"I just built this brush pile two days ago," said Marc Deschenes of Summerville, tossing a jig toward a clump of wax myrtle branches he had formed into fishing structure. "Let's see if there is anything..." and then he reared back and set the hook, which began a battle he quickly won against a chunky largemouth bass. Wonder why Deschenes has long been a proponent of creating your own fishing structure?
"Fish are going to concentrate on certain areas in any body of water, and they will swim right past others, but if you give them some structure to hang around, they will, so building brush piles is a sure-fire way to at least have an area to target that otherwise wouldn't be present," Deschenes said.
And, as he demonstrated, it doesn't take long for bass to find and use man-made structure. It also doesn't take long to build these structures. Deschenes, who operates VIP Adventures (843-708-5473), uses wax myrtle because they are commonly found along the shorelines of many South Carolina waterways. He puts five to six branches in a 5-gallon bucket, pours Quikrete mix into the bucket, adds water, then let's it sit for a day or two. Next, he loads the brush piles up on his pontoon boat and deploys them in his desired location. Deschenes said they sink like stones, and the buoyancy of the tree branches and leaves ensures they land standing up.
"I like to put five or six out and line them up with something onshore that stands out," he said, making them easy to locate and record on his depth finder.
Deschenes said one mistake many anglers make when building brush piles is they build them too large.
"When you build five or six small ones, then line them up, this gives you a handful of spots you can expect to get bites. You can make one cast and bring your lure by each pile. If you build one brush pile as big as a bus, the fish have so many nooks and crannies in that pile that you can't predict where to cast or where you're likely to get a bite," he said.
Over the past several years, Deschenes has placed over 100 brush piles on the Santee Cooper Lakes, and he refreshes them every year.
"No matter what time of year, or what the current fishing trend is, there will always be some fish hanging out on brush piles," said Deschenes, who has sunk hundreds of them on the ponds he manages for trophy bass at VIP Adventures.