Posted by Kerry Grissett on April 19, 2003 at 22:56:42:
In Reply to: How to Find Them Bream Beds posted by Spurg Chapman on April 19, 2003 at 20:41:43:
Beds can take on many appearances. Most of them will have dark blotches in a "honeycomb" pattern if they are large beds. Some of them will actually have mussel shells on the individual beds with all of the shells white side up. If you find this type of bed, after you have fished it out or think you have fished it out, troll right over the top of it to see the beautiful work! The beds will be about the size of a 5 gallon bucket lid and immaculate! Usually this type of bed will hold BIG shellcrackers and bluegill from 3/4 to 2 pounds. The "shell" beds will also show up in clearer waters as a bright spot when the sun is high in the sky, depending on water clarity. I have actually spotted this type of bed (at mid-day on a windless day) from several hundred feet away!
Beds can be in water depths anywhere from about 1-8 feet of water, give or take. Early in the bedding/spawning season you can often spot beds by the mud being fanned up by the active fish. On Guntersville lake this can take on the appearance of a milky look in the middle of a large patch of millfoil. In other words, look for anything unusual in the water color in shallow areas. Use tiny artificial minnows, crickets or redworms under a tiny cork and if that doesn't work, cast them tightline directly on the suspected bed. Most bedding fish will hit, but sometimes won't. But, they all are fastidious about keeping the bed clean, so anything that actually lands in the bed will be picked up for removal by the bedding fish.
Another way to locate beds is to use "beetle spins" and other small jigs in order to cover a large area. I call this "chunking". It involves a lot of casting and retrieving, but can cover a lot of water in a small amount of time. If the fish are active you will catch a good sized bream doing this and locate beds. Once located, anchor the boat as far away as you can and still cast to it, then go to a cork to work the bed. One note, once you locate a bed, even if you actually troll over it, just pull out about 30 feet or more from it and anchor off. Give them some time to "unspook". If it is actually a bedding area, the fish will return and start to hit within a relatively short time. They won't run far from the beds and will defintely return. Also, if you are anchored too close and make much noise, like dropping pliers in the boat, they may very well quit hitting again. They haven't left the area, but can be very tough to catch if you make a lot of noise.
I hope this actually helps and also make sure to read Alex's article about Shellcrackers. The link is at the top of the NAFF index page under Fishing Articles by NAFF Contributors.
Good luck and good fishin'
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