Rake The Break: Reading Contours For White Bass
Editor's note: This blog installment comes from Fishhound pro staffer Bob Maindelle.
In the previous article I talked about the importance of a hump and how white bass utilize a hump. In this update, I want to talk about breaklines.
First, conjure this mental picture: Envision two flat platforms (or theater stages) placed parallel to one another – one higher than the other, let's say 15 vertical feet higher. The two platforms are separated by a distance of about 60 feet horizontally.
Now envision a ramp connecting the two platforms. That's essentially what a breakline is – a ramp or slope connecting a shallower flat area to a deeper flat area.
As you look at a lake map or study the maps built into your sonar unit, breaklines will appear as parallel contour lines that are relatively tight together (the depth "breaks" more quickly). Flats of course will have lines that are located relatively further apart.
The above screenshot shows contour lines bunched closely together, which indicates the presence of a breakline. That breakline connects two flats – one flat is around 44 feet deep (marked "shallow flat"), the other around 68 (marked "deep flat"). Those flats are the two theater stages and the breakline is the plank that connects them. That plank occurs where the contour lines are close together, and I marked that with the dark black lines.
The yellow line in the photo shows my boat track as I weaved over the up-and-down of the breakline looking for fish. I places waypoints #344 and #835 into my GPS when I found fish at the top edge of this breakline.
When breaklines hold active fish, those active fish tend to gather at the top of the breakline, where the slope (aka ramp) transitions into the shallower flat. Breaklines can be quite lengthy, and the fish may hold on just a small section of the breakline. Therefore, weaving back and forth in a serpentine pattern, watching your sonar and searching the entire length of a breakline for fish, is an effective technique.
During the summer months in lakes where stratification occurs or where a true thermocline exists, fishing breaklines at, or just shallower than the depth where the thermocline intersects the lake's bottom along the breakline can be very productive.
Fishing parallel to the breakline by trolling or downrigging helps cover a lot of water quickly in this regard.
Whether fish are on the top of the break of the bottom, rake that break to hunt out the whites.
Bob Maindelle owns and operates Holding the Line guide service in Salado, Texas – just on the edge of the Texas hill country. He views the pursuit of fish – especially species like white bass – as a lifelong challenge that tests the mind, body and will. Over the past 20 years he's logged more than 1,600 trips during which he and his clients have boated more than 51,000 fish. Catch up with him at HoldingTheLineGuideService.comor send him an email at Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com.
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