Written By: Cliff Craft
Evinrude Outboard Pro Staff angler

News release provided by
Mr. Bill Phillips, OMC.
Originally Published in the February 1994
issue of The Outfitter Magazine.


Lakes crowded with summer boaters and water skiers frustrate many bass fishermen, but tournament pro Cliff Craft has learned a way to use the crowds to his advantage.

“In many cases, boat traffic and the waves created by that traffic actually help pinpoint bass in very specific places,” explains the Evinrude outboards Pro Staff angler. “Two of the most consistent places I’ve found are around boat docks and marinas, and along the offshore mud lines caused by waves hitting the shore.”

“The easiest places, of course, are the boat docks and marinas,” he continues. “Bass usually hold in these places anyway, but with the continuous wave action created by the traffic, the bass often become more active. Food gets washed around the pilings and other support structures, and the fish stay on the prowl.”

Craft recommends using small plastic worms, jigs, and crankbaits when fishing around marina and piers, letting the lures hit the different structure during each retrieve. It’s also important to get the lures well underneath any overhanging structure, since the fish will usually be well back in the shadows.

“Another place to fish when the water is really crowded,” continues the Evinrude pro, “is along mud lines that form off the shorelines because of the wave action.”

“A mud line is where the muddy water next to the shoreline meets clear water. It’s a very distinct line, and bass often concentrate right along it. I believe these are fish that may have been shallow and are being forced out by the waves and silt.”

The best lures to fish mud lines are crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and even plastic worms, says Craft. The key is to retrieve lures right across the line, generally from silty water to clear.

“You may have to fish quite a few mud lines before you find bass,” Craft explains, “but eventually you will locate them. The best ones are usually close to shallow cover like bushes and fallen timber.”

Still another option for crowded water fishing can be weeds and other vegetation. These plants help filter out sand and silt caused by waves and may bring bass into extremely shallow water. Spinnerbaits and sometimes even jigs and plastic works are good lure choices for this type of cover.

“On Lake Lanier where I’ve fished for years,” concludes Craft, “I don’t get upset when I see literally dozens of sailboats and skiers on the water now, because when I do see them, I know exactly where I’m going to start fishing.” 


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