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What Type Of Forage Do You Try To Imitate?

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hey guys-

 

I hope the question i am asking here makes some sense:

 

If you are fishing a lake that has multiple baitfish for the bass, which one do you pick?

 

Is it the one that is most abundant or do other factors come into play?

 

Im sure it depends on timing too ( especially for the guys in Cali with the trout stockings )

 

Around my area, i most commonly see yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, white perch and smaller minnows.

 

Which baitfish should i try to imitate?

 

Thanks!
 

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For me

 

Baitfish: bluegill, yellow perch, golden shiners, shiners...

 

Other: Craws, newts, frogs, mice...

 

 

And of course the bird  :eyebrows:

3.777 001

 

In my opinion the most important to imitate (for me in my area atleast), is a craw, or a bluegill... You can do so with crankbaits, texas rigs, swim jigs, jigs, etc. You can imitate the craw with even more ways than the bluegill or perch with a carolina rig or jika rig.

 

Your right, forage is going to be more abundant at certain times and the bass are going to be targeting certain things more than others at times. This calls for different techniques and knowing where the forage will be. For example, imitating a bluegill or a craw prespawn will be different than postspawn or even spawn. Speed, size, location, and movement will be different...

 

If I were you I'd get a solid hold on imitating craws, and for a baitfish bluegill/perch, as I said above, you can imitate them similarly in many situations...

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None in particular.

 

I don´t beleive in "match the hatch", in the 30+ years I´ve fished for bass I´ve caught them with tons of stuff that doesnt imitate anything a bass can identify by theoretically imitating prey.

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None in particular.

 

I don´t beleive in "match the hatch", in the 30+ years I´ve fished for bass I´ve caught them with tons of stuff that doesnt imitate anything a bass can identify by theoretically imitating prey.

 

Buzzbaits come to mind.

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I don't care what I am imitating, as long as a bass thinks it's food I'm all set. I take people who don't fish much with me a couple times a year, they see some of the stuff I have, like spinnerbaits, jigs, etc.....and always ask what's that suposed to be. I give them the same answer..............I don't care, as long as a bass thinks it's food. They often respond with "I have never seen anything like that in the water".......to which I usually say back...."you ever seen a hot dog growing on a tree? yet you eat that."

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If it looks injured, confused or simply out of place and easy to eat a bass will likely take a poke at it.

 

It's rare for me to find that a bass will solely eat ONLY one thing (bluegills over craws, etc).

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EXACTLY !!!!! as long as bass think it´s food and bites it who cares what imitates. Kent mentions buzzbaits, how about spinnerbaits ?

 

Do not overthink it !

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I do to an extent , if I am on a bait school of shad , I will throw something like a Fluke or a flutter spoon to imitate a dying/injured bait fish , but most of the time I try to get the bait to match the situation of water color and clarity vs. weather conditions . 

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None in particular.

 

I don´t beleive in "match the hatch", in the 30+ years I´ve fished for bass I´ve caught them with tons of stuff that doesnt imitate anything a bass can identify by theoretically imitating prey.

 

Buzzbaits come to mind.

 

If it looks injured, confused or simply out of place and easy to eat a bass will likely take a poke at it.

 

It's rare for me to find that a bass will solely eat ONLY one thing (bluegills over craws, etc).

 

Whether the angler is trying to imitate a certain baitfish or not, the fish still looks at the lure as if it is some type of forage or something that is really irritating them. I'm just trying to answer his question, what were lures designed to do? - Catch fish, how will we get a fish to have a go at something artificial? Make it look like what a bass eats... Of course lures have evolved tremendously, now we have a number of ways to catch fish, some are designed specifically to match baitfish and some just flat out catch fish.  Even if you don't believe in "matching the hatch" it doesn't hurt to do so, even if your not matching a specific type of forage and the fish eats it, that fish may have thought he was eating a craw when you were trying to imitate a perch.

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Whatever I find on sale is what I imitate. Don't over think it. White, black, brown, green and some chartreuse. Like guys have already said, if it looks tasty to a fish, good. If not, try something else.

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In my experience, if bass are so focused on one particular kind of baitfish they can be extremely difficult to catch. They get so focused on particular sizes, colors, and movements that they can be almost impossible to get to bite. I like to let the area I'm fishing dictate what kind of prey I'm imitating. 

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Just gotta pay attention to your environment. If fish your catching are spitting up bait look and see what it is will give you an idea on color and size and species. I agree its not always the most important part of catching fish. Just all depends on the environment and if the fish got the feed bag on or they are being skiddish.

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When I match the hatch, I shoot more for color than size. One of the lakes I fish has a good assortment of shad, crawfish, and perch. Those are the colors I start out with.

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Bass have varied diets and are eaters of opportunity, but they do also have preferences depending on seasonal changes in my experience. As the water gets hotter the shell of the craw becomes very hard and difficult for the bass to bust with there crack plate so bass will prefer Gills, Crappie, and Shad to Craws. What's confusing is that just because the lure looks a craw on land doesn't mean its a craw in the water. ie. the rage craw when on the fall is imitating a fish and not a craw till it hits bottom.

 

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I don't care what I am imitating, as long as a bass thinks it's food I'm all set.

The best answer! Plus, even if a bass doesn't think an object is food, the whole idea of using lures is to excite a bass into biting!!!

 

First scenario: think about it, unless you've seen bass bust'n shad on the surface or near a bait ball on your sonar (the only visual cues possible), you can't be sure a bass isn't sitting minding its own business and not really in a feeding mood. Therefore imagine this:  A bass is suspending somewhere off bottom and all of a sudden some hot dog shaped mass (Zara Spook) is swishing back and forth rhythmically overhead, interrupting its reverie. It would be similar to  someone using a bullhorn at your front door at two in the morning!  My first thought would be to come out swinging a very large bat, but in my case the response is one of anger; in a bass's case, primitive aggression is most likely the primary reason it struck after it became excited].

Scenario #2: Aggression is contagious.

If a bass is hyped up, its fins erect and its eye balls are darting back and forth, something made it edgy! Could be it sensed other fish feeding nearby. I've seen it first hand in my semi-clear pond:

I was trying out drop shot baits on pan fish and and getting them to bite only four feet from me near a weed line. After a sunfish and four yellow perch were caught, a one pound bass came out of nowhere and was caught on the same lure. Fish, regardless of species, affect the mood of other fish to be more or less aggressive. But even if other fish didn't make that fish nervous and excited, your lure could be the stimulus that accomplishes that. In other words, your lure lit the fuse of a bass's excitement resulting in an explosive response.

So, other than the certainty that bass are feeding on a particular species (which no one can be sure of except manufacturers and pros that want to sell you stuff), those two scenarios are basically why bass strike artificial lures, with a fish's excitement the reason they have in common. The goal of initiating excitement (the fish's and the anglers), is what every angler strives to accomplish. A lure's design, action, shape and color speak louder than what it may look like.

Just My Humble Opinion and one that has served me well for over forty years.

Frank

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I imitate small bluegill especially when punching Lily pad fields. bluegill "pop" bugs off the undersides of pads so when I bounce a watermelon blue/orange flake plastic under the pads it imitates something bass see and eat every day.

On the river bouncing a jig n trailer in brown across bottom gets hit a lot by smallies.

throwing a white swimsenkos across a point imitates a shad being ambushed.

you can imitate prey and it does work. It matters less with reaction style baits. However the right color on a reaction bait can be useful in the lure being spotted and struck.

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I have more confidence in matching the hatch myself. Here that means young tilapia and finger Mullet. Color is debatable and depends in water type but size is important as far as I'm concerned.

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I think a lot of folks get all twisted up in their socks over trying to imitate a particular forage. It doesn't hurt a thing to do so mind you, just don't get crazy over it. A bass is an opportunistic feeder. If a bug or a duckling gets close enough, it's going to get chowed down on.

 

Depth & speed controls are much more important things to be focused on.

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Shad,shad,shad, and oh yea occasinaly bluegill

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I've never seen anything swimming around that looks like a neon yellow senko but it's my #1 lure.

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