The Edge: Obvious, invisible, and electric locations to catch every species of fish
Let’s talk about the most important, ubiquitous structure in the realm of freshwater fishing: edges. An edge is anything that’s changed in the water column or the bottom that might hold and attract fish. It can be where a hard bottom meets a soft bottom, or any other a transition area. It might be the inside/outside edges of weedlines or a sand splotch.
Fish relate to edges! It’s a route, almost an underwater road or security blanket. Fisheries researchers have studied this in a number of ways. One study placed fish in a round tank, then ran a line of black electrical tap along the bottom. Fish instantly related to the line, venturing away to feed, but returning to this home “edge” for safety.
Wind lines are legitimate edges, especially for bass fishing, say around a bend where it’s breaking the wind on one side. These are prime angling spots! Algae blooms often set up in a wind line, slowly dissipating for 50 meters or more. In spring, turbid mud lines also will set up in a similar fashion.
Fish will also relate to water temperature changes or even the thermocline edge. That’s an edge, folks.
I usually work my lures parallel to edges just as many of you probably have with the most obvious of edges: the weedline. When working an edge, always start at the outside part and work in to avoid spooking fish. Noise is a big factor in fishing, and bass and walleyes use edges to avoid such disturbance.
Boat control and electronics are key when relating to edges. Keep an open mind when searching for them, but trust me, edges exist on all lakes.