How many times have you fished down a bank in the summer without a single bite, then you come across a lone log that just so happens to cast the perfect shadow in the water? One flip into that shady spot, and suddenly you’ve got the biggest bass of the day. Now, some anglers are going to assume that catching that fish means there are more bass in the area, and keep beating away at the same bank for a few hundred unproductive yards more. The smart ones will stop trying to find elaborate answer as to why they aren’t getting more bites and see the obvious answer in front of their face; the shade. And then the smart ones will avoid non-shady pieces of bank all together and just focus on the dark spots. It seems so simple, but actually, not all shade is created equally.
Just as we like shade on a hot day, so do the fish. And just as we can find shade in a variety of places, so can the bass. They can either seek refuge in deeper water with less light penetration, or find something shallow that casts a good shadow. A smarter-than-average bass angler can take the shade hunt a step further and decipher how much or how little shade is just the right mix to attract both a bass and make the fish easy targets. For example, say you have the choice to fish an entire cove full of docks or a cove that has only one dock. You can spend the time picking apart every bit of shade in the cove with lots of docks, or hit the isolated shade, because you know any bass in the that cove will be holding there. If you think about it, it’s really a one-stop-shaded-shop as opposed to an entire mini mall.
Another way a good summer bass angler determines quantity potential around shade is by feeling out the other bas-attracting features in the area. One fat bass caught in the shade of a lone log could mean two or three other bass if another variable sets that log up even better. For example, add some green aquatic vegetation to the area, or an abundance of bass-friendly forage, and it makes good shade have even better quantity potential.