Like a bass, changes in the contour of the bottom play a role in where you will find them at different times of the year and even as they are transition from areas in the same season.
For instance, when we found our winning scrape of shellcrackers, I found a bluegill bed up shallow with a visible ditch between us and the bed. The ditch was 4 feet. The bed was in maybe 1 1/2 feet of water.
After catching some bluegills off the bed, I pulled the worm down into the ditch and caught a nice shellcracker. My partner, Will Robey, Operations Manager for Jenko Fishing, and someone I consider a shellcracker whisperer of sorts, followed suit with a really nice shellcracker and then he lost a giant over 2 pounds. Then he proceeded to steadily pluck them out of the ditch.
As I watched on my electronics, they were funneling up and down the ditch, I believe foraging on mussels and snails and staging in a last prespawn spot before they made their push to go bed. To say we knew it was the winning area was a lie.
We fished our way into it and expanded out to find shellcrackers up and down the ditch. Again not a big contour change, but a noticeable and substantial change considering how shallow everything around it was. The substrate of the bottom composition changed as well and that could have been key for more snails in that area.
Of that, I can’t be certain. I can be certain, however, there was food and fish in that contour. I have seen that over and over again where shad pile into a ditch or a small creek channel and the bass pile in there with them. Those drains hold fish all year long as long as they hold food.