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hey guys i am new to the forum! can't wait to read everyones Q+A's! so my first question to all of you is the following:

I fish a big lake in northern michigan ( hamlin lake in ludington mi) i catch a lot of bass 1-3lbs. all on senkos! now every once in a while i will get a bigger bass but i want to consistently catch bigger fish and possibly one 5 or 6 lbs because i know they are in the lake.

should i use big worms? what baits are good at catching big fish and lots of them? any recommendations would be great!

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I personally dont think going to a bigger worm will increase your chances. Imo its not the worm size but where you are putting it. Ive only noticed that switching to a larger worm may keep the smaller ones off. but not really incrrease the amount of large fish caught. I personally like the smaller fish because they kill time, and with enough action in one spot seems to attract bigger fish to see whats going on.

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Best big fish lure I have ever used is the Jig n Pig

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I dont really know if you would consider it that big, but I throw a 10" worm pretty much all the time. Only time I go smaller is a senko, or for a shakey head.

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This year I've caught my top three bass on a culprit 10" in June bug or red shad. I'll catch a couple dinks here and there, less action, but more quality. However hook sets have been problematic at times. I've used gammy ewg offset or owner twist lock. May just be the slower bite of late or I may be in need to experiment with a thicker hook.

Bought some heavy jigs today to try out this week to see if I'm more productive.

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You probably aren't going to catch lots of big bass in any lake in MI. If you ever look at DNR surveys, the size structure tends to go like this, <10 in 195 fish, 10-16 in 75 fish, 16-20 in 5 fish, 20 or greater inch 1 fish. This isn't to say you can't do better than you have been, but don't get your sights set too high.

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You probably aren't going to catch lots of big bass in any lake in MI. If you ever look at DNR surveys, the size structure tends to go like this, <10 in 195 fish, 10-16 in 75 fish, 16-20 in 5 fish, 20 or greater inch 1 fish. This isn't to say you can't do better than you have been, but don't get your sights set too high.

I live in the SW part of the state and that might be the case on certain inland lakes where there are stunted fish. That said 25 lb plus bags are not uncommon on Great lakes smallmouth tournaments and I have caught 20 lb plus stringers largemouth on certain inland public lakes that I refuse to name. That said on most of our lakes the majority of bass will run 1-3 lbs. That said 4 & 5 lbers are out there, 4's are pretty common and myself and other fisherman are sticking a few 5 plus every year.

Sniffles is correct when he said where you throw it is the most important criteria ( I usually go thick or deep in the summer), that said 10" ribbontail worms produce a larger average fish and in my view are more likely to appeal to larger fish. Surprisingly in the warm months it catches almost as many bass as the more common 6" & 7" sizes.

Other baits that tend to produce a better grade of fish are deep diving cranks during the summer, jigs ( year round) , larger jerkbaits in the spring ( I like the 128 pointer ) , frogs in the slop, T rigged plastics in heavy grass and especially 6 inch plus swimbaits. One thing I try to do do is fish larger baits when possible, if fishing a square bill use a 2.5 or 3.5 size instead of a 1.5, larger size poppers and walking baits instead of their smaller counterparts especially from the period of late June through mid September.

Keep plugging away, we have 1000's of lakes so don't be afraid to mix it up as your next favorite lake could be the one you haven't fished.

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you can catch big fish on small lures and baits but you will catch more big fish on bigger lures and baits more consistently; small fish will sometimes hit the big lures but not near as often; big spinnerbaits and cranks will get a big girl to bite the best in my opinion; also big 10-12 inch worms; good luck

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An absolute answer to your question is nigh impossible. There are so many variables. I see "big baits, big bass" all the time on TV, on the web, from casual conversation with fishermen.

Sure it's true. But so is the opposite. Small baits catch big bass.

My personal best 7.5lb LMB was on a 5" Senko. I've caught plenty of 5, 6, and 7 pounders on 4" senkos, and 4.75" finesse worms, fewer biggies on smaller baits. Hmm. Perhaps wademaster1 is right ... "you can catch big fish on small lures and baits but you will catch more big fish on bigger lures and baits more consistently", emphasis mine.

You can drop a 20" worm in the right spot at the right time, you may just land a 10 pounder. Or a 2 pounder with big eyes and a hungry tummy. Drop it in a school and which bass will get to it first? Do all the little guys get out of the way when a huge bait shimmies down?

Perhaps there is science out there that proves otherwise. Fish Chris (trophy bass hunter) has caught monsters on live nightcrawlers. Not exactly a "big bait" per se....

Just have to try and see how big baits work for you. None of us have fished all the freshwater spots out there, so what works at one place may or may not work in another. In fact, another fisherman who fishes the same water as you may say "do this, works for me all the time" and you do that, but it doesn't work for you.

Go buy some 7" Senkos, or Zoom Magnum Finesse worms and see how they perform. Get common colors you've had success on with smaller baits. Maybe try a Fat Ika, chunky, not really a "big" bait, but different. May be very productive for you.

Good luck experimenting!

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I live in the SW part of the state and that might be the case on certain inland lakes where there are stunted fish. That said 25 lb plus bags are not uncommon on Great lakes smallmouth tournaments and I have caught 20 lb plus stringers largemouth on certain inland public lakes that I refuse to name. That said on most of our lakes the majority of bass will run 1-3 lbs. That said 4 & 5 lbers are out there, 4's are pretty common and myself and other fisherman are sticking a few 5 plus every year.

Sniffles is correct when he said where you throw it is the most important criteria ( I usually go thick or deep in the summer), that said 10" ribbontail worms produce a larger average fish and in my view are more likely to appeal to larger fish. Surprisingly in the warm months it catches almost as many bass as the more common 6" & 7" sizes.

Other baits that tend to produce a better grade of fish are deep diving cranks during the summer, jigs ( year round) , larger jerkbaits in the spring ( I like the 128 pointer ) , frogs in the slop, T rigged plastics in heavy grass and especially 6 inch plus swimbaits. One thing I try to do do is fish larger baits when possible, if fishing a square bill use a 2.5 or 3.5 size instead of a 1.5, larger size poppers and walking baits instead of their smaller counterparts especially from the period of late June through mid September.

Keep plugging away, we have 1000's of lakes so don't be afraid to mix it up as your next favorite lake could be the one you haven't fished.

Yes I am well aware that there a few lakes where people get 20 lb stringers from time to time, including one right around the corner from me. I don't put much time on it other htan fall or spring due to pleasure boat traffic, but the average bass on that one runs about 3 lbs. I still wouldn't call 4 lb fish common on any of the inland lakes here, and most of the reports of 5 + lb fish are greatly exaggerated. I've fished with a few tournament guys that couldn't seem to tell the difference between a three and a five lb fish.. I have caught bass well over 6 lbs from lakes around here, but I am not going to expect that every trip, or even every year.

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i fish most of the time useing worms that a 5 1/2 long and catch 3-7 lbs

but also get a lot of 1-2lbs post-36942-0-18493500-1345091451_thumb.j

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My advice to anyone targeting big fish is: Don't expect a lot of bites when looking for big fish because you shouldn't be fishing areas where schooling or smaller bass frequent. I fish a lot of lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan for bass and do fairly well, but when I'm targeting big fish, I target only a couple that I know from experience hold numbers of big gals. I use big baits, both hard and soft, but I don't limit myself to them exclusively. If I get four or five bites per outing, I consider the day successfull and on occasion one or two of those fish will be smaller than I expected to catch.

If you know the lake produces some nice size fish, by all means fish it. If you know of an area lake that consistantly produces them, study it, learn it, and when you do catch a beauty, analize every aspect of where, when, how and why and you'll begin catching them on a more regular basis and become confident that you can catch your personal best on that lake every time you go out.

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What type of bass; smallmouth or largemouth?

My guess is you are fishing for LMB and to improve your success for larger size bass, you need to fish deeper water where they live during the day. Start by targeting all the main lake points as deep as the thermocline or at least the 8 to 25 foot zone.

Big worms work at times, there isn't any panacea or magic lure that will help you. Try wacky rigged 6"Senko on a drop shot or C-rig a big worm, should help you learn the deeper structure.

Tom

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7.5 inch Yum ribbon tails are about as big as I'll go. I've found that size to be the best overall for all sizes of fish, and won't slow the bite down like a 10 incher would. When I go to Kentucky Lake next year, I will definitely be breaking out the big ones though.

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My advice to anyone targeting big fish is: Don't expect a lot of bites when looking for big fish because you shouldn't be fishing areas where schooling or smaller bass frequent. I fish a lot of lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan for bass and do fairly well, but when I'm targeting big fish, I target only a couple that I know from experience hold numbers of big gals. I use big baits, both hard and soft, but I don't limit myself to them exclusively. If I get four or five bites per outing, I consider the day successfull and on occasion one or two of those fish will be smaller than I expected to catch.

If you know the lake produces some nice size fish, by all means fish it. If you know of an area lake that consistantly produces them, study it, learn it, and when you do catch a beauty, analize every aspect of where, when, how and why and you'll begin catching them on a more regular basis and become confident that you can catch your personal best on that lake every time you go out.

This comment is right on the money, especially when targeting largemouths. I used to catch a lot more fish a few years back when I was fishing 4" finnesse worms on Mojo rigs, throwing small grubs etc and on occasion catch a bigger fish with most being 12" to 16" bass.

That said by throwing bigger plastics, bulky jigs etc and I'm usually trading fewer bites for a better average on the size of my fish. Most important part of your comment is that big fish tend to be located in key areas which will change based on season, weather patterns, forage preference etc and often but not always will be somewhat isolated spots like that clump of weeds found on a sandy bank near deep water or when fishing heavy grass it could be an inside cut where there is a mix of weeds etc. I also agree with your comment about studying and putting in time on the water, the majority of us can't read & breakdown water like a pro but if you give a good angler enough time he will usually figure something out.

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This time of year here on Table Rock I never throw anything under 10 and usually the 13 inch GO2 paddle tail. I don't think the fish, regardless of size are intimidated by the bigger baits. In fact I think it triggers fish that may otherwise be kind of sluggiish.

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This is the time of year, as rangerjockey says, that bigger baits really shine in my experience. As others have said, location is always key, and using big worms, creatures, lizards, Senkos, etc will limit your numbers a bit most of the time, but will usually catch bigger fish. The Rage Anaconda, a Brushhog, or an 8" Zoom lizard are my favorite big plastics for working deep water structure. Sometimes a big paddle tail is a better choice. It all depends...good luck!

Edit: I just re-read the OP. Big fish and lots of them, is a rare pleasure for most of us. Enjoy the pursuit!

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Have fished the Uptons 13" and 19" worms and really have caught only one fish on the 19" which was a LM and it weighed 6'10". I'm not sayingthey do not work as I was probably not fishing them correctly, but my grandson has caught larger LM on a crankbait.

Another thing about the huge worms it is best to rig with with double hooks, that is one in the head and another half-way down the worm.

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Edit: I just re-read the OP. Big fish and lots of them, is a rare pleasure for most of us. Enjoy the pursuit!

JMO but some selective memory and a liberal definition of large can be quite helpful in that pursuit. Inaccurate scales as well. Beyond that, just time on the water. All the BS aside, I know I have consistently done better in the times I have been able to get out fishing the most. I may not be correct, but I believe some of catching big fish, or just any fish, is being at the right place at the right time. I've had a number of larger bass and pike eat 1/8 oz beetle spins, but its not really a pattern for them. On those days when they won't hit whatever you put within 10 feet of them, thats when experience counts.

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