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Josh Smith

Fish Feeding Topwater, No Bite

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Hi Folks,

 

My 7-year-old boy and I went fishing this evening.  It should have been an excellent night, but we got skunked.

 

Fish were feeding topwater.  I'm not sure if they were bass or if they were sunfish.  We both had bobbers out as well as trying several different artificial lures.

 

We got skunked.  I mean, nothing.

 

I've seen this before.  There will be fish feeding all around, but can't get 'em to bite on anything I offer, and I've never figured this out.

 

This lake has LMB, various sunfish (mainly bluegill and redear), and catfish.  There are no carp or anything else I'm aware of.

 

This was Sunday night after heavy fishing pressure all weekend.  There had been a warm front and looks like the barometer is dropping slowly, anticipating rain.  I believe it's a full moon, or just was.

 

On paper conditions were perfect, and fish were obviously feeding.  In fact, it should be about pre-spawn time. 

 

Still, nothing took 'em.

 

This is one of the few patterns I've not been able to at least halfway work out. 

 

Anyone have any advice?

 

Thank you,

 

Josh

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What part of the country are you in? I too was skunked today. My girls had worms on bobbers and i tried everything else. I went out again after sundown and managed one dink on a popper. It was a tough day for sure and like you i thought it should have been better!

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I'm in Indiana. 

 

We're not exactly close neighbors, but Indiana does get your weather patterns about a day after you experience 'em!

 

Josh

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Same exact things happend to me last night, fish are in prespawn, i tried a jig with craw trailer, kvd 1.5 square bill, texas rigged grass pig. There was a school of sunfish 10 feet to my right that were not spooking from my crank when i threw it right into them. i resorted to a bitsy minnow to at lest try and catch those sunnies but they wouldnt hit that either. fished for 2 hours before it got dark and was skunked. The bass were hitting top water and jumping all evening. i should have threw a popper or a torpedo out but i dont want to fish topwater till post spawn.

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It's likely that the baitfish are somewhere deeper in the water column, and are being chased up to the surface by bass/sunfish. If it were me I would try a suspending jerkbait/slashbait, or something that sinks; then you can count it down until you find where the active fish are feeding. 

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It's likely that the baitfish are somewhere deeper in the water column, and are being chased up to the surface by bass/sunfish. If it were me I would try a suspending jerkbait/slashbait, or something that sinks; then you can count it down until you find where the active fish are feeding. 

 

Yeah, man, I tried that.  Was using swimjigs, football jigs, jerkbaits, and even a baited hook about 10' down.

 

There are no shad in this lake; the bluegill and redear are the baitfish for the bass. 

 

I should dig out my fly rod (never use it) and go back.  Maybe it's bugs they're after.  Lots of water bugs were swimming on the surface.  I don't see why that would preclude hitting something else, though.

 

Josh

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Yeah, man, I tried that.  Was using swimjigs, football jigs, jerkbaits, and even a baited hook about 10' down.

 

There are no shad in this lake; the bluegill and redear are the baitfish for the bass. 

 

I should dig out my fly rod (never use it) and go back.  Maybe it's bugs they're after.  Lots of water bugs were swimming on the surface.  I don't see why that would preclude hitting something else, though.

 

Josh

Then what do the sunfish eat? I would guess that there is some other forage species available in that lake (shiners, fatheads, dace, darters, killifish, etc.) Maybe they want something smaller in size. A trout streamer or nymph/midge might do the trick.

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Then what do the sunfish eat? I would guess that there is some other forage species available in that lake (shiners, fatheads, dace, darters, killifish, etc.) Maybe they want something smaller in size. A trout streamer or nymph/midge might do the trick.

 

That, Sir, is the million dollar question I've been trying to figure out.

 

From what I can gather, it's mostly small crawdads and other invertebrates.

 

I have been fishing this lake since I was 10.  Lots of things have changed, but one constant is the (comparatively) simple ecosystem.  Figuring out what's at the bottom of the food chain, however, has been a challenge.

 

Regards,

 

Josh

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I'm down just north of Indy.....I hear you on this one. Friday night was pretty nice, and I could see fish biting on topwater all evening, but I only caught a few.

 

I think a couple things are happening, maybe some of the other guys can help out here....

 

 

1. I think many of them are blugill/sunfish, and just simply are looking for insects. I bet if I had a fly outfit I could've killed em that night

 

2. If they're bass they may be pushing the baitfish to the surface and hitting them there. I only caught my fish using a weightless fluke just under the surface

 

3. After a high-pressure weekend they might just be wary

 

Really it's times like that I wish I had/was effective using a fly outfit because I'm sure I could do better on a night like that with one

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Sounds like fly rod time with small poppers. If you've never used one dont get intimidated, just pull some line off and get it out there.

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I'm from Indiana as well! I was fishing in Lagrange County near Middlebury on Friday. It was a beautiful, clear day and I wasn't actually sure I would catch anything in the shallows due to the cold front we recently had. So, anyways, I was on my kayak on this lake that I love to go out on, and I found this back channel that I'd never seen before. I caught one on a red lipless crank, which is the first I've caught on any kind of crank. Then I went down the back channel and switched to the shakey head rig with zman finesse worms... The bite was on like crazy! I caught 5 more in the span of a couple hours, and I could see fish everywhere under my kayak.

 

On my way out of the lake I landed one on a weighted fluke casting into the shallows. A lot of firsts that day! Never caught that many on that lake, caught one on a lipless crank for the first time, caught a bunch on the shakey head rig, and caught one using a fluke for the first time.

 

 

Then I went out on saturday and did the same exact thing and only caught one! LMAO!

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