By Chandler Parker
Special to BassFan

(Editor's note: BassFan will observe Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, so a new First Cast story will not appear until Tuesday.)

Bass love to ambush from cover and we spend lots of time fishing around rocks, old submerged stumps and vegetation in hopes of swinging one or more onto our boat.

You’ve likely tried several types of lures and techniques to entice strikes, with varying rates of success. One method that separates experienced anglers from novices is the ability to bump spinnerbaits off cover effectively.

Some approaches help reduce the chances of getting your lure fouled while placing it in the target area. Try some of the following ideas the next time you're on the water and see if they improve your success rate.

Don't Be Afraid To Lose 'Em

Maybe it started when you were a child and you lost a lure in a laydown that your dad told you to avoid. Or other anglers advise not making direct contact with vegetation to prevent fouling up a spinnerbait on the retrieve. Regardless, there’s one overarching principle here to keep in mind: Don't let the potential for lost tackle stop you from going where the fish are hiding.

Bumping cover gets you closer to bass and can help generate reaction strikes. You will lose more lures, but you are also placing your gear close enough that the fish does not need to burn lots of energy – or abandon its sense of security – for a meal.

Since we were young, we have had it drilled into us that making contact with cover is dangerous. Yet, we need to fish like the veteran anglers who are willing to take the risk of bumping cover in order to get more bass in the live well.

Match Tackle to Cover

Spinnerbaits are known to get bass to strike from nearly anywhere in the water, including when you're making contact with cover. Making minor tweaks to your tackle will help you fish more efficiently.

Your first consideration might be your line. Most anglers start with monofilament, and its shape provides an abrasion resistance that could be advantageous in some covers. It stretches and is weaker than other types, however. If you are fishing deep cover, consider a braided line that provides no stretch for better hooksets.

Many pros have switched to fluorocarbon, offering strength, less visibility, faster sink and increased abrasion resistance that is beneficial in most scenarios when you're bumping cover.

When it comes to the lure itself, blades can help or hinder your bumping technique. We learned early that the larger Colorado blades work great to pull lunkers out from cover, but those wide blades tend to foul up when they touch it. Switching to a narrower willow-leaf blade will let the spinnerbait penetrate matted weeds and other debris more readily, and one could argue the increased flash is more crucial this close to the bass than the extra vibration from a wider blade.

Weight is another consideration. We often use lighter spinnerbaits to move along the top of grass beds or the edges of the cover. A heavier spinnerbait lets you reach deeper for bumping rocky bottoms or near the roots of submerged stumps where bass love to hide. With these lures available in weights up to two ounces, you will also find a heavy enough spinnerbait to punch through cover and reach bass swimming freely below the surface.

Bumping Laydowns, Logs and Trees

Bumping from the top end of these structures will produce fewer snags, as many of the limbs will point in your direction as you retrieve the spinnerbait. The erratic movement made by the blades as they drop off from limbs will draw the attention of the bass snuggling between those limbs.

Cast 10 feet up the structure on your first throw, then move halfway along it on the second cast. You can then cast the whole length of the cover. That allows you to make several casts along the entirety without spooking fish on your first throw. Fishing the structure lengthwise instead of across the limbs lets you cover it more effectively.

Bump and Drop Among Rocks

Anglers associate rocks with smallmouth and striped bass that like to forage for crawdads, but largemouth bass use them for ambushing in deeper water or reservoirs with minimal cover. Bumping large boulders is a no-brainer, but trying to bump-fish across an entire rock bank is inefficient at best.

Let the rookies fish the entire bank; you want to focus on transition points that hold 80 percent of the fish in these areas. Look for changes in types or sizes in the substrate. In reservoirs with rock-covered shorelines, stepping a heavier spinner bait off one rock and letting it flutter down to the next ledge can stimulate strikes from predators looking at the wounded movement of your lure.

Bump Between Structure and Cover

Bass love to suspend in water between covers like lily pads and structures such as standing trees. You can flip your spinnerbaits into openings between them and let your lure drop into the water column before you begin your retrieve.

The braided fishing lines will float, making it easier to avoid hang-ups on stems or other floating debris. If you drop deep into murky water around stumps and standing trees, slower retrieves help with presentation. Pros like Jay Yelas describe this retrieval as cranking as slow as possible while keeping the blades moving and the spinnerbait deep.

Again, weight is your friend here, so start with 3/4- or 1-ounce lures to reach bass in these conditions.