Many anglers know the frustration of fishing super clear strip pits. Don’t fret though, we are here to offer a little bit of comforting advice.
Bass being the ambush predator they are, their sense of vision is of utmost importance. This keen vision serves bass in a variety of ways, but particularly aids in locating viable food, which can cause trouble for some anglers. There are some ways to exploit the environment though, but before you can do that you must first understand what the environment consists of.
When planning a trip on a strip pit it will often be hard to find a bathymetric map, so a pre-flood map may be the way to go. Once you get ahold of one of these maps you will want to mark structure like the roadway going in and out of the pit, undercuts, and anything that may create a transition line. You may also want to look for springs as they offer a source of oxygen, cover in the form of vegetation is often sparse so springs may be your best bet for this vital resource. Lastly, wind will be a rather large factor, try to stay to the side of the body of water the wind is blowing toward because visibility will be lower and baitfish may stack up on this side of the lake.
Using The Environment
Strip pits are a rather unique body of water in that they offer clear water in a man-made location. When fishing these bodies of water many anglers will struggle during the day but yet they will produce heavily at night due to reduced visibility. For the sake of being general let’s assume you will be fishing during the day time.
As stated in the pre-fishing section strip pits will often have roadways, undercuts, and may even have submerged machinery but vegetation is often rare but not unheard of. An area you may want to focus on is the side of the road as they will offer a transition line that bass will use to travel, much like people. Bass will also collect on any vegetation that is in the body of water because it will offer a source of oxygen and cover to hide in while awaiting prey. When the mine was in operation it more than likely produced some structure that have become undercuts since the flooding, bass will often move here to get into the shade. Finally, if you have a depth finder handy or you know where the thermocline is, bass will often congregate on cover and structure very near the thermocline.
Now that you have an idea of where to start looking you can start to select tackle. There is a lot of products out there that will perform but for the price of some of them they might be a no-go for most anglers. Don’t worry though, while we like to fish California style for bass in these lakes we often can keep the price down by using rubber swimbaits, wacky rigging, and drop shotting. When we feel like throwing a hardbait though we like to toss a Chrome Sexy Shad Red Eye, recently though we got ahold of some baits from a company called Jackall, do yourself a favor and check them out. We also advise hooking up a fluorocarbon rig for this style of fishing because of the line’s ability to refract light similar to water.
Putting it all together
Overall fishing a strip pit can be a pain but with the right thought process you can fish it successfully, and isn’t that all we really want? Before you hit the water be sure to get the maps out, look them over, and mark your spots. After you do that it is really all about experimenting to see what matches your style. Hope this information helped you guys and gals, now let’s see those strip pit bass!