KEEP IT NICE, avoid the steel.

In an Olympic sense, fencing is a non-lethal version of combative sword fighting. In the bass game, fencing is often a series “lances” aimed at your defenseless gelcoat. It’s no wonder Lake Elsinore visitors would rather catch less than do battle with this real steel.

And hey. I get it. With apologies to Robert Frost, there’s something in a new boat that wants to keep it that way. But whether good fences make for good neighbors or not, even old, rusty fences with unseen hazards lurking just below the water’s surface–make very good bass targets.

The question then becomes, can you catch fish off these boundary markers (some dating back to a dry lake bed) and still maintain hull integrity? I think you can–pretty much–with an approach I’ve kind of developed as a longtime “test pilot.”

LOOK closely for the poles. Also note the property boundary.

It’s not absolutely foolproof (I ran hard up on top of a submerged roller dock earlier this week and got the head of the trolling motor stuck in a hole in the planking) but for true fence lines on obvious property boundaries it works pretty well. Of course, it takes boat control.

The guy who usually picks up some scratches, is the one who thinks he will get on the end of the fence where he can throw down both sides.  Unfortunately,  there is often a steel pole you don’t see–maybe even two or three beyond what you thought was the end.

And the real damage occurs not when you first hit one, but when you try to get away or “off” the spear point. You shift weight, turn the troll motor and without knowing exactly where the contact is, you scrape and gouge–or turn the boat so the hull finds other fence poles you didn’t see coming in.

45 DEGREE angle approach. Note last visible pole tip to right of TM. You can still get close and cast down either side of the fence.

You can avoid most of this. First, unless it’s dead calm on the lake, approach from downwind side. You hit something with your troll motor prop, you stop and drift back.

Fences still intact are not as big a problem. But remnant, isolated poles may be leaning over or because of generations of fence repair, may not be the same height or the same alignment as the originals.  Since I usually want to fish the shallowest sections of the fences–usually one to three feet deep (occasionally out to four) I approach at a 45 degree angle to a spot somewhere between the last two visible poles.

I nose up there because I can see the hazards. At a 45 degree angle, I can cast down the near side, then nudge forward in the gap and cast down the other. I don’t get surprised by a hidden pole because I set up where I can see the next potential problem. (Kind of like you don’t hit mailboxes with safety reflectors–you can see them).

A REWARD for good fencing…

But if the wind is swirling, at that 45 degree angle approach I have less hull exposed to the steel and I can back out to reposition.

While I have marked waypoints on my Lowrance for key fence poles that run out beyond the norm, the fact is, even if the water level rises and hides more of the spikes, I can pretty much avoid the steel.

You can do the same–or stay off that side of the lake. I’ll practice fencing by myself.





8 Responses to “Avoiding the ‘real steel’ at Elsinore”

flirting with the submerged fence lines is always fun at night while electrofishing

by George Kramer

And for a good cause, too. 😉

So did you and Rusty manage to avoid all the fences today or are you trying to tell us something? 🙂

by George Kramer

Only casualty was the 12-pound test in the brambles…

by Michael Jones

Kramer is being too modest about his trolling motor incident. I was there and darn it if the old man of Elsinore didn’t go in chest deep to get the trolling motor detached. It was wedged into a hole so tight, I don’t think you could have got it in there with a thousand more tries. Absolutely a weird, one-in-a-million shot. Honestly, I tried to fulfill my journalistic responsibilities and get a photo of the moment, but the boat was drifting, Kramer was sinking with an armful of trolling motor and I figured the only place I could use the photo was on the funeral announcements.

by George Kramer

Thank goodness the water is still in the 70’s. (Oh, and I think the city is going to buoy that trailer-dock.)

You could certainly see your enthusiasm within the paintings you write. The sector hopes for more who are not afraid to say how they believe. Glad you didn’t drown.

Ah.. I have a love-hate relationship with those fence lines.