Summer Bass Fishing Tip: How to Fish Stump Fields

On some timber choked lakes like Lake Fork and Toledo Bend, stump fields can harbor big bass even on the hottest days of summer. (Lynn Burkhead photo)

Fishing the occasionally lone stump is one thing, but trying to dissect acres upon acres of ‘it all looks good' wood-infested water can consume a lot of time with marginal results; heed these tips from a stump-field expert to point you in the right direction

In a good number of bass lakes around the country, stumps are often key spots holding a fish or two.

But on some lakes – Toledo Bend and Lake Fork come to mind – there are almost too many stumps to deal with, a gazillion or so it would seem.  So how does an angler go about turning a minefield of too many stumps into a goldmine of bass-catching potential?

Outdoor Channel personality and Bassmaster Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer, co-host of Pro Team Journal by Strike King on Outdoor Channel, says it often comes down to finding a preferred patch of aquatic real estate on a lake map or electronic chart.

"The reality about cover is that it’s usually best in proximity to structure, (underwater contour changes on the lake’s bottom),” said Niggemeyer. “So if there is a point with cover on it, that’s going to tend to be better than a point with no cover on it."

How does that apply to stump fields?

“I heard it once best said by another professional angler that you have to remove the distraction of all of the visual cover that you see, which is the wood, and just basically fish it structurally,” said Niggemeyer.

“What I mean by that is your points, your creek channels, your humps, your ditches and your drains that are on a flat or in a pocket," he added. “The wood actually becomes kind of a bonus, or a cherry on top. That actually becomes another drawing point to the area but that usually just sweetens up an already good area.”

How does an angler fish stumps from a lure standpoint?

At various times during the summer months, a walking topwater bait like a KVD Sexy Dawg, a buzzbait and/or a spinnerbait will all work depending on the conditions, the mood of the fish and how tight to cover they are holding. But oftentimes, there is no better bait than a jig, something that is true in the pre-spawn, the post- spawn and the dog days of summer.

"(At various times of the year), I like to throw a ½-ounce to ¾-ounce Hack Attack jig in either Okeechobee Craw or black-and-blue and put a Rage Craw on the back of it,” said Niggemeyer, an East Texas resident who excels at jig fishing stump-infested water bodies like Fork.

"I’d put it in my hand and probably duct-tape that rod to my hand and just stay with it," he added. "If I wanted to catch a giant, that’s probably what I’d do.”

Recommended for You

Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.


MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories


Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...


How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

More Fishing How-To

Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.


Get the Drop on Springtime Bass

Bill Schaefer - April 25, 2019

Once ridiculed as sissy fishing, drop-shotting and split-shotting are the go-to techniques for...

Fishing How-To

Reach Out for Shallow Crappie

Terry Madewell

Use long-pole techniques to catch more shallow crappie this spring.

See More Fishing How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.