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This is the dual of setting up a milk-run vs fishing a particular spot until your (big) fish decides to choose a particular offering. You can look at your topo map and find several spots that you believe have the ingredients (structure) to hold big fish, and visit them periodically thoroughout the day. Or you can camp out on one or two good spots (good as determined by your prior experiences on that fishery for that particular season) and fish all different kinds of baits to determine what the fish wants. Most of the time, I believe the fish were there on that spot, as evidenced by the follows I got. It's just that I couldn't give them what they really wanted.

 

I look at the issue of timing from a large scale, and a fine scale. On the large scale, I have my moon phases and the barometer trends. There is no question in my mind that on certain moon phases/ weather trends, I'm more likely to stick a big fish, compared to others. I sometimes (though not always) have the luxury of choosing the days I can be on the water. When I do, you can bet I pick the days I feel will be more productive for me. I might still get skunked, but big bass fishing is a game of playing the percentages. You pick the high percentage spots, and fish them with the high percentage baits, and if you have the chance, during the good times of the month.

 

If you're serious about catching bigger fish, start keeping notes about significant catches, and see if you can find a trend. Maybe there's one, maybe not; but something to do over the winter. If there aren't enough data points for 7# plus fish (I don't have that many), start including adult fish (4# plus). There is nothing accidental about sticking a big fish. You did something right when you made that happen, even if it was unintentional.

 

What has always confounded me is the deal about daily activity. Timing on a fine scale. Bill Murphy made a point about keeping an eye out for subtle changes in the weather while you're fishing. Some of my bigger catches corroborate this, some don't (probably I was fishing the wrong spot). Details matter when fishing for big fish, keeping your mind and your eyes open can help discern some of them.

 

The topic of moon phases and barometric trends have been beaten to death, but I would love to have a discussion about daily activity periods.

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Deep, at a past Bassmasters University in Richmond, speaker Ken Cook told us that the largemouth bass feeds 10% to 20% of the day.

 

The rest on the time they hide by cover and hang out doing nothing but watching the world float by.

 

Ken added that a bass is an opportunist and will eat anything that presents itself. The easier the opportunity the better for the bass to grab it.

 

And when not feeding, Ken told us that the bass like to have a "roof" over their heads. They will use the water surface for a roof and go deep, hide in grass beds, under lily pads and boat docks and any other cover they can find.

 

If I go out one day for fun on the water and hit the right spots at the right time I will clobber them.

 

If I go out one day for fun on the water and hit the right spots at the wrong time I will get skunked.

 

If I go out one day for fun on the water and hit the wrong spots at the wrong time I will get skunked.

 

Odds favor the bass.

 

You also have to take into consideration all of the other variables that affect bass behavior, of which you discussed in your post.

 

This is what makes those little green monsters so hard to catch.

 

Your input, please.

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I caught more big bass when moon phases, barometic pressures, weather conditions were less than "prime".

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In his book, Murphy stated:

 

While a certain moon phase can stimulate activity, the exact time of day is a result of many different things and is too complex and varied to predetermine. That's why I don't follow solunar tables. The exact time of day has too many local variables to follow with solunar tables. I'd rather use  moon phases to get the best day, and then fish all day to establish the right time of day...The only way to experience the true potential of a spot is to correctly anticipate an all-day active period and get anchored  into position before the daily active period takes place.

 

Buck Perry had a very similar philosophy - get there early and plan to stay all day, because you simply don't know when the fish will move. That's good enough for me.

 

-T9

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 I fish my home water from a canoe / trolling motor rig that clearly limits my "Milk Run" abilities.

 

 And over the past several years, I've become a proponent of the "Timing" method of bass fishing and do use it as the single most influential factor determining where & when I fish a particular lake and or spot.

 

 Using much of what Bill Murphy preached has paid off for me.  I will admit to utilizing a much more traditional lure arsenal. 

 

Several of my favorite and most productive spots will find me anchored well before what I think will be "The Time".  

 I prefer to be positioned a good long cast from "the spot" in very shallow water fishing to the deep. 

 

And don't forget about Angles. The OP discussed this in a previous post here

http://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/topic/148613-angles/?p=1664658

 

  Sometimes one can get lucky and find the fish striking angle right off.  Other times it takes a concerted effort trying various angles on a spot at different times until you find the Magic One.

 

I have Many  "Spots" that despite never taking a fish off them, I believe that at some point they hold a big fish.  So I fish them at different times, during various conditions hoping to prove myself right.  Putting the work in and figuring it out is incredibly satisfying. 

 

A-Jay

 

 

 

 

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The only way to establish a reliable "timing" pattern is by being on the water for extended periods of time.

When I'm fishing local waters 3-4 days a week or I spend a couple weeks on Toledo Bend I can tell you if the fish are on a morning bite, mid- day bite, evening bite, or night bite.

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The only way to establish a reliable "timing" pattern is by being on the water for extended periods of time.

When I'm fishing local waters 3-4 days a week or I spend a couple weeks on Toledo Bend I can tell you if the fish are on a morning bite, mid- day bite, evening bite, or night bite.

 

That's about the best I can hope for.

 

A-Jay

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The only way to establish a reliable "timing" pattern is by being on the water for extended periods of time.

 

 

Nuff said !

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At any given time under any conditions when I make a cast I either catch a fish or I don't, that's puts my odds at 50/50. In reality I don't catch a fish on ever other cast.  I've caught fish both big and small, morning, noon and night, just gotta be there when the fish are "on".  If I waited for the perfect time I'd never leave the house.

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Timing to me means being at the right place at the right time with the right lure/presentation.

Very difficult to catch bass at the wrong place, your odds are slight better at the right place at the wrong time. The right time is when bass are active.

Trophy bass anglers using live bait know being at the right location is critical, so they anchor quietly and wait by soaking bait for the right time.

The small lakes I fish there will be about 20* good spots where bass will feed at some time during the day. Nearly every skilled bass angler fishing the lake also know most the same spots, so it becomes a strategy to be at the location that you want to be on at the right time. The bait anglers or local guides are camped out on several spots, those options are gone. If you are fishing during a tournament your odds are very low being at the right location before someone is on it. So you improve your odds by fishing during the week or during weather conditions most anglers avoid or don't fish.

Finding a new good spot is golden while it last. Today more anglers fishing off shore and have excellent electronics with good bass fishing skills, so finding new spots is always a challenge.

Tom

* number of spots changes depending on the lake and seasonal periods.

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