By Josh Boyd
Few things are of such value to an avid fisherman as a well-guarded, secret honey-hole, from which their species of choice can be pulled with unrelenting regularity. Many fishermen would readily provide their bank account identification credentials before giving out the coordinates to a beloved spot of this nature.
This invokes thought as to why such locations seem to produce limits of fish day in and day out, with almost an eerie consistency. There is almost certainly a reason why such spots are so relentless in their delivery of productive days on the water. What could this reason be and how does another angler replicate this level of success?
Obviously, the fish at these locations have an underlying reason for their presence. Something is attracting and holding these fish, and seemingly in good numbers.
It is common knowledge that fish of a multitude of varieties relate heavily to structure. Fish love holding to structure because this allows them adequate shelter from larger fish species that are of a predatory nature, and also has the added benefit of harboring relatively high numbers of baitfish that are utilized as a food source.
Forms of structure vary extensively between bodies of water. Rock outcroppings, dock and bridge pilings, tree laydowns, brush piles, and man-made structures such as remnants of old roadbeds, are all excellent sources of structure that fish relate to. However, purposefully positioned man-made structure plays a role as well.
The aforementioned anglers, who frequent a particular spot, pulling fish after fish from these locations, are undoubtedly fishing in areas of known structure. However, they seem to have an uncanny ability to capitalize on the same locations time and time again, as if they have insider knowledge of what lies beneath.
In many cases, they do. They are often the ones who placed the structure on which they are fishing.
The placement of fish attractors is a highly effective way of holding fish in a given location. Anglers commonly place attractors in locations that they are familiar with and that allow for frequent return visits to reap their benefit. These locations can become highly predictable in their level of fishing productivity.
Man-made fish attractors can come in a nearly endless array of forms. There is typically no right or wrong way to construct a fish attractor, as long as it facilitates the end goal of providing relatable structure for the fish that you seek.
Perhaps the most popular form of a fish attractor is of a brush or brush pile variety. Many anglers make a yearly ritual out of constructing brush piles from downed trees and shrubs to create fish habitat. In many cases, each piece of the brush is interwoven with a like counterpart to create a pile of structure, built to the desired size.
Alternatively, many anglers choose to take single “Christmas trees”, or other shrubbery and tie these units off to a weighted source to hold them in their designated location. These weight sources are most commonly in the form of concrete blocks or similar fixtures. This type of fish attractor can be sunk at a particular site, or placed in a strategic location to await higher water levels.
Another popular form of a man-made fish attractor is a stake bed. Stake beds are structure items characterized by a series of wooden stakes at varying lengths that are attached at a common base and placed for fish attraction.
These stakes are commonly attached to a heavy wooden frame in a manner that creates a pattern of cover for the fish that inhabit it. Alternatively, many anglers place a series of stakes into a five-gallon bucket as desired, then fill the bucket with quick hardening cement. This allows for a basis of structure that will also be held in place due to its weighted characteristics.
Other anglers choose to build fish attractors out of synthetic materials such as PVC. There are several advantages to this method. One such advantage is that attractors built from synthetic material allow an angler much freedom in the customization of their design. Nearly any configuration or arrangement of structure can be facilitated through the use of these materials.
Another advantage of the use of synthetic materials when building a fish attractor is that these units, due to the materials used, are highly resilient and long-lasting. PVC and other similar materials do not succumb to the same rot and weathering that wood and brush used in other similar units do.
When placing fish attractors, it is valuable to consider how to get the most bang for your buck. You will likely yield little return on your investment if your attractor is placed in close proximity to other structures that will harbor fish in substantial numbers.
Instead, you are likely to see much benefit from placing your newly built attractor in an area that is relatively void of sufficient structure. This will tend to draw a greater number of fish to your man-made structure and make your attractor a destination for many species of fish that frequent the area.
It is also worth noting that consideration should be given as to accessibility when placing fish attractors. If fishing from the bank, ensure that attractors are placed within casting distance of a location in which you can reach. The best attractor in the world does little good if you cannot reach its location to benefit from its placement.
If you will be accessing your fish attractor by way of boat, it is advisable to mark its location by way of GPS waypoint. Even if you are relatively familiar with the location in which you have placed your attractor, it is easy to be off the mark when returning to fish, especially in less than ideal weather conditions where wind causes boat drift and points of reference are obscured.
When building any fish attractor, make sure that you have referenced all pertaining laws. Some states, or individual bodies of water, have laws pertaining to acceptable placement of man-made structures or prohibited building materials.
This winter, get a jump on your springtime fishing success. With a little hard work and ingenuity, you can construct a fish attractor that will pay dividends well into the future. In short order, your continual good fishing fortune will be the talk of the local bait shop.