Youngsters learn the game
MHS baseball and softball camps
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Incoming Mabank Junior High seventh-grader Carley Reedy makes
during a drill at the inaugural Mabank High School softball camp
Coach Mark Owen said the first camp drew 14 players. “We have
(including him), so the kids are getting a lot of one-on-one
coaching,” Owen said.
Don’t fish the trees – fish
the bottom structure, pro says
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The first lesson Todd Faircloth learned about
bass fishing in lakes filled with flooded timber was not to fish
the individual trees.
It’s a lesson the Yamaha pro admits was hard to accept,
especially while growing up near tree-filled Toledo Bend
Reservoir, but it has since served him well during more than a
dozen years of top-level tournament competition.
“No matter where you’re fishing, and as inviting as acres and
acres of trees in the water may look, don’t use your time trying
to retrieve your lures by as many of those trees as possible,”
Faircloth warned. “Very seldom will you catch many bass that
way, unless you just happen to stumble into them.
“Instead, concentrate on the bottom structure, such as channels,
points or high spots, and use the timber to tell you clues about
that bottom structure,” he advised.
Leaning timber, for instance, frequently outlines the edge of a
channel; a clump of trees taller than the surrounding timber may
indicate a ridge or high spot; and a well-defined open route
through the timber could mean a roadbed.
“Bass will use these features regularly,” the Yamaha pro pointed
out. “They’ll migrate down a roadway or gather on a high spot to
feed, and you fish them just like you would if the trees were
not even there.
“Bass will follow the edges of a treeline, too, the same way
they follow the edges of a grassline, so these are also good
places to fish, but again, you’re not fishing the individual
trees along that edge,” Faircloth said.
“Many times, the bottom contour or the composition changes along
that edge, so while I’m fishing I’m also studying my depthfinder
carefully,” he added. “I’ve located schools of bass concentrated
right at the point of a treeline, just like I’ve found them on a
regular point in a lake, but they’re not concentrated there
because of the trees.”
Only occasionally does Faircloth make an exception, and actually
aim a few casts to specific trees in the midst of a flooded
This is when he’s trying to identify what he describes as
“patterns within patterns,” and one of his favorites is finding
isolated trees or small clumps of trees located away from the
He was able to utilize a pattern like this to win the 2008
Bassmaster® Elite Series tournament at Lake Amistad, another
Texas reservoir where trees were left standing during
“I also like to look for larger trees when I’m idling along the
edge of flooded timber,” Faircloth said, “because the bigger
trunks are generally hard- woods, and while they usually grow in
low areas, they have more branches and limbs than the pines,
which tend to grow on the higher places.”
When he is fishing particular trees like this, Faircloth is also
looking for baitfish.
Their presence nearly always means bass are nearby, and if he
sees them on his depthfinder, he can often determine the depth
of water the bass themselves are using, and choose his lures
accordingly. If he doesn’t see baitfish, he won’t spend much
time in the area.
The Yamaha pro’s favorite lures for fishing lakes filled with
standing timber are crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms.
Faircloth especially likes to throw the shallow-running square
bill crankbaits along the outside edges, where he can bounce the
plug off the trunks and stumps.
Both the jig and the plastic worm are better suited for pitching
to individual trees, if he’s been able to identify either the
depth, a particular bottom feature or a certain type of tree
bass may be using.
“Flooded timber is hard for most bass fishermen to ignore
because it always looks so good,” Faircloth said. “Even after
all these years, I still have to resist the urge to throw a
spinnerbait or topwater lure out in the middle of an acre of
“I try to visualize the bottom first, however, both by what I
see in the trees themselves, as well as with my depthfinder, and
that’s what I concentrate on,” he said.