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Fishing Underwater Humps, Shoals, and Structure - Part 1

Fishing underwater structure, in particular humps and shoals, can be very effective in producing both quantity and quality fish. Here are some keys points to consider when fishing underwater structure that will put you on to more fish.

The Underwater Structure

There are different styles of underwater humps and shoals. Humps are generally smaller in size than shoals. An underwater hump would be like a single house on a block. The house would be the isolated hump with flat bottom all around it. A typical shoal would be like a shopping mall, with flat bottom all around it.

Understanding Humps and Shoals

Both structures hold fish, but the larger underwater shoal will hold more fish. Fish relate to humps/shoals in different ways. An active fish will be either on the top of the shoal/hump or on the “break” of the shoal/hump. The “break” is the area between the highest point of the hump/shoal and the lowest point where the hump/shoal ends.

The fish on the top of the hump/shoal are on the move and are searching for food and this is where you should start fishing. As a result, use lures which are cast and retrieved such as spinner baits, crank baits etc… This will allow you to cover more water quickly, and also trigger those prowling fish to bite – after all, they are on the move searching for food.

Once you have worked the entire top of the hump/shoal, now you can start to work the break. The fish on the break are also very active fish, looking for food. These fish however, are not on the move as much as the fish on the top of the hump/shoal.

These fish could be sitting and waiting for the food to come to them, or they could be on the move, but not aggressively. These fish will also hit cast and retrieve style lures, but are best sought after by drop shotting, or jigging with plastics, bucktails or spoons.

As a general rule, fish may not always be on the top of a hump/shoal, but they almost always are holding on breaks. The base of the hump/shoal and the surrounding area, will also hold some fish – although these fish would tend to be more inactive. They will still take a bait or lure, but they will have a limited strike zone so you will need to bring the bait/lure right to the fish. A finesse approach will definitely help you catch these fish

Plenty more to talk about when it comes to humps/shoals, so stay tuned for part 2.

‘Till next time, good luck good fishin’

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