You know a tournament angler is dialed in on a pattern when he has only one or two rods on his deck with the same lure on each rod but in different colors. However, there are certain times of the year when multiple patterns are producing or no patterns are working.
The first time I heard the term “junk fishing” was when I was covering Bassmaster Opens and the anglers weighing in bass said they caught their fish that way.
I assumed they were fishing all the debris that collects in pockets and were punching their lures through that junk mat. However, when I interviewed some of those anglers for my story I discovered the true meaning of junk fishing. Their definition of junk fishing was catching bass on a variety of lures without a set pattern.
I then discovered I had been junk fishing for years because there were many occasions when I would start out a fishing trip with eight rods with eight different lures laid out on the deck of my boat. Sometimes I would rotate through the lures and by the end of the day would narrow it down to one lure that I kept catching fish on but there would be other occasions where I would be junk fishing and catching bass on four or five lures or even all eight.
Junk Fishing In The Spring And Fall
I have noticed spring and fall are the best seasons for junk fishing because bass are on the move and you can catch those fish on a variety of lures and at different depths or different types of cover. Bass tend to be more predictable and stationary in the summer and winter so junk fishing is usually unnecessary because you can depend on one or two patterns to catch those fish.
Taking Out The Trash On Post Spawn Bass
The post-spawn is a prime time for junk fishing in the spring. A post-spawn junk fishing trip for me usually starts by throwing a Zara Spook along the spawning banks to catch male bass guarding fry. When the sun gets higher, I will skip a floating worm behind dock cables or pitch a jig into the shady areas of the docks.
By mid-day I move to the secondary or main lake points to drag a Carolina-rigged plastic lizard or creature bait along the bottom. During the heat of the afternoon, I will run a deep-diving crankbait along main lake points to catch post spawn bass relating to current created by power generation at the dam.
Bass gorging on shad in the fall is another prime time for junk fishing because the fish are scattered throughout the water column and can be tricked into biting a variety of lures. I usually start my fall junk fishing by throwing a buzz bait, topwater plug or a popping frog for bass busting shad in the shallows.
When the sun rises and starts creating shade on cover, I switch to burning square bill crankbaits into wood cover or swimming a jig along weed lines and the shaded areas of docks. If I see shad flicking on the surface in the afternoon, I will throw either a spinnerbait, lipless crankbait or a swimbait through the balls of baitfish to catch any bass lurking nearby.
When no particular pattern is producing on your favorite lake, junk fishing becomes your best option for catching more bass then.