What does having structure have to do with being successful? Plenty!!
An angler can significantly improve their catch rate if they are able to recognize the presence of structure and how to use it to their advantage. This knowledge along with several other scouting skill sets can give both the novice and experienced angler that competitive edge.
Structure can be defined as anything having an unusual characteristic found either horizontally under water or standing vertically in the water column. Many structures are created by nature or installed to either support another structure or another purpose. Regardless of the types of structures, they can also be found at various locations and water depths. Either way, structure is beneficial for both anglers and many saltwater species
Vertical structure could be pilings, bulkheads, tree stumps, root systems or jetties that extend above the surface. Horizontal structures are submerged and may include depressions, holes, drop-offs, ledges, rocks, tree roots or sunken logs. The most common horizontal structure are small holes or depressions and the change where sand bottom meets a grass flat.
Structure provides safety and food source for many species. The fish’s ability to move around this formation provides their ability to avoid another predator. Also, many small bait fish and crustaceans remain close to structure adding to the larger species food source.
When fishing a vertical structure, the angler should focus on the leeward side. Fish typically remain in the calm leeward side waiting for a bait fish or other species pass by. When fishing a horizontal structure such as a depression or grass flat, let your bait pass as close as possible, changing speeds and action of the retrieve.
When fishing structures, anglers should mimic the action of a bait fish or crustacean. They must provide a natural retrieve. Bait or lure presentation here is extremely important as not to spook or chase the fish out of that zone. The bait or lure should be retrieved slowly both in the current and static areas. Then repeated.
Proficient anglers have the ability to use various retrieval or twitching actions that cause the fish to either sense anger, fear or instill their interest to increase to attack. But it is imperative that the action must be natural and lifelike.
Some structure is easily located but others are not. Vertical structures are obvious – they stick out f the water. But horizontal must be discovered. One way to locate a bottom structures is to take either a bank sinker or a lead jig head with the hook removed attached to a break-away light test leader and cast out in various locations. Feel and resistance during the retrieve can reveal uneven bottoms and structure created components.
Ability to recognize and use structure is the easiest way for an anglers to improve their catch rate.
And although it’s an important part of finding fish, its only one tool in the angler’s catch box. The ability to recognize structure and use it to catch fish can be a game changer.
Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony