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Thread: Performance Testing of Natural Brush Pile, Bamboo, and PVC Condo's

  1. #1
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    Default Performance Testing of Natural Brush Pile, Bamboo, and PVC Condo's

    Just thought i would post what I have been running as a TEST for a little over a year.

    The test has been about the perforance of Natural Brush Piles (Sunk'n Tree's) vs Bamboo vs PVC (Plastic Tubing of various kinds). Basicly testing which structure holds more fish, and the winner by a large margin was Natural Brush Piles. I have about 20-25 locations of Bamboo, 8-10 PVC, and 15-20 Natural Tree's Structures. Although I caught fish on ALL of these types of Structure, after a little over a year of testing in Texas, the Bamboo and PVC would only hold 1-3 fish per structure. On the Natural Tree Brush Piles, I could pull up and catch 20-25 Crappie from a nive brush pile. There is a major difference in these piles, in the ability to hold fish. So I have been testing for over a year, wanting to concentrate my efforts to producing the best quality brush piles that would hold the most crappie.

    The results does NOT go along with my wishing which structure would test the best. PVC and Bamboo for both easier to work with, get to the lake and sunk. Both are much harder to find, with PVC being net to impossible to find after a couple of months in the water. I really like the idea of these being harder to find.

    PVC & Plastic Condo's

    PVC and Plastics basically go stealth after being in the water for a couple months and getting a good growth of alge on them. I could not get a reading on the PVC or Plastic Condos after sinking them for some months. I have a HDS-10 with Side Scan, and Down Scan, and they just disappeared to my SI, DI, and Sonar. Would MARK them when I put them out, go back and look for the firsst coupe weeks, and could see them, but after they grew Alge, they were gone. Took a Grappling Hook to the location and was able to fish them out, showing that they were there, but invisable. Again, the waas Ok, because I like the fact that once they were in the water for a couple of months, NOBODY was going to find my structure. Plus, after dragging a few up with the Grappling Hook, I attached a plasticainted bootle on to a few of the PVC Structures and I could see them. So in testing I loved the ease of building PVC Structures and putting them out. Even made thm eaasier to find, and the painted bottle just looked like a smale wad of bait fish in the water. But the bottom line was they just didn't hold enough fish to make it worth while. I have NEVER caught more than 2-3 crappie off of my PVC Structures.

    Bamboo Structures

    The Bamboo Structure was the most depressing of all. After hearing that Bamboo would hold up in the water as much as twice as long as natural Strucutures, and having a plentiful supply of Bamboo, I thought I had the ticket to holding crappie. Bamboo is harder to see with SI than Natural Structures. They can be found, but are harder to see anything but a faint shadow on SI. Now, once found DI and Sonar will light up the structure, and allow you to see clearly. It is also very easy to work wit, get to the lake, and sunk. But as with the PVC, it just doesn't hold fish as good as Natural Structures. We started out putting bamboo stalks in buckets very thick, and making them 10'-15' tall, but these were hard to fish. To thick to fish down inside the structure, and if you ever got in the boo, you couldn't get fissh out without them wrapping you around other branches. So we decide to cut back on the amount of Bamboo in a bucket, and went to using 5 - 6'-7' pieces of Boo per bucket. This worked out very well. We could ange the stacks outward, and create a 1' diameter bucket. We also put 3 buckets out per location, creating about a 25' diameter. We were REAL excited about the idea, and worked out very well for being able to fish the structure. But still the same problem as the PVC. Crappie just didn't take to the Bamboo. We would catch a 2-3 off of a structure, but no more. Then we would only catch the 2-3 crappie off of every 2-3 Boo Piles. Again very depressing.

    Natural Brush Piles (Cedar, Oaks, and Willows)

    These were the hardest by far to put out and sink. I don't really like the christmas trees due to having to add to them every year or two, due to rotting so quickly. I like the Oak best, but willow is pretty good. Basically any kind of natural tree works. I trim my trees every year, and hauling them to the lake to sink. I have also got to asking people with lake frony property, when I see them fishing from their docks, and working in their year. To same trees and limbs they cut, giv them my Cell # for a call when they need a pile cleaned up. Just stack it up by the lake. I have had a couple of people want to cut down a tree, so I will cut it for them. I really like this. I have cut a couple of nice trees down, cut the top out of it (top 15' of the tree), slip a rope around a lower brach, and drag it out into the water. Pull the Tree Top to the location (15'-20' of water), let one end of the rope go, and down she goes. This type of structure, I can pull up to, on many occasions, and catch my limit without move to another spot. Smaller Brush Piles like limbs and such, I keep adding to them until I can build a 5'-6' high Brush Pile about 10'-15' in diameter. Can put up to a Brush Pile like this, and catch 8-10 crappie, plus these types of Brush Piles, always have a few on them even if I fish them the day before and pul good numbers off of them. They are easily found and basically Glow In The Dark on any Sonar, SI or DI units around. I will pull up to them every now and then and someone will be fishing it. But such is Public Lake Fishing.


    During the next winter, I will be going back to ALL my locations with PVC, and Bamboo, and tossing Natural Cover on top of them. This was not the results I had hoped for when beginning my test over a year ago, but result is what I wanted, and what I found. The lakes I used for testing has quiet a bit for Timber, so it has lay down, and nartural cover all ready. So this may have some effect on the result. Lakes, that don't have much timber or cover in the water may be a little different, with the fact that ANY structure is better than NO structure, so result may differ due to lake conditions. But as for my 3 lakes used in the testing, this was the results of over a year of testing. Not the results I had HOPE for, but the results just the same. I guess now I can get about my Brush Pile building, taking full advantage of my effort. Don't mind saying, there has been a LOT of structure building in vain in the last year. This winter we will correct that problem.



    keith
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  2. #2
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    Keith,
    You spent a lot of time on this project and a lot of time on this report. I had many thoughts on this exact topic, and it was great to see this post! I sank several pvc hurdles that seemed to disappear. This helps me know they are still there. Unfortunately, they did not produce well either. Thanks for taking the time to share and I look forward to your future reports!
    Danny
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    Hi Creamlevel Kennels,


    Pretty interesting results....I would not give up on the bamboo just yet...Sometimes, it takes longer for the crappie to get on the bamboo....We have been dropping brush piles to...Whenever we can come up with the brush...

    Jeremy
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    Thanks Keith for the info. Your results are just what I thought they would be. The PVC structure that our State has put in some lakes just doesn't produce well unless someone has came back and dropped some brush on it.

    I do believe that lakes with little natural cover will benefit from PVC or Bamboo structure. I think this may be one reason some lakes do well with bamboo and PVC. But a lot of our lakes have standing timber and other brush and I believe these types of lakes, Crappie prefer the natural stuff they grew up with over the artificial and unnatural materials.

    The biggest problem we have when using Willow is beavers getting them before the Crappie banghead. I'm not sure how far a beaver can dive and still eat your brush pile, but in the past we've used Willow in the 10 to 15ft range and had then ate up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd View Post
    Hi Creamlevel Kennels,


    Pretty interesting results....I would not give up on the bamboo just yet...Sometimes, it takes longer for the crappie to get on the bamboo....We have been dropping brush piles to...Whenever we can come up with the brush...

    Jeremy
    I hear ya...

    It's got until Winter. Starting in December we get to working Brush Piles. We build Structures from December till the end of Feb. March usually starts the big girls moving up, and we like to be ready to get started by then.

    I am thinking about taking some Oak Branches out next week (if the winds drops below 100mph) to a few of the PVC & Bamboo Piles and add the Oak to them. Just to see if it improves the fishing this summer. If this improves the fishing, it will mean I'm result were correct.


    keith

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    Here in NC where I fish, PVC is worthless! I have put truck loads in, Or should I say 16 foot trailer loads,I have found that wood is best, but I use a lot of cane and they hold just as many fish as wood, but the oak will last 10 year or better and the cane about 2 years if your lucky!
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the great report and research!! I have to agree with Countryboy on the Yadkin Lakes in NC Holly Trees or any hard wood is the way to go stop wasting time with pvc. I know its easier to get your brushpiles seen by someone else but thats why we don't fish them unless we aren't going to be seen by to many eyes.

  8. #8
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    My findings here are similar , but at times Bamboo does good if you don't build too thick. PVC is a waste in my book. Trees are best after small limbs are gone , thick stuff holds too many dinks. I like trees with few limbs like Persimmon. Stakebeds and pallet stakebeds hold fair #'s but advantage is fish are usually bigger and less hang ups with this open type cover. Anything wood is the deal IMO. Another aspect of verticle structure (stake beds and pallet stakebeds) low end depthfinds don't pick up very good. I use GPS to locate in open water so even those with low returns will show up in less than 6' of water if I'm over them.
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    This report is very nice. Remeber to make sure u add that pvc makes it easy for fish to the algea like rocks


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    Your selling for me! Just more proof, PVC is as good or better than anything we have come up with yet!!


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