If you’re not sure where to cast for bass on any given lake, head for the nearest bridge. Most bridges provide bass with deep water, shade, bridge pilings and riprap for cover, and baitfish. Current caused by the wind or a power-generating dam boosts its desirability. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask bass pro Aaron Martens, who’s finished second twice in the Bassmaster Classic by fishing bridges exclusively.
Top of the Morning
At daybreak, largemouth bass often feed on shad near the surface around bridge pilings. Martens picks off these fish with a Megabass Giant Dog-X walking stickbait. He works the Dog-X alongside the bridge pilings and over the eddy water on the downstream side of the pilings. “I catch a lot of bass by fishing the eddy 50 to 100 feet downcurrent from the pilings,” Martens says. “Most fishermen overlook these bass.”
Let’s Get Cranking
Largemouths feed deeper when the sun starts to get up. Martens uses his fishfinder to see how deep the bass are suspended next to the pilings. Once he has the depth, he selects a diving crankbait that runs at or just above that depth. “Cast past the bridge pilings and retrieve the crankbait with the current,” Martens says. “Try to bump the pilings with the crankbait and hit them from different angles. Don’t sit in one spot all the time.”
Give Them the Shake
When the lunkers are refusing crankbaits, or are too deep to reach with them, Martens starts targeting the fish with a shaky-head jig dressed with a Zoom Fluke. Depending on the depth and current, Martens uses a jig that weighs from 1⁄8 to 3⁄4 ounce. “Cast upcurrent past the bridge pilings, count the jig down to the right depth, and reel it back slow and steady,” Martens says. “Try to hit the pilings with the jig.”