EverStart pro Randy Haynes set Rose on fire with ledge fishing. (Photo by Rob Newell)
27.Dec.2010 by Rob Newell
‘Deep thoughts’ with Mark Rose
If you are a ledge-lumbering bass on a TVA impoundment and it’s summer or early fall, chances are
Mark Rose is watching you. Armed with a total of five depth finders in his boat, Rose brings a whole new meaning to the term “invasion of privacy” for offshore bass.
I realize Rose did not invent ledge fishing, and he’s not the first pro to win a tournament cranking ledges. I will contend, however, that Rose is certainly on the forefront of ledge-fishing tools and technology. He knows more than most about the new era of electronics as well as how and when to apply the latest in ledge-fishing lures.
His deep knowledge paid off handsomely this year with a runner-up finish at the Lake Guntersville FLW Tour event and a win at the FLW Series on Chickamauga.
Ironically, Rose used to be a river man who was much more inclined to jump sandbars and stump rows in an aluminum boat than to fish anywhere beyond the 5-foot contour line.
Then, several years ago, Rose met Randy Haynes of Counce, Tenn. For the last few years, Haynes has dominated the offshore ledges at Pickwick in tournament competition and has two EverStart wins to prove it.
Once Haynes showed Rose what it was like to catch 20 pounds of bass off a ledge in about seven casts, Rose became consumed with the allure of ledge fishing. He began frequenting Pickwick, Guntersville and Kentucky lakes, spending countless hours graphing, scanning and fishing ledges, absorbing every last possible drop of offshore knowledge he could uncover.
When asked about the friendship, Haynes commented, “Yeah, I got Mark started on ledge fishing, but I can’t claim credit for where he has taken it from there. He has really put his time in on the water to better understand the power of these new electronics, and he’s done his homework on trying different lures on ledge bass.
“Since I showed him what a good ledge looked like several years ago, he has more than returned the favor by telling me some key things he has discovered about ledge bass that I didn’t know.”
Rose’s new obsession with ledges points to a larger phenomenon in successful tournament fishing: finding a technique that fires you up about fishing again.
In order to compete at the highest levels, it takes 100 percent dedication and focus. In the early stages of a fishing career, this comes naturally. But for pros who have been at it for the better part of 15 years, staying motivated can become problematic, and a new technique that rekindles the competitive fires can sometimes be what it takes to get the ‘A’ game going again. Such is the case with Mark Rose and ledges.
His approach to ledge fishing is impressive, starting with the management of information available from today’s modern electronic units. There is so much information available that Rose has two Lowrance HDS-8 units in his front deck so he can monitor every bit of it at all times.
The primary reason Rose employs two units is to use two different GPS mapping software programs simultaneously and see their detailed differences side by side. According to Rose, one program sometimes contains topographical information that the other one does not and vice versa – almost like comparative ledge shopping in real time. In addition, he will “split the screen” on both units so he can also run StructureScan, DownScan and Sonar – or any combination of the three – at the same time.
While most anglers use StructureScan and DownScan to get a better look at physical structure on the bottom, Rose takes it a step further by using it to observe actual schools of fish and deciphering what mood the fish are in based on the StructureScan images.
For instance, on StructureScan, a tight school that is actively feeding looks different than a scattered school that is just “hanging out.” A pod of shad being “chased” looks different than a pod of shad that is “relaxed.”
Knowing which lures to throw and when is another advantage Rose has gained on the ledges. He has spent large amounts of time on TVA lakes perfecting the tried and true football jigs and crankbaits while tweaking new-school offerings like the big spoon and swimbait.
Rose’s summation of ledge fishing on TVA lakes is that bass will bite anything when the current is running and the fish are feeding. When ledge fishing becomes a true challenge is when the current stops, the bass scatter, suspend and just kind of cruise ledges in a neutral mood.
Rose has found weekends to be brutal on TVA lakes because the current usually stops, the water clears (from no current), and weekend traffic and local fishing pressure take over.
“To me the real test of a great ledge fisherman is a guy who can still catch them on the weekends,” said Rose after winning the Chickamauga event this year. “I’m getting better at it, but in my opinion, I still have a lot to learn in terms of activating those nonactive schools.”
Rose will admit, however, that the big spoon and the swimbait are becoming real allies in terms of getting a neutral bass to bite and consequently firing a school up.
“I used to be more of a jig man,” Haynes said. “But Mark has taught me a lot about that spoon and the crankbait for getting a reaction bite and igniting the school.”
With his last win at Pickwick, Haynes noted one of the keys to his victory was being aware of how fishing pressure essentially pushed schools up and down ledges from one holding spot to the next. Though the primary spot might already be covered up with other boats, knowing where those fish are going to move to and waiting for them farther down the ledge on a less-pressured spot is where the ledge battle is headed to next.
And there’s little doubt Rose and Haynes have had many discussions about that very topic.
Read the full article on FLWOutdoors.com