Jeff @ HatCamBass does a really great job explaining the terminology of Fishing Cover vs. Fishing Structure. You can learn A TON with his instructional videos. Instead of just showing himself landing big fish (which he surely does), Jeff gets into the nitty-gritty and explains tactics, techniques and terminology behind successful bass fishing.
Cover & Structure Defined
So let’s get into the nitty gritty like Jeff does. This should serve as a good supplement to the video above. Also, check out his HatCamBass Channel. I HIGHLY recommend the beginner and intermediate bass fishing series.
Structure = The framework of a body of water. It is the bottom surface.
Why Structure is important: Structural Features are created by substantial changes in topography (depth). These features like drop offs and creak channels serve as a map that fish use to navigate.
Cover = Objects that exist on that surface. (Weeds, Rocks, Timber, Docks etc.)
Why Cover is Important: Cover objects like rocks, docks and Lilly-pads serve as a refuge for prey. However, they just as easily serve as an ambush area for predators. Cover is where bait and fish are most likely to meet. Therefore, you want to be in or near that action.
Remember, the tougher the cover, the tougher your fishing line should be to pull the fish out.
Cover & Structure Example
A good example I have used in the past to describe Cover & Structure is a house. The house’s framework is made up of floors and walls (Structure) and on that surface are objects like furniture and appliances (Cover). People navigate through the floors and around the walls (Structure), often using specific parts of the home like stairs and hallways to travel most frequently (Structural Features). When people consume their meals, they usually congregate in an area of refuge at the end of a hallway or stairs, like a kitchen with tables and chairs, or a family room with a TV (Cover).
If you want to dive deeper into Bass strategies, check out our guide on How to Fish Bass.
I strongly believe understanding the principles behind fishing cover vs. fishing structure more important than quick tips and hints. When you invest time into understanding the principles, they slowly become part of your natural thought process and work their way into your routines. By deeply understanding the basics, a lot of big catches will seem natural and easy. You start to automate your technique, meaning they almost happen on their own without much energy. This will start to free up mental capacity and effort so you can experiment with new or unique techniques.