Laydown trees hold bass in pretty much all seasons and conditions, and whenever I approach one, my mind is racing a mile a minute trying to decipher the best presentation angle, lure choice, and precise location for the first cast. After all, it’s that first cast or pitch that typically triggers a strike or spooks the resident tree-dwelling bass. I know for me (and I’m sure you’d agree), most of the big bass I catch off laydowns don’t come from an easy spot to reach. I feel like I always have to scratch and claw for those big bites. Big bass, I’ve found, are usually hiding out in the thickest portion of the tree, most likely because they feel secure before and after ambushing prey from that location. So why not cast there first, right? Because many bass anglers are simply too scared.
The mind instantly starts firing questions like, “will I get hung up if I cast in there?” or “can I get a fish out of there if I hook it?” The answers are important, but not as important as getting the bite first. A trophy fish did not get that big by being caught by every angler that flings a spinnerbait within 10 feet of the tree. Sure, in certain transitional seasons like spring, you may catch an aggressive biggun that is uneducated to a laydown perimeter cast. But what I’ve found is that even if you feel that using a bait that will draw fish out of the cover is going to catch a few, you better go for the throat and put something in the nastiest spot first in an attempt to get the resident lunker to commit right away. If you cast to the outside and the big girl follows without eating, your chance may have just been blown. She might not move on anything again.