After Christie locates the area(s) he wants to fish, he begins trying to piece the puzzle together. In the spring he keeps bait selection simple, he’s either going to throw a Booyah Covert Spinnerbait and flip a War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu Flipping Jig or a Texas-rigged Christie Critter. The size, weight and blade combination may change but those two techniques are always on his boat deck. As fish become more active he keeps a topwater honest; a Heddon Super Spook or a Booyah Pad Crasher are his confidence baits here.
Christie uses these lures to sample different types of cover available, noting that while a flooded shoreline may look like a tangled jungle, there are always some spots better than others.
“There is always a pattern within a pattern in high water,” Christie explained. “Some days they want to be in the thickest part of the bush, others they may swarm new growth (green limbs or leaves in the water) or you’ll notice you get bit every time you come across a horizontal laydown in the water. They might be in the deepest bushes or the ones in the dirt. If you get more than one bite on a specific type of cover, it’s no accident.
“The conditions help dictate where those bass want to be but you might miss what they are telling you if you aren’t paying attention. I’ve had days where there might be a thousand great looking bushes in the water but the fish want to set up on barren pole timber, right at the base of a big tree. Heck, I’ve seen them get on rocks instead of wood in flooded conditions. Keep an open mind and fish what’s in front of you until you get some bites and the light bulb clicks on.”
Similar to fishing grass, Christie focuses on anything different before he has dialed into where the fish want to be; a single willow tree in the middle of bushes, an isolated piece of cover, flooded structure on a point or a row of bushes slightly deeper than the rest. These are what he considers high-percentage areas, helping him quickly clue into what he needs to be targeting.