The Magic Ledge

Three years back a friend and I were pre-fishing for an upcoming BFL tournament in late February, and he had just gotten the new Panoptix LiveScope system for his boat. Shortly after we got started fishing, we pulled up to a point and my friend Jeff said to check out the screen on the Panoptix as he panned the ledge of the point. He pointed out these little objects moving up and down the ledge just crawling on the bottom. Some going up and some coming back down. I was mesmerized by what I was seeing. They were fish and they were moving up and down the ledge of the point from 25 feet of depth to less than 10 feet. The wind was blowing across the point and the fish were on the leeward side of the ledge chasing bait as it came over the crown of the point. Jeff and I made our shaky head casts to the crown of the point and drug the worms down the hill, right where the bass were running up and down the ledge intercepting the bait. It didn’t take long, and Jeff was setting the hook on our first fish. I followed him up with a fish of my own and we proceeded to catch fish after fish off the ledge. Granted, most of the fish were in the 1-3lb range but some were decent tournament fish. After a while the fish scattered from the point, and we moved on. Later in the morning we pulled up to another point with wind on it in the mouth of YD and we found the same scenario, the fish were running up and down the steeper rocky ledge of the point and we were able to target another batch of those fish, successfully boating 6-8 fish before they scattered. Once again, I was amazed at the fish moving up and down the ledge chasing the bait that came over the point in the wind.

After that trip I had a much better understanding of what the fish were doing, and I was able to build from the scenario we were watching even though I didn’t have the benefit of Panoptix. Fast forward to last year in Feb. when I was cruising the ditches in pockets in a creek. There was one pocket or bay in particular, towards the back, where the very back made a “Y” and there were 2 drainage ditches on either side of an underwater point. The underwater point was kinda blunt at the end with a noticeable ledge or steeper drop-off, where it dropped from a 15-foot tier to another 25-foot tier. The ledge was fairly steep and felt rocky, plus sometimes I could feel my bait free-fall down the ledge a foot or so which told me there were so fairly large rocks around. The two drainage ditches were always packed with bait early in the morning and as the morning progressed, the bait would move out from the shallow backs of the ditches only to be ambushed every morning by the waiting bass on the ledge. Sometimes the wind would blow from the back of the pockets and help push the bait over the ledge for the waiting bass, and other times the wind would blow into the pocket and push bait into the ledge where the bass were staging. If there was no wind, the fish were still there waiting on the bait to move from shallow part of the ditch to deeper water as the sun came up. Either scenario produced fish and the fish were always there waiting on the bait, whether it was coming from the back of the ditches or being blown into the ledge. Some days there were a lot of fish and bait and other times the population of both was minimal.

This week I fished Monday, Wednesday, yesterday and today with pretty good results for numbers using the little Lanier Baits 1/4-ounce Damiki with a 3-3 swimbait from KBDBaits for the first few hours of the morning, and then moving to the rocks and docks with the shaky head or ned rig in the afternoons. On Monday we had a west wind and after a visit to the magic ledge and a couple of ditches in the creek I had 3 limits of fish so far. I set out for YD again, knowing that there would be wind on an area of rocks and docks that I wanted to visit. By the time I got there, the wind had kicked up a pretty good chop on the water and one dock in particular was right in the wind. The dock had a shade patch on the north side, and I made a cast into the patch with my shaky head but before the worm hit the bottom, I had my first fish from the dock. I pulled out a little further and hit spot lock in the wind and cast to the shade patch again, and again I caught another fish. This happened 5 times within a shade patch the size of a small car, in the wind a waves. It was a pretty cool way to end my day in the early afternoon. No big girls but fun numbers. Here’s a few pics from Monday.

On Wednesday I was back at it, hitting the magic ledge early with a Damiki and a Keitech and then pounding the rocky banks and docks in the afternoon with the shaky head and ned.

Yesterday I was equipped with some new baits I got in the mail the evening before from KBDBaits, so I had a few new options to choose from. It was overcast so I picked out a lighter colored 3-inch swimbait in an “emerald ice” pattern and I went to work at the magic ledge. The key to catching the fish at the magic ledge was finding the right speed, which was slow and slower. The slower you moved the bait, the more attention the bait got. I spent a couple hours at the ledge and amassed a few keepers. Here’s a few pictures of the fish from yesterday.

A strong cold front came through overnight and I really hadn’t planned to fish today but I finished some baits and had a couple hours to burn so I hit the lake not expecting much, but to my surprise the fish were biting pretty well with the strong north winds. The first stop I made was to the magic ledge, but it was after 12 noon and the ledge bite usually dies off about 10 or so but I made a couple casts with a new little swimbait color. Here’s a picture of the little swimbait on a Lanier Baits Damiki head I chose today. Kevin, from KBDBaits told me the color was called “green gizzard”.

It only took a couple casts, and I felt a little tap as the little Damiki rig slowly moved down the ledge. I reeled down on the tap and was rewarded with a nice headshake and this early afternoon ledge panda. I never saw one fish on the graph, and I was just casting on faith.

I spent the next 20 minutes looking for more fish, but I never caught another fish on the ledge, so I moved on to the docks and wind-blown rocks. I caught another fish on my first dock with the shaky head and I thought that was a good sign. I lost a nice fish a few docks later and then landed another shortly after. After that stretch of docks, I hit a couple wind-blown rocky points and found enough fish to finish out my limit before heading back home. All of my fish, with the exception of the ledge panda came from my shaky head. Here’s the others from my trip this afternoon.

The water temps are averaging around 50 degrees and the lake is just above full pool. The corps is releasing off and on for the past week.

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