Fish cover and structure are terms associated with fishing. Structure and cover are two different things and it is important to know the difference. You will often hear them talked about like they are the same thing, although they are different.
The structure is the bottom features of the body of water. In other words, these are the contours of the ground under the water. There are various types of structures all serving as a pathway for fish. The structure may not always hold fish, but fish will always be on or near structure. The structure is any change in depth. These include stream channels, roadways, drop-offs or ledges, points, humps, depressions, and other contour features underwater. These areas hold fish when spawning, feeding, or at rest. Also, a body of water may lack structure as some man-made ponds do not have structure.
In general, waters have some structure and that is where to look for fish. Looking at the shore of the water can help find structure. The steepness of the bank above the water will continue at that angle into the water and points will extend out underwater. A straight, shallow angled shoreline will likely not hold as many fish unless there is a hump, hole, roadbed, or other feature underneath not visible. This is when some type of fishing electronics is of benefit. You will be able to locate the structure with maps and electronics. If you do not have a boat with electronics. Use the shoreline features as your guide. What the land looks like above water also, indicates what is under the water.
The fish use cover that is near or on a structure. Cover near structure will hold the most fish and cover without structure will hold far less fish or none. The two elements work together to attract fish. It is their ambush or hiding place depending on the species of fish. The types of cover include vegetation, brush or rock piles, and fallen trees and are typical forms of cover. Look around at what is visible above or just below the water that is not structure. That will be cover, so boat docks, stumps and anything not contour related fish can hide around can be considered cover.
The cover is where the food will be for fish and they know this fact, also the insects, crayfish, and small fish hide in these areas. The small aquatic creatures spend their lives in the cover for safety. The larger fish use it as an all you can eat buffet with plenty of prey available. When you go to a waterway check the weeds, brush, and docks. You will see the minnows, bluegill, and other small aquatic life in abundance. The sport of fishing is more than just casting into the water. You need to study the water to find fish, so you become a better angler.
This is a simplified explanation of structure and cover and is intended for beginning or less experienced anglers. This information is crucial for anglers starting bass fishing. I hope it helps with your enjoyment of fishing by allowing you to achieve a better catch rate.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights.