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Felix77

Deep Water Tactics

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Guys,

 

I generally struggle with deep water and was curious about tactics you use in water over 20 feet deep?  So far the only thing I catch deep water fish on are shakey head jigs believe it or not.

 

Would you ever throw a buzzbait over deep water like you would a spook?  (topwater)

 

What about shallow running crankbaits to get a subsurface strike?  Always wondered about this one?  (subsurface)

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Sure, but it depeneds on where the fish are in the water collum and what they are doing.

Questions you have to ask: are they suspended at a depth? Clinging to certain bottom changes? Chasing bait fish? Are the fish lethargic? Are they very active? Is there any cover down there?

Felix, im not expert on the matter but i do tend to do well in deeper water. Once it warms up some i almost always try a topwater..thats just me. But i try to answer the questions above and try to put a lure at that depth or on the bottom that will most likely be in the strike zone. That lure could be a jig, carolina rig, crank bait, trap, topwater, or a hard swim bait or a dropshot. The next question to be answered is whats the general mood of the fish? This will decide alot in how i go forward.

Two of my favorite techniques is a 1oz football jig and cranking. Dropshotting is growing on alot especially when they have lockjaw.

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Sure, but it depeneds on where the fish are in the water collum and what they are doing.

Questions you have to ask: are they suspended at a depth? Clinging to certain bottom changes? Chasing bait fish? Are the fish lethargic? Are they very active? Is there any cover down there?

Felix, im not expert on the matter but i do tend to do well in deeper water. Once it warms up some i almost always try a topwater..thats just me. But i try to answer the questions above and try to put a lure at that depth or on the bottom that will most likely be in the strike zone. That lure could be a jig, carolina rig, crank bait, trap, topwater, or a hard swim bait or a dropshot. The next question to be answered is whats the general mood of the fish? This will decide alot in how i go forward.

Two of my favorite techniques is a 1oz football jig and cranking. Dropshotting is growing on alot especially when they have lockjaw.

 

 

Oh dont forget Jerkbaits too..

 

 

Teal ... thanks a ton.  A lot of information to digest.  Two of my worst tournaments last year involved deep water tactics.  And those questions are going to be very helpful in defining a tactic which will work.

 

I am dedicating this year to the drop shot as my NEW lure to master this year.  Sounds like I can certainly use that in those tournaments.

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Something that helps me -i look at lures as tools. Tools to fix a problem. but first you have to know EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. Then use the TOOL that best fits the job and still fits your style,experience and confidence.

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If you like dropshottin, try a finesse jig as your weight. Ive only caught a fish on it a few times, but it got my attention!

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If you like dropshottin, try a finesse jig as your weight. Ive only caught a fish on it a few times, but it got my attention!

 

You are talking about a multi-hook rig correct?  Like a drop shot with a finesse jig and craw correct?

 

I heard about that and had that on my list of things to try when drop shotting.

 

I also heard of using a larger fly for a drop shot hook.  Something else I am going to experiment with.

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When your fishing deep water you should see fish on the bottom with your electronics. You can target them with jigs, drop shot, jigging spoons & blade baits. You can also try deep diving cranks. If your not finding fish on the bottom then it is possible they are suspended. Suspended fish often move away from a moving boat. These fish can be targeted with suspending jerkbaits, crankbaits or even topwaters baits if the water visibility is sufficient. If your catching fish but not marking them they are suspending. Bottom fish are generally not going to rise to a surface bait but suspending fish will. 

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#1 for me is big worms, especially on ledges. I had some memorable days last summer

fishing the Thumper.

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Deep water was foreign to me for obvious reasons before I bought a boat last year finally. Electronics changed the game for me, but I didnt take advantage until late in the summer. My boat came with an older model bird at the console, black and white, good for depth readings but not much else. One 90 degree plus day while idling around killing time and looking for anything unusual on the unit, I found a large shallow flat that led to a steep drop off from the mouth of the cove into the main channel. To me at the time "offshore" fishing was interesting but I had only ever watched or read about it. This ledge dropped from 3 ft.to 20 ft +. In a hurry. Turned out to be a well traveled bass highway as evident by the success I found dragging 1/2 ounce football jigs and 10" worms down and even up the ledge, casting out into 25 ft. And dragging back. This lake receives a fair amount of pressure but I have never seen anyone targeting this spot, which I think is also a reason I found so many quality bites.

As soon as my income tax check clears im buying a 998c SI combo and can't wait to explore the deepest water at a small 50 acre lake near my house. At this particular lake to my knowledge rarely if ever does anyone venture offshore, but in the middle of winter or the dog days of summer there will be schools of big bass holding to deep offshore structure or creek beds.

The drop shot is another method I plan on giving a lot of attention this summer.

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Deep water is relative to regional areas and lake types.

LMB go into deep water for a few reasons; comfortable water temperature sancturary and to be close to their food source. Bass suspended in deep water with no food source nearby are usually inactive bass that have moved into deeper for sanctuary and very difficult to catch. Bass in deep water that have prey nearby are active bass and easier to catch.

You don't want to fish deep water blindly without knowing why bass are out there.

Using a good sonar unit you can survey the deeper areas and look for baitfish, isolated structure with fish nearby, any thermocline that maybe present, and determine what depth the life zone is on the lake you fish.

When you have an idea where the bass are located and what prey the bass are targeting, then select a lure and presentation that works good for you and triggers strikes from the bass.

A lot of northern cold water lakes are barren in deep water in regards to bass, no pelagic baitfish or deep critters like crawdads living in deep water.

Bass can comfortably make a depth change of about 30' to pursue prey or your lure.

Tom

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Carolina Rig. If you're a co-angler (I seem to recall you are) and your boater is drifting over a reef or hump, you can very easily do really well just dragging. Just watch the electronics to see that the boat is moving at roughly .8-1.3 MPH.

A fat Ika with a nail weight and a swimbait on a football jig are great as well if you are working deep hard structure. Drop shot as well. If it's not too choppy I've seen smallies CRUSH spooks and Popper's in 30fow.

Laker and Salmon guys on champ regularly get huge smallies down 30-50 feet. They're just out chasing Alewives. Those obviously aren't fish you'd target in a tournament but it goes to show if their out suspended in that depth, 20' isn't that deep.

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#1 deep water tactic for me is drop shotting. I wait till I see fish on the graph, and drop straight down to them. # 2 would be dragging jigs or carolina rigs around, and #3 would be casting to fish suspended over deep water with a weightless, or lightly weighted soft plastic and let it sink through them.

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Alot of good suggestions already discussed. One I have yet to see is a 3/4oz football jig and a big 1.5oz Hopkins spoon. The football jig is pretty simple, work it like a carolina rig and hold on. The Hopkins spoon is a jigging spoon but I throw it out as far as I can and work it like a worm. The only difference here though is I snap the rod from the 9 oclock position to 12 oclock fast to make the spoon jump several feet up and let it go back down to the bottom. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE POWER method in deep water. Big 7'6" MH rod, fast reel, and 20lb fluoro at the minimum! You can cover soo much water in a short amount of time doing this.

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Wow great tips everyone, I'm not an adept deep water guy and hoping to get some practice and chances this year.  Thanks Felix for starting this great thread! Unfortunately, I do not have a bass/aluminum boat (I fish from canoe and inflatable) so I can't target larger bodies of water.  The local lake does have a deeper section (30+ by the dam), I'll have to try out all of these tips!  My aim is to learn how to drop shot and practice cranks (shallow. medium and deep). 

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Alot of good suggestions already discussed. One I have yet to see is a 3/4oz football jig and a big 1.5oz Hopkins spoon. The football jig is pretty simple, work it like a carolina rig and hold on. The Hopkins spoon is a jigging spoon but I throw it out as far as I can and work it like a worm. The only difference here though is I snap the rod from the 9 oclock position to 12 oclock fast to make the spoon jump several feet up and let it go back down to the bottom. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE POWER method in deep water. Big 7'6" MH rod, fast reel, and 20lb fluoro at the minimum! You can cover soo much water in a short amount of time doing this.

 

I guess I just don't know how to fish a spoon, I don't seem to be able to avoid getting hung up.

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I guess I just don't know how to fish a spoon, I don't seem to be able to avoid getting hung up.

 

Kent, you're gonna get hung up if fishing it correctly IMHO.

 

Just need to have equipment big enough to rip it up out of the junk. If you're not getting stuck, you're not in the right spots.

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Wow great tips everyone, I'm not an adept deep water guy and hoping to get some practice and chances this year.  Thanks Felix for starting this great thread! Unfortunately, I do not have a bass/aluminum boat (I fish from canoe and inflatable) so I can't target larger bodies of water.  The local lake does have a deeper section (30+ by the dam), I'll have to try out all of these tips!  My aim is to learn how to drop shot and practice cranks (shallow. medium and deep). 

 

You and me both buddy.  I am a co-angler so the deepest waters I fish are during tournaments.  Otherwise I am fishing from my canoe.

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Alot of good suggestions already discussed. One I have yet to see is a 3/4oz football jig and a big 1.5oz Hopkins spoon. The football jig is pretty simple, work it like a carolina rig and hold on. The Hopkins spoon is a jigging spoon but I throw it out as far as I can and work it like a worm. The only difference here though is I snap the rod from the 9 oclock position to 12 oclock fast to make the spoon jump several feet up and let it go back down to the bottom. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE POWER method in deep water. Big 7'6" MH rod, fast reel, and 20lb fluoro at the minimum! You can cover soo much water in a short amount of time doing this.

 

How does this compare to the presentation you are recommending?

 

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Over 20' deep?  I will throw a 3/4 jig and drag it along the bottom.  You just have to make sure that when you throw it out you let out enough line so that it falls straight down.

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I guess I just don't know how to fish a spoon, I don't seem to be able to avoid getting hung up.

 

RW, I think its because we don't have alot of brush that deep in our natural lakes up here.  Plenty of rocky terrain down there though.

 

How does this compare to the presentation you are recommending?

 

 

Pretty much it.  The diffence being the spoons.  The Sexy spoon in the video is a flutter spoon that has alot of action while the Hopkins spoon I'm using is a plain jigging spoon.  I based my setup and technique off of what Jason Quinn showed in an episode of The Bass Pros Season 2 or 3 can't remember which one at the moment.

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Fishing deep structured lakes with shad or other pelagic bait is easy, located the bait fish schools.

One of the best methods to locate bait fish that use deep water is look for birds that feed on the bait; grebes and cormorants. The deep diving birds have a the ability to know where their food is, so look for these birds diving and feeding on bait fish.

Your sonar is the best tool in your boat to locate bait fish schools, use it. Ounce you find the bait, then determine what lure should work..... Didn't I say that earlier in this thread.

Fishing deep water blindly hoping to put a lure in front of feeding bass without knowing the bass are there or nearby is like trying to find a Needle in a hay stack and a waste of your time.

If bass are feeding on shad schools, a structure or flutter spoon is a good lure to use. If the bass are not chasing the bait fish, but holding nearby, then a drop shot worm or jig may be a better choice when the bass are close to structure. If the bass are suspended at the level the bait fish are traveling in the area, then the A-rig with it's small school of lures can be effective. There isn't a panacea lure to solve any bass fishing situation, you must locate the bass to catch them.

Tom

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