Here’s a riddle for all you bass anglers. What’s manmade, contains heavyweight largemouth and receives little fishing pressure? – No, it’s not some new reservoir in a remote section of Mexico or Zimbabwe.
If you answered a mining strip pit or rock quarry, you’ve obviously already sampled these overlooked bass fishing treasures close to your home.
A lot of strip pits are untouched and just seem to breed large bass. Strip pits are usually on private property and big boats can’t go on them. So they don’t get the fishing pressure, which gives the bass a chance to grow big. Strip pits also hold plenty of aggressive bass in various sizes as I found out while fishing on some abandoned mining holes in western Missouri. Runoff from rains earlier in the week had turned the water off-colored and a cold front dropped the temperature into the 40-degree range when we descended into the pits. Yet despite the unfavorable conditions, I still managed to catch 25 bass with the largest weighing about 3 1/2 pounds. Our outing was rated as a slow day though because on good days strip pits can yield 40 to 50 bass per angler with possibly a dozen fish in the 5- to 8-pound range.
What Are Quarry Lakes (Strip Pits)
Strip pits or quarry lakes are unique bodies of water that feature really deep, steep banks that lead into some shallow water. The steep walls and clear waters of a strip pit cause bass to suspend most of the time, so it’s best to try paralleling the bank and working a lipless crankbait close to the walls. A lipless crankbait is ideal because it can be worked in the bass’ strike zone (usually 4 to 8 feet deep) longer than other lures.
Areas To Target While Fishing Quarry Lakes
Prime locations to fish for bass in gravel pits include rock shelves, any shallow sandy areas, laydowns and shoreline bushes that cast shade into the water. The rocky bottom of a pit is ideal for working a crawfish imitator. Try a 3 1/4-inch plastic craw on a football jig for bedding bass and switch to a 4-inch craw and football jig during the summer. Strip pit floors contain gravel or sand, so you can steadily drag the craw on the football head jig across the smooth bottom without hanging up. Retrieving a walking bait at a steady pace is another productive pit technique, especially if bass are suspended 10 to 12 feet deep.