Beyond these depth variances, Combs looks for any irregularities, such as hydrilla, dollar pads or any other vegetation growing amid the pad stems. Two types of cover are always better than one, he says.

Stumps, laydowns and duck blinds are also bass magnets in a stem field.

“There may only be one piece of cover, like a laydown, in the pad field, but it can repopulate hourly,” Combs said. “Also, a small void, the size of a house or the size of a truck and boat, can be a productive area. 

“I think it’s a little ridge that was out of the water when the pads were growing during the summer and fall. The pads won’t grow with no water, so that creates a void and I’ve seen beds all around the perimeter of something like that.”