Stick-ups, bushes or wood of any type are a drawing card for crappie and gills. Winter time and early spring are my favorites but twelve months out of the year panfish will be found in wood if present.
Standing timber in most of our lakes are visible. Brushy shorelines are also easily spotted but some of the best brush might be under the ice during the winter. Early season success is often found in mud bottom areas, shallow water structure, canals and channels. Add the timber or brush it becomes a real hot spot.
Cutting holes is the one thing that I hate but the most important. Once a brushy shoreline is found or an area of tree tops cut a series of holes. Six holes is a minimum and depending on the size of your targeted area, maybe 10 holes.
Start fishing at the first hole and move down every few minutes if no action is found. If the action slows on a hole move down and return in thirty minutes. When fishing the brush along a shoreline you normally catch a couple of fish from each brush pile.
Tree tops that have numerous limbs might hold a limit of fish. In this case you might need four holes to fish one tree. Early in the season the tree tops closest to the shore produce the best. As winter takes hold the tops closest to deep water produce best.
A stump field can be a combination of the two. Stumps most often are located away from the shoreline and often in deeper water. They provide a great year around structure but a good graph is needed in locating them. Once a stump field is found a GPS becomes your best friend.
Backwaters of a river or a bayou almost always have brush along the shoreline. An undeveloped section of a lake will have logs, brush and debris near the shoreline or fallen trees that might reach the first drop-off.
Fallen trees create a canopy for the fish to hide under. The closer the drop-off is to the shoreline the longer or larger the canopy will be. Vision a majestic 50 foot oak tree that fell into the lake. Twenty feet from shore the drop-off begins. Part of the tree will be hanging over the drop-off creating perfect year around cover.
If the snow is not too deep you can often spot these trees. Deep snow requires some luck and good usage of your graph. Open water anglers should invest in a hand held GPS to mark these locations for the best winter action.
Bluegills require a smaller jig than a crappie. Wax worms work great but don’t forget the spikes. Stick-ups and wood are a natural fit when panfishing fishing. Simple techniques that allow pinpoint control deliver the maximum results. Use caution around any visible brush or timber when a warm thaw begins. Wood absorbs heat and the ice can rot out quickly near timber. For more information check out the website at www.jackpaynejr.com.