From the early days when I was a beginner bass fisherman, I often heard stories about deep underwater springs that harbored the mother lode of bass during the summer. These tales both captured my imagination and, quite honestly, caused me to waste a good bit of search time on the water over the years. Don’t take that statement the wrong way, because I have found some truth to the cool-spring-water fables, but in many of those instances, those locations were more obvious than secret.
The idea that bass gravitate to springs pumping cool water is certainly factual, and I’ve definitely found my share. For example, in Florida’s St. Johns River, I’ve caught lots of bass around some large (and really obvious) clear water springs. But not all spring are that obvious. Transitions on bluff walls are fairly routine places to find some spewing cool spring water. Next time you drive down a highway that’s been blasted to make room for the road, pay attention to the rock walls on either side of you…you’ll often notice little trickles and seeps. The same goes for bluff walls on the water.
As for anglers that claim to be able to locate springs on the bottom in 20 to 30 feet or more, I’m skeptical. I’m also skeptical of how much difference a spring at that depth is going to attract bass anyway, because water that deep is going to naturally be cooler. All you have to do to figure that out is take a dive off you’re buddy’s dock in summer and feel the difference about five feet down. I’ve heard guys say they use their electronics to find springs similarly to how you mark the thermocline. I’ve even heard about castable thermometers that are meant to provide pinpoint temperature differences in the abyss. I’m sure they work, but before you go down this path, be mindful that if you’re readings are going to be accurate, you’d have to cast the thermometer to a loads of similar depths outside of the area you believe is a spring. In short, it’s a ridiculous amount of work given that there is no decisive proof that bass even care about a deep spring. Find a shallow spring, and you’ve found some summer money.