Lake Oconee Breeze

December 9, 2008

Building your own fish attractors - Part I

By Bobby Peoples

Anglers for many years have placed Christmas trees around their docks and other places in the lake to attract fish.

Each year with the passing of Christmas, you can witness vehicles loaded down with Christmas trees headed to the lake. Most of those Christmas trees are destined to be placed around docks to primarily attract crappie.

Almost any object placed in the water can attract baitfish and game fish but the type of material, the size of the material and where that material is placed can mean the difference between success and failure. It can mean the difference between a pretty good place for an angler to catch an occasional fish or it can an excellent place where an angler is almost assured of catching good numbers of fish on a regular basis.

This week’s article will look at the materials used in construction of fish attractors. I personally love to build and place structures in the lake to improve my opportunity to catch fish. That activity has been slowed over the last couple years due to back surgery, but I will be back to building and placing structures in the lake right after this Christmas season and I am excited to get started again.

Why would I be excited about that activity? After all it is hard work and can or will be done in the most unpleasant of weather conditions. Nothing is more rewarding than to construct a fish attractor, place it in the lake and then return to that fish attractor and catch fish.

I have over the years seen both success and failure from my own building and placement of fish attractors but I have learned from my failures. The two most important aspects of building and placing fish attractors in the lake is first the material used to construct the attractor and second the location where the attractor is placed. You can build the most elaborate fish attractor and place it in the wrong spot and you will have wasted all your time and effort.

Almost any object placed in a good location will attract fish but put that same object in a bad location and it will not attract fish. You can also pick a good location and miss the mark by placing too much structure material on that spot. Don’t get carried away and assume that you need to create an underwater forest. We will take a closer look at good locations for fish attractors in next week’s article.

First let us consider the type of structure material that is best suited for building a fish attractor. You want to use materials that will last for some time and not require you to redo the structure say every year. I have found that old Christmas trees will last at the most two years (some varieties will last longer) where some hardwoods trees will last two to six years. Unfortunately beavers can be a problem when using hardwoods and overnight the beavers can eat away your hardware attractor.

However, structures made from PVC pipe and other manmade materials will last just about forever. I have several structures made from hardwood trees that I try to improve or add to about every two to three years. I am now using wild bamboo stake beds since bamboo will last a considerable time and it has other benefits.

One problem with many woody products is density. Most Christmas trees are evergreens that have limbs and foliage that are too dense. They will definitely attract small baitfish because baitfish can hide in the dense foliage. However, larger fish will find it difficult to hide and maneuver within the tree. If you plan to use Christmas trees or evergreens like cedar and pines you might improve the structure by pruning some of the limbs to open up the structure.

The density problem with evergreens is what lead me to initially using hardwoods and then lead me to using wild bamboo. The bamboo is easy to work with and comes in lengths from 5-25 feet which makes it suitable for almost any depth of water. It weighs much less than evergreens and hardwoods and is not nearly as dense. To see how to construct a bamboo structure for attracting crappie visit www.crappie.com/condo/.

Individually it is difficult to undertake a large fish attractor-building project. But combine your efforts with some other anglers and you can create some great fishing locations that will attract all types of fish year after year.

Next week in Part II of my series on building fish attractors, we will look at the vital importance of fish attractor placement. The location where the structure is placed can make all the difference between success and failure. Good fishing and see you next week.