We know the rig has proven itself to be a staple for vertical fishing, so it would only make sense it would also work casting to the same fish once they stop biting under the boat, right? Maybe the fish are set up a little too shallow to fish vertically or are scattered due changing weather conditions or increased boat pressure. 

The fish on the lakes I guide on (Lake Lanier, Hartwell & Chatuge) have taught me many things over the years. But one of the most important things is that they are very aware of your presence most times. I’d say they are more wary of shadows and sonar noise than any bass I’ve experienced anywhere in the country. I know many of my friends on tour will attest to that as well. With these lakes being constantly pressured and the regional headquarters for guys trying out the latest and greatest electronics, they can certainly be fickle sometimes.

Anglers often view fish in 20 or 30 feet of water as “deep” or “far away”. When in reality, it’s not much different that you standing at the trolling motor and catching a fish right behind the outboard.

Let that sink in for second. They’re not far away.

You’ll find that casting and working the areas thoroughly where you’ve marked fish can be highly effective while showing them a different look from traditional bottom baits.  I’ll often use this casting method to target boat docks, isolated grass beds, bridge columns or other vertical structure around which fish may suspend during the year. I’ll also use it to cover flats where spawning bass set up a little too deep to see, all the way out to the structure-oriented fish I referred to above that have simply had enough pressure from fancy electronics all year long. 

Regardless of the depth you’re fishing , showing them something different that naturally rests right above the bottom can unlock schools of bass that seem unresponsive to anything else. The key part to this is to use a variety of retrieve styles to determine how they want it. I’ll try a slow drag-and-stop if there’s wave action or current available or a light shake-and-pause if it’s fairly calm. Often times the one key factor is making sure the weight always stays in contact with the bottom and the rig isn’t being pulled around too much. Mix it up but always pay close attention to how you’re fishing it when the bites occur.