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Scott McGlinchey's Fishing Report

Bass Fishing Current Breaks

Published on February 13, 2020

Now is the time to fish current breaks! The TVA and Army Corps of Engineers are releasing a lot of water now and will continue to do so for several more days.

Breaks in the current are great places to catch feeding and holding bass. I have had many of my best days catching numbers of big bass during the winter and other seasons while fishing current breaks.

My first experience at fishing current breaks from a boat involved taking float trips down the White River north of Indianapolis, IN catching smallmouth, largemouth, and spotted bass.

Five years later I found myself fishing the many current breaks on Wheeler Lake in Alabama. Wheeler had current breaks you could fish any day due to narrow areas and having some current present in those locations every day.

Here at Kentucky and Barkley Lakes current can vary. A little more current can be present on Barkley and both Barkley and Kentucky Lake will have more current in the upper ends where the lake is narrow. During times of heavy rainfall the TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers will release more water to keep lake levels appropriate for the season. When that occurs there can be some magical current break fishing!

So what constitutes a current break? There are many different types of current breaks. Here are some simple types:

  • Boulders the size of a basketball or bigger
  • Large underwater stumps
  • A laydown tree
  • Roadbeds that are elevated
  • The downstream side of a hump or creek channel
  • A rock pile
  • The downstream side of an underwater point
  • Main lake points at creek mouths
  • Underwater foundations and bridges
  • Tiny sand/gravel main lake points

Some current breaks like points, boulders, stumps, or other obstruction will create an eddy where the water swirls around and may even go back upstream for a short distance. Some current breaks are dependent upon the water level or the amount of water being released through the dam.

Current breaks can change often but some can be there every single day. One of my favorite current breaks is an underwater rock dike that has current going over it daily and you can catch a limit of bass from it any day. This break is along a rip-rap bank on Wheeler Lake and has deep water on the up and down stream side. The bass hold in the down stream side and have an area of 30 yards where they will be every day of the year.

Bass can locate in different parts of a current break. Where they will be or will strike bait can change depending on the amount of current and water level. Some of the best baits to use are spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and worms.

My favorite bait is is a jig because of its versatility or a worm during the warmer months. It takes an incredible amount of skill and patience to work a jig or worm through heavy current and any type of rocks. Once you make a cast you have to know how long to let your bait sink and then literally swim it through the rocks, letting it pause for just a second or two so as not to snag.

What to look for? Look for the current! Look upstream and ask yourself if the flowing water will impact this location. Also look for an eddy - and then look for the seam in that eddy. You may have to make a lot of casts to find the sweet spot where the fish will bite.

Occasionally large stumps can hold as many as twenty big bass. However, usually they will only hold one or two. If you have a pattern keep hitting more stumps and keep in mind depth is not the factor - current is. Larger current breaks like points of any type, large rock-piles, or roadbeds can hold a load of bass while the current is present. This happens because the break and/or eddy encompasses a large enough area to hold many baitfish and bass!

Fishing current breaks is usually not easy. It is easier to find the breaks than actually working your bait through the rocks, structure, or roots of stumps without getting snagged every cast. You have to learn the structure by feel and with trial and error.

You will know when you have mastered fishing in heavy current when you've caught a whole lot of bass in quick time without getting snagged to much. Keep in mind heavy current is not an issue for any fish. They can swim through it and do what ever they want in the current. Current breaks create an excellent opportunity for bass to hold and ambush baitfish. These breaks create an unbelievable opportunity for the angler to load the boat!


Scott McGlinchey's Bio

Owner of Shelldiver Guide Service in Dexter, Ky., Scott specializes in largemouth bass fishing on Kentucky Lake. In addition to teaching new techniques for clients, Scott also helps prepare tournament anglers. He's got 30 years of fishing experience and frequently posts photos of catches and underwater shellbeds on his Facebook page. Search for Shelldiver Guide Service on Facebook.

Scott's report covers both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

Scott McGlinchey
Shelldiver Guide Service
shelldiver1@gmail.com
317-440-2934
www.ShellDiversGuide.com

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