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Confusing Pattern

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For about the past two weeks we have had comfortable temperatures around the 70s during the day, but at night the temps will drop to the 40s. The almanac has been saying that the best time to fish is right around sunrise and sunset. However, i have only been having luck around 4 in the afternoon. The bass around here i believe are in the prespawn/spawn mode where there are occasional cruisers that i will catch in 3ft of water on a squarebill. I cant seem to figure out the pattern of these fish. I've thrown just about all i can think of including spinnerbaits, 10inch worms, squarebills, jerkbaits, jigs, etc.. And like i said, the few fish i have caught have been on the squarebill. Any help on what to do in this situation will help. Thanks in advance.

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There is no one "pattern". You haven't given enough info to establish any patterns. Patterns are collections of data that cluster. You need more data. The usual things are calendar period, prey availability, weather trend, depth, structure, cover, water conditions, surface conditions, fishing pressure, etc... From there you make educated / informed guesses. Lures are tools you apply based on the info you have.

 

Don't think anyone can do the kind of work that's necessary from such a distance. I'd suggest you tool around observing, with your eyes, sonar, thermometer, and a lure or two you are confident in. Don't expect the fish to come to your lures, you have to take it to them. Find some first, then fine tune.

 

Hope I don't come off as being short with you. I'm not  -just getting to the point. Hope this gives you some direction in your exploits. Can't think of much that's more fun than spending time on the water trying to figure things out.

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There is no one "pattern". You haven't given enough info to establish any patterns. Patterns are collections of data that cluster. You need more data. The usual things are calendar period, prey availability, weather trend, depth, structure, cover, water conditions, surface conditions, fishing pressure, etc... From there you make educated / informed guesses. Lures are tools you apply based on the info you have.

 

Don't think anyone can do the kind of work that's necessary from such a distance. I'd suggest you tool around observing, with your eyes, sonar, thermometer, and a lure or two you are confident in. Don't expect the fish to come to your lures, you have to take it to them. Find some first, then fine tune.

Indeed  :Idontknow:

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There is no one "pattern". You haven't given enough info to establish any patterns. Patterns are collections of data that cluster. You need more data. The usual things are calendar period, prey availability, weather trend, depth, structure, cover, water conditions, surface conditions, fishing pressure, etc... From there you make educated / informed guesses. Lures are tools you apply based on the info you have.

 

Don't think anyone can do the kind of work that's necessary from such a distance. I'd suggest you tool around observing, with your eyes, sonar, thermometer, and a lure or two you are confident in. Don't expect the fish to come to your lures, you have to take it to them. Find some first, then fine tune.

 

Hope I don't come off as being short with you. I'm not  -just getting to the point. Hope this gives you some direction in your exploits. Can't think of much that's more fun than spending time on the water trying to figure things out.

This is a cove in the northern part of Smith Mountain Lake. The cove is about 10 feet deep with a sand/grass flat in the back end. Plenty of rocks on one side of the cove with over hanging trees on the other. One boat ramp and dock and the water is slightly stained. This spot has some baot activity but it does not get pressured by many BASS fisherman. There are a few crappy and catfish fisherman that are around there for the most part. The shad and other bait fish have been flicking the surface and there are bluegill swiming near the shore. I caught one fish the other day with a crawdad sticking out of it's gullet, so I know they could be chasing a jig.  

I guess what i was trying to get at was that when i went and caught fish a few days prior to this post and caught several (on a day that the calendar said was "fair") and then the next few days after that caught one (on the days that the calendar said was "best")

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The bass have their own calendar based on seasonal periods. The daily activity for bass changes hourly and we call this rhythm and every lake differs to when and where the bass in the location are active or inactive or somewhere inbetween. The seasonal period that trumps feeding activity is spawning. Bass, like every animal, focuses their life cycle and feeding is put to one side during this time period.

A big lake like the one you fish should have several areas where spawning occurs and a few waves of spawner's moving in and out. If you don't like targeting the spawner's, fish a little deeper and target the pre and post spawner's.

What the bass prefer is your task to figure out. You have a good idea where you want to fish, now it's time to figure out the rhythm or when to fish where and you are doing that by spending time on the water.

Tom

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first, throw the almanac out, moon phases and all that stuff out. i was down there a couple weeks ago at Smith Mountain Lake. while checking the weather before i went, i also checked weather.coms fishing forecast moon phase chart thingy. best fishing is almost always 6-9 morning and evening. but all my best fishing came when it was supposed to be bad fishing. granted i wasnt bass fishing, i was fishing with bait off a dock for whatever wanted to bite. best fishing was from 11:30pm to 1am in which i caught 6 20+ inch channel cats and a nice striper.

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Well, several things… And I’m going to be pretty much reiterating what Tom and Red Earth are suggesting.

 

-First, water systems are not simple, esp large water body's, which can be very complicated. Not all bass are doing the same thing. There are subpopulations of bass in every lake and pond that have different habits. Some are roamers, others are homebodies. Some are aggressive, others timid. Some are chasing shad, others bluegills, others focused on crayfish. This switches with prey availability and vulnerability too. And fish sleep too, rest, or wait out poor or disadvantageous conditions. This is described in a very general way in the angling literature as “activity level”.

 

-Lures aren’t very good mimics of prey, except under certain circumstances –the best being when fish are actively attacking a certain prey type and visibility is somewhat obscured. Basically lures can look pretty silly a lot of the time.

 

-In my mind you can ignore the "magic tables" and instead focus on seasonal "calendar periods" (as dubbed by In-Fisherman) and then weekly weather trends and then down to immediate conditions: water, sky, prey, bass activity, fishing pressure, etc… . The world fish live in is very real, real stuff happens to them. Don't get bamboozled into thinking you can just ignore all that stuff, as if there is some great overriding thing that sweeps immediate conditions out of the way. If there are astrological influences they are miniscule compared to what's happening right here on Earth.

 

What you are looking for are times and places where you can put a catch together. Understanding the fish and the playing field (your lake and the changes –seasonal, daily, hourly) and recognizing windows of opportunity is how the game is played. You should also look for patterns of conditions and behavior that might be duplicated in other parts of your cove or lake to increase your catches. Or, you are off looking for new windows of opportunity.

 

Unfortunately, much of the time, a big tackle box doesn’t save us. Even those of us with a lot of GoTo’s figured out have to work for our fish too, and take our catches with gratitude. Bass activity, associated with immediate conditions, which is in turn influenced by weather trends, runs the show for the most part.

 

My advice would be to read all you can on the calendar period you are fishing in, paying special attention to bass location and behavior during these periods. And there are lures and techniques that have been developed for the multitude of circumstances bass find themselves in. Read up on them. Then go ferret out those windows of opportunity for yourself. One thing you can bank on: No two days will be exactly alike.

 

Some things specific to your questions:

 

-Cruisers in prespawn/spawn mode can be difficult bc many are spawn-minded and not focused on feeding. Often they are only mildly interested in “food” and instead of rushing over to grab prey (as an aggressive feeding fish that sees vulnerable prey might) they might veer over for a look, find something not quite right, and swim off. Sound familiar? Shallow cruisers are also easily alarmed (in part bc they are so shallow and exposed) and may require extreme stealth from approach to cast and retrieve. Also, sighted fish can be frustrating in general bc we then get to see just what our presentations actually look like, which can be pretty cumbersome. If we saw all the unseen fish that we don’t catch during a day’s fishing, it would be disheartening.

 

-Although I've not fished it, Smith Mountain appears to be a highland/hill-land type reservoir with deep clear water over much of it. Probably a lot of largemouth habitat is found in upper reservoir arms that are more “eutrophic” (fertile). A cove that is only 10ft deep may not hold fish all year long, depending on amount of food and cover it has. It’s likely (but not certain) that your cove has bass during the spawn but loses a lot of those mature fish in summer and winter –they heading out into deeper water. If there is a good feeder creek in the cove or arm it may attract shad and bass in the fall. If your cove was in a very fertile (eutrophic) lake, or section of a lake, with low clarity it’s likely the bass remain shallow all year long, and such a shallow cove may hold fish all year. But, only you or other local anglers you talk to will really know. You can also contact your DNR fisheries folks and get info on bass and prey habits in Smith Mountain. They are usually happy to help.

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Wow! Thank you for the detailed explanation! That is exactly what i was looking for.

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