Search for Structure in the Water
Fishermen often find themselves scouring their favorite bodies of water in search of the best spots to cast a line. While bait might be the first thing they think of, a day’s success can often hinge on finding the structure in the water that will offer the most success.
No matter if you’re an experienced or beginner angler, understanding what structure in the water can mean to your fishing success is an important element of the hunting experience. Knowing how to find these areas is an essential step in getting more bites and making more catches.
Defining Structure in the Water
Structure in the water can be any variety of physical characteristics of water. It can include things like trees, rocks, boulders, submerged structures and topographical structures including rapids, falls and drop offs.
These structures create mini-ecosystems in the water where fish are drawn to find food, shelter and security. Fish are attracted to walls and other structures that act as boundaries, which can serve as hiding spots or blockers against predators.
Why Structure is Important
When you’re fishing, it’s important to find structure in the water to maximize your chances of landing a successful catch. The idea is that by targeting areas where structure is present, you’re more likely to find areas where there are fish.
However, location isn’t everything, as there’s a lot to consider when fishing in a particular spot. The type of structure will also play a role, with different sports attracted to different types of structure. It’s important to be mindful when observing the structure to ensure that you understand what’s important for the kind of fishing you’re doing.
Different Types of Structure in Water
Where ever you go for fishing, you can use the presence of structure in the water to your advantage. Here are some of the most common types of structure you’ll encounter in the water:
weed beds – Weeds provide a refuge for smaller bait fish that feed on vegetation and plankton. Other bait fish, such as minnows, often follow these weed beds, along with bigger predatory fish, offering a tempting target to the experienced fisherman.
reefs – Reefs can range in size and offer areas of secure confinements or shallow graze for any larger species. The presence of a reef will attract small fry and give predators a place to stake out and ambush their prey.
brush piles – Brush piles are piles of wood, logs and branches, which can be natural or man-made, that offer protection to fish. They can also provide a place to feed or rest, depending on the size of the structure and current needs of the fish.
rocky ledges – Rocky ledges are areas where the bottom of the water drops off or changes abruptly offering a point of safety or ambush point. Depths in such areas can range drastically but generally, these areas attract larger predators that feed on smaller prey such as crayfish or minnows, which inhabit these regions.
Tips for Identifying Structure in the Water
Understanding how to identify structure in the water is a great skill that can help you catch more fish and make the most of your fishing trips. Here are some tips for how to spot structure in any waterway:
Study Map and Photos – Before you hit the water, studying a map and taking some photos of the lake’s shoreline can help you find structure. Take the time to look for any signs of change in the contour of the land or boundaries like drop offs, reefs, or fall offs.
Pay Attention to Topography – When you’re out on the lake, pay attention to the water’s topography. Look for areas that have a gradient change or change in color or clarity of the water.
Pay Attention to the Wind – Look for areas of the lake where the wind is creating a disturbance, as this can create a variety of vertical structures and currents in the water that attracts fish.
Look For Currents and Riprap – Pay attention to the shoreline when looking for structure. Look for areas that have a riprap, which is a man made or natural break in the shoreline. Currents that run along shorelines can also provide structure for fish to hide and feed in.
Before you cast a line, it’s important to keep in mind how to use structure in the water to your advantage. Knowing how and where to find structure can help you land a successful catch and make the most of your fishing trips.
By understanding the different types of structure and taking the time to observe the water’s topography, you’ll be well on your way to spotting the perfect spot to throw your line. With the right tactics, you can land the perfect catch and have a fruitful day on the water.