underwater ledge.
This means there can be a variation of depths, with both steep and shallow drops, where the water temperatures may be cooler compared to the shallows close to the banks.
Why Go Ledge Fishing?
During the summer when the water temperature rises, bass will often seek out deeper, cooler and more oxygenated water. This means that you may not find them as close to the banks as you did during the spring. This is when ledge fishing can be a good way to catch bass.
These ledges can often create an ideal combination of habitats, giving bass access to both shallow and deep water, as well as providing structure where they can move up and down in the water column to feed and seek better water quality.
Where To Find Them
Ledges can be found on a range of bodies of water, including lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
One way to locate ledges is by picking up a copy of a topographical map of your local lake or river. These maps will usually have lines and contours that you can follow to point you in the direction of potential bass ledges.
GPS devices and some fish finders should also be able to show you depth changes and provide you with images of the underwater landscape.
Channels next to flats and points where creek channels enter the main body of water can be good places to look for bass.
It’s unlikely that you will find bass at every ledge in the lake and you may spend a lot of time casting with no success (who said summer bass fishing was easy?!).
Sometimes the ledges where bass are holding up may have other conditions that can attract bass, such as submerged cover or bends in the channels.
A fish finder may be able to help you locate where the fish are holding out, once you’ve found the ledges, which can save you wasting time casting into areas where there is nothing around to bite.
Ledge Fishing Tips
1: Keep An Eye On The Current
You’ll often find that with ledges, comes current, and this can sometimes affect the location and position of the bass. You may find that current causes bass to move up towards the top of the ledge.
If there is no current, you may find that this is when bass can be found suspended off the ledge or along the bottom. However, where there is a lack of current, bass could be found typically anywhere, as they will often have to look for their prey rather than wait for the current to bring it.
If you’re fishing where there is current, it can be a good idea to remember to cast into the current so that your lure will be moving naturally with the current when you retrieve it.
2: Picking Your Lures
The type of lures that will be effective will tend to vary depending on the day, the ledge and the location, so it can be a good idea to bring along a range of lures so that you can change up your tactics if you need to.
Some of the more useful lures to use will often be crankbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. Jigs and Carolina rigs can also be ideal to use if the bass are closer to the bottom.
Video: Catching Bass – Drop Offs And Ledges
If you’re looking to target largemouth bass, you will often find that larger baits can work best, for example around 8 to 11 inch swimbaits and worms. But if spotted bass or smallmouths are your target, you may want to choose smaller, brightly colored lures and perhaps use a drop shot rig.
3: Rotate Your Lures
Sometimes you might find that bass will take one bait one day but not the next or what might work on one ledge doesn’t work on another.
This means that it can be a good idea to fish a range of lures in the same location.
We recommend mixing it up a little!
4: The Crankbait Tactic
One way of fishing a ledge with a crankbait is to cast it into the top of the ledge and when you reel it back in, make it stumble into the bottom of the ledge as it works its way down.
With this technique the crankbait can often look similar to a crawfish moving along the bottom, which can encourage bass to strike.
Ledge fishing for bass can be a lucrative tactic during the summer months when bass are holding out closer to deeper water. Before you head out, remember to study the underwater landscape of your local lake and take a topographical map or electronics with you to help you find the ledges.
Having a variety of lures with you can help you target bass in different positions around the ledge, but patience may be key when it comes to ledge fishing.
Have you had any luck ledge fishing? Tell us about it below. And don’t forget to share this to help others.