How to Fish Rocky Areas for Bass

Riprap, or large rocks, are typically installed by humans on steeper banks leading up to lakes or ponds. These large rocks prevent erosion in rain storms and in areas of flowing water.

Riprap will typically continue down the shore and into a lake to account for water levels rising and falling as well as to help break up the water flow that could cause underwater erosion.

Fortunately for fishermen, bass and other fish love these rocks. They provide cover, shade, and stealth. Beyond that, since the rocks are typically installed in areas of water flow, they are rich in foods that bass seek out.

In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to fish the rocks for bass.

Tips for Fishing Rocky Areas for Bass

It’s important to be thorough when fishing in rocky areas for bass. As they are hiding behind rocks, they won’t see everything that floats over their head.

Cast your line multiple times in the same area. As you’re fishing in rocky areas, each time you cast your line it will take a slightly different path through the rocks. It may take a few times before a bass sees your lure.

One common mistake when fishing for bass around the rocks is not allowing your lure to sink deep enough. There should be total slack in the line. Don’t waste a cast by not letting your lures fall close to the bottom.

Rip Rap Along the Shore
“riprap” by Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Pay attention to the speed at which your lure falls. You can measure this with a trailer. You can also consider changing to a heavier or lighter head (or line).

Important things to look for

There are a few things that you should be looking for when fishing for bass in rocky areas:

Temperature

If the air or water temperature has been cooler over the past few days, then look for shallower areas. It’s likely these are the areas you will find bass trying to warm themselves when the sun comes up.

If it’s warmer, you’re looking for deep water and shadows. Bass will stick to these areas in the heat of the day trying to stay cool.

Look for trees

These are prime holding spots provided the thermocline is in your favor. Trees are popular and often hold big bully bass if you can get them to bite.

Sound is really important

Another tip for fishing bass is to add rattles to most of your jigs.

Slam your spinners off rocks and trees.

Slam cranks off the rocks too so you’re not pulling up weeds with every cast.

Choose your prime time

Figure out the best time to fish. You can do this by talking to locals. In most cases, you’ll notice locals not showing up until late evening time at around 6PM, with the sweet spot being around midnight.

When you see something different, fish there

Bass spend a lot of time in areas where there might be a change in depth, a ledge, or even a channel drop. Even next to a sloping bank or near a school of baitfish.

They tend to hang out here because of a few factors:

  • The temperature of the water
  • Where the forage is located
  • How much light is penetrating a certain area

Wind

The single most important factor to consider when fishing a rocky lake is wind. For example, when it’s dead-calm and sunny, the bite can be extremely slow.

When there’s a movement of forage or repositioning of baitfish (due to wind), bass sense a feeding opportunity and move in that area.

Wind also ushers bass to move from deep to shallow water.

What type of rod should I use?

In order to choose the ‘right’ rod weight for fishing bass, it will mostly come down to personal preference.

However, for fishing bass in rocky areas, you’ll likely want a medium-heavy rod with a moderate to fast action. But there isn’t anything saying this is required.

What type of reel should I use?

Stick with either a baitcaster or a spinning reel. There’s a lot of flexibility here so pick whichever you feel most comfortable with.

What type of line is best?

All three types of fishing line work for fishing for bass near the rocks. Which one you choose will be dependent on which type of lure you’re fishing and the water clarity.

Braid

Despite having a smaller diameter, braided line has incredible strength and is very castable. The downside is that the line is more visible than others. However, if you’re fishing in murky water, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Fluorocarbon

The great thing about fluorocarbon is that it’s hard to see and doesn’t stretch. The only disadvantage is that this line sinks so isn’t a good option for lures that float.

Monofilament

This isn’t very visible to bass, it’s castable and floats making it a great option for fishing bass. This line is a great option if you’re fishing with treble-hooked lures. This line holds up better around rocks and baits won’t drag on the bottom meaning more bites.

Best Lures for Fishing for Bass around the Rocks

Bass will eat just about anything they can get into their mouths. Here are some baits we’d recommend:

  • Flipping Jigs
  • Squarebill Crankbaits
  • Soft Plastics