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Using Currents and Tides to Your Advantage
By Denny  Brauer

You will hate them or love them depending on what you know about them. Currents and tides can definitely affect the areas bass are using and can be assets to you in finding and catching them.

First you need to determine if you are dealing with man-made or natural current. Bass feed and become more active when water is being released creating a current in the lake. Certain lakes, like Eufala in Alabama and West Point in Georgia, are famous for the bass feeding according to the generation schedules and water releases. It boils down to timing. You can be sitting on the best point in the lake getting no bites and suddenly they start pulling water and you load the boat. Find out the generation schedules, if you can, and it will help your fishing on these types of lakes. An example would be if they are going to start generating at noon, I would probably fish shallow, more active fish until noon and then pull out and take advantage of the fish that are conditioned to feed with the current. I would start off the day with a Strike King buzzbait and a Pro Model jig working any cover that is close to deep water. Then I would move out and start cranking with a Strike King Series 5 or 6 crankbait, depending on the depth of the structure.

Natural current takes place on the rivers, creeks, and upper ends of most lakes and reservoirs. Rather than constantly fighting the current, bass set up on ambush points out of the current and take advantage of bait being swept by. Understanding how they position can eliminate a lot of water for you and make the fish holding spots pretty obvious.

Finding bass consistently is a process of elimination and duplication. Eliminate patterns and waters that are not productive and duplicate places and patterns that produce. If you have a mile stretch of river that is bare and






  then suddenly you have a couple of stumps or a little cut, it is pretty obvious a bass is probably laying there out of the current. You may go another mile and find the same situation and catch some more. You are then on your way to a very successful day.

This is one thing I really do not like about fishing tournaments on a river. Unfortunately, all the good spots are easy to recognize. In order to win you have to be fortunate enough to find one of those subtle, off-the-wall spots that everyone overlooks.

Fishing tidal current is really no different except timing is extremely critical. Tidal fish move a lot but are very predictable. If you catch them off a spot, pay attention to the time and tidal level. The next day if you are there when the same situation (tide level) takes place, you should catch them again. Pay lots of attention when you catch tide-water bass and get a tide chart. Catching these bass can become very easy if you get your timing down on all the spots you locate. Some spots will be good on high tide, some on low tide, and others at certain stages in between. It's your job to determine when a spot is best and then duplicate your timing on it in the future.

I have had some of my best tidal fishing within two hours either side of low tide. When I was pre-fish practicing for the 1989 Bassmaster's Classic on the James River in Virginia, I saw just how important timing can be. I fished a wooden structure at the mouth of one of the creeks thoroughly and never had a bite. I went back into the creek and fished around for about 45 minutes without any action. As I was coming back out of the creek, I noticed that the wooden structure seemed to have more current running by it. The tide was starting to come back in and the current had indeed picked up greatly. I stopped and fished this same spot and immediately caught about 15 pounds of bass. Timing is number one when it comes to fishing tide water bass.

Combine what you know about where bass like to sit out of the current, find these spots, be there on time, and load the boat. Current and tide truly can make finding bass easier.


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