Bass Fishing Brush Piles

Bass Fishing Brush Piles | Do They Belong To Just Anyone?

Does brush in a public waterway belong to anyone in particular? The obvious and short answer, no. Other than the governing body of the waterway. 

But this debate isn’t really a letter of the law type question. It’s more of a fishing ethics question.

Still… no, in my opinion.

Bass Fishing Brush Piles | How They Get There

Dropping brush in the water and getting mad when someone else’s fishes it is about like putting your dining room table in the middle of a food court, going home and coming back three weeks later to see someone sitting at it. 

(Does anyone under 30 even know what a food court is or did I just age myself real bad? Also, why did they call it a food court instead of a food place or food room or something? Not like we were going there to exercise or debate the law of the land.) 

But back to the law of the water. What a segue. 

Look, for those of you who think it’s immoral to fish another guys brush pile, I get it. It takes a ton of work to get what’s needed for a decent brush pile out onto the water, into a good location, and down to the bottom. The argument I’m making that once it hits the water it belongs to everyone is basically a socialist construct. And in light of recent events, that’s the furthest thing from an argument I want to be associated with. 

Bass Fishing Brush Piles(1)      Bass Fishing Brush Piles(2)

I’ve put out brush a couple of times myself. (Notice the shadows pictured when the lake is low.)

And it’s no fun. It’s a lot of work. And I didn’t even catch anything out of the couple of piles I made. So there’s actually a bit of an art and gamble to it as well. And I get that. But what’s the logistical answer to the “that’s my pile” argument? We all tie a buoy to each pile we put out and write our name on it? And even then what? What’s to keep a guy from cutting that buoy off and tying on one with his name to it?

And I’m not trying to make the argument “well everyone else is doing it”. My mom squashed that rhetoric when I was about 6 and responded with, “Well if everyone else was jumping off a bridge would you”? I thought to myself, “No”. Then immediately, “Who does she think I hang out with that would be jumping off bridges”?

Anyway, I actually do have a hard time defending or even defining my stance on this issue. Though I do believe that brush doesn’t belong to anyone once it hits the water, I fundamentally don’t like the idea of one man profiting from the hard work of another. 

It seems as though I’ve talked myself into a stalemate here.

Bass Fishing Brush Piles | Where to Draw the Line

On a fishing trip a couple of years ago, a homeowner rode his golf cart down the hill to inform me that I was trespassing. That he had placed the brush pile I was fishing in the water for himself and not me. Naturally, I thought of a lot of smart-aleck things to say really quick but bit my tongue while I played the best one out in my head. 

Figured that response would have led to, “Do you want me to call the water patrol”? To which I would have responded, “Yes please”. And then patiently waited for the authorities to arrive so I could win my argument and see his face when I did. But… I was in a tournament and didn’t want to waste my time or the tax payer’s dollar. So I made a couple more casts and moved on. 

I know as anglers, a lot of you have had similar experiences. And as anglers, I believe the vast majority would agree that the homeowner has zero claims to that pile…

But when it’s ‘your’ brush pile…

See the conundrum I’m in?

I want you to debate me on this. I like a good debate and I’m not afraid to change my mind if your argument can sway my opinion. If you have a different opinion than I do and want me to hear it, share ANGLR’s post about this with your argument and if it’s made in a respectful manner, I’ll respond. If I do change my mind, I’ll write another piece saying so and provide the points from what you guys write that convinced me. 

Let’s see what you think.

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Shaye Baker


Shaye Baker started fishing with his dad in Alabama as soon as they could find a life jacket small enough to fit him. Competing with his father in local tournaments, Shaye quickly found a hunger for competitive bass fishing. He furthered his fishing career at Auburn University helping to establish the Auburn University Bass Fishing Club. While at Auburn, Shaye served as the President of the club and qualified to fish on the traveling team amassing six Top 5 finishes including two 3rd place finishes in consecutive FLW College Fishing National Championships. While beginning to dabble in the world of outdoor journalism, Shaye continued to fish semi-pro events finishing in the Top 5 in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Costa Series and BFLs. Finding himself at a crossroads, Shaye chose to put down the rod and pick up the pen and camera to focus on his career in outdoor journalism. Shaye has had work featured in Bassmaster Magazine, FLW Outdoors Magazine, B.A.S.S.Times and the Japanese bass fishing magazine Basser. Shaye has also had work featured on ESPN and, and While working with B.A.S.S., Shaye initiated and spearheaded their GoPro division which brought more video coverage to the fans than had ever been done before in competitive fishing. After his tenure with some of the best companies in the business, Shaye identified a need for competitive fishing where participation didn’t cost a fortune. By founding UPLOADED, the Online Fishing Series, Shaye established a free tournament series where anglers could film their fish catches and upload their videos to compete against other anglers for prizes.

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ANGLR Expert, Shaye Baker

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