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THIS VETERAN PRO LIKES TO FISH ROCKS

Posted 9/16/2009

Even though he's a three-time FLW® Angler of the Year and has competed successfully on different types of lakes all over the United States, Yamaha pro Clark Wendlandt admits having a special preference for fishing rocks.

"Rocks, especially the long rock walls we know as riprap, offer a lot of fishing possibilities, particularly because they attract several different types of forage bass can feed on," explains Wendlandt. "Small minnow feed on the algae that grows on the rocks, crawfish hide in the little crevices between the rocks, and even shad come into the rocks during the summer to spawn.

"Bass instinctively know this, so you can generally always find some fish around them, and if deep water is nearby, you'll have a good chance for a big bass, too."

Wendlandt likes early morning buzz baits, followed by crankbaits and soft plastics when he's fishing rocks. With these three lures, he can quickily and efficiently cover various water depths and present different retrieve speeds until he identifies how the fish are feeding.

"One of the most overlooked aspects of fishing any riprap walls you find on a lake are fishing the ends," emphasizes the Yamaha pro, "because these areas represent transition zones, which are always important to fish. You may find a hard bottom, brush, grass, or a breakline that's not present on the rocks themselves. In the spring, bass may spawn around the ends of the riprap, and during the summer any vegetation there will add cover and oxygen."

Wendlandt also emphasizes the importance of early morning fishing around the rocks because bass will be more shallow then, and often feeding. It's a good time to use a buzz bait.

"I like to make long casts parallel to the rocks, retrieving slowly but steadily and gradually covering deeper water," he explains. "If the riprap forms any type of corner, or if it has any unusual cover, such as a tree or log lodged in it, I'll really work them carefully. 
"I like buzz baits, but other topwater lures will also work well."

Later in the day Wendlandt may alternate between crankbaits, plastic worms, and jigs. With the crankbait he also makes long parallel casts, bouncing the lure off the rocks as we probes different depths. Depending on the lake and the size of the bass, he may use a swimbait the same way.

"Plastic worms aren't the most efficient lures for fishing rocks because the sinkers often get snagged," the Yamaha pro acknowledges, "but if the bass are on the ends of the rocks, or if you can swim the lure down the slope of the rocks, then worms can certainly be effective.

"A lot of pros I compete against also fish riprap with jigs, casting toward the shallow rocks and swimming and bouncing the jig out into deeper water. If the bass aren't hitting a worm, I'll use a jig, but overall, crankbaits probably offer the most versatility."