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Big Bass After The Spawn

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Found a little nugget of gold hiding in my fishing folder.

 

Thanks to WRB/ Tom Young.

 

 

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Have ever wanted to know where the big bass go after the spawn?
 
During pre spawn and the actual spawning cycle we read about and catch big bass, however following that period the lake seems to swallow up these big bass
until next season. Occasionally one is caught, usually at night. The answer to that question is both simple and complex. Big bass are never far from their preferred prey and depends on the lake classification and of the type of bass you are targeting.
 
Where I fish in highland deep reservoirs, big bass establish home zones in 15 to 35 feet of water. The reason for this is that is where the thermocline is located and big bass seek the most comfortable water temperature that has good DO levels and offers both security and prey. Where is this location on your lake? Outside water with structure and cover that holds prey and gives the big bass the advantage to easily catch the prey they seek.
 
The big bass hold in there home zones and move up toward the shore line at dusk and roam at night. Largemouth bass will move up to shallow water 2 to 10 foot depth, smallmouth tend stay a little deeper on isolate structure near break lines and spots tend to move up to gravel or rocky breaklines. All big bass like to locate near wood on deep breaks. Where do you fish during the late spring, summer and fall? if it is not outside, you may not be fishing the right locations.
 
Only a few lures can work below 15' depth and represent the prey bass are targeting. Swim baits, jigs, slow rolled spinner baits and big plastic worms are the type of lures that catch the majority of big bass during the off season.
 
Tom

 

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Nice write up. Good find deep. Thanks to Tom for once again sharing some very good hard earned knowledge to us all, once again, at no cost to us.

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Nice. Now please work for me in my reservoirs!! :smiley:

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"The big bass hold in their home zones and move up towards the shore line at dusk and roam at night."

So big bass that live 4-5 miles offshore will swim all the way to the shallows at dusk?

What if there's no wood on deep breaks?

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"The big bass hold in their home zones and move up towards the shore line at dusk and roam at night."

So big bass that live 4-5 miles offshore will swim all the way to the shallows at dusk?

What if there's no wood on deep breaks?

4-5 hundred yards is reasonable, all they need is a prey source on the breaks.

Tom

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Tom, do you know the habits of bluegill and crawfish at night? Are they nocturnal or diurnal, Prefer feeding at certain times or any other pertinent information regarding largemouth prey?

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Tom, do you know the habits of bluegill and crawfish at night? Are they nocturnal or diurnal, Prefer feeding at certain times or any other pertinent information regarding largemouth prey?

Crayfish/crawdads are very active at night, just take a flash light to any waterway with a crawdads population at night and you will see crawdads in shallow water. Bluegill are not active at night, tend to hide in cover. Blue gill are active at dusk when terrestrial insects are hatching and flying around the water surface.

Rodents are also active at night, good time to use a rat swimbait.

Tom

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Pretty interesting information on fishing deep highland reservoirs. In the northeast deep highland reservoirs aren't common. Naturally formed lakes are most common, falling into Eutrophic and Mesotrophic classification. There are numerous Oligotrophic lakes as well. A proven pattern here in the heat of the summer is fishing hollow bodied frogs shallow, usually 3-5 ft deep but as shallow as 1 foot, in the thickest green weeds you can find. It is an exciting way to fish. It is a stark contrast to fishing 15-35 ft in deep highland reservoirs which seem to be common in the western US.

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Lake classification is important, natural lakes are very different than man made impoundments and there are several classes of man made impoundments that differ, plus all these bodies of water age differently, all affecting bass location.

Tom

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When these big bass look for the thermocline, will they suspend in the thermocline? or will they try and be on the bottom?

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When these big bass look for the thermocline, will they suspend in the thermocline? or will they try and be on the bottom?

 

Actually, there are many lakes that don't stratify into thermal layers, which is saying that many lakes

do not have a thermocline (aka: metalimnion). Further, trophy bass don't actively "seek" the thermocline,

and for all we know they may not even know it exists (indeed, on many lakes a thermocline doesn't exist).

In lakes that stratify though, the thermocline tends to limit the maximum depth of fish.

I say "tends to limit" because it's actually the "oxycline" that dictates the maximum depth of fish life.

If a fish spends time in the anoxic zone below the oxycline it will succumb to asphyxia.

The oxycline usually lies at a similar depth to the thermocline, but depending on the season,

it can migrate considerably below the thermocline.

 

Roger

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In simple terms the big bass seek prey, comfort and sanctuary.

In deep structured lakes with a thermocline the comfort zone is cooler water in the 70 degree range and this is near the thermocline depth. The reason is cooler water contains more dissolved oxygen levels than shallower warmer water and provides a sanctuary zone. Lakes with prey fish that prefer cooler water, like trout populations, provide a prey source for the big bass. These areas are often away from obvious structure in what appears to be open water areas, the bass see very little angler pressure.

Tom

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Pretty interesting information on fishing deep highland reservoirs. In the northeast deep highland reservoirs aren't common. Naturally formed lakes are most common, falling into Eutrophic and Mesotrophic classification. There are numerous Oligotrophic lakes as well. A proven pattern here in the heat of the summer is fishing hollow bodied frogs shallow, usually 3-5 ft deep but as shallow as 1 foot, in the thickest green weeds you can find. It is an exciting way to fish. It is a stark contrast to fishing 15-35 ft in deep highland reservoirs which seem to be common in the western US.

I am still working on making the shift. Its a huge mindset change. I was in ct two years ago and now in wa.

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When these big bass look for the thermocline, will they suspend in the thermocline? or will they try and be on the bottom?

Roger is right, not all lakes layer into thermoclines. Florida where you are located has mostly natural lakes and a low land reservoirs that are different than highland or hill land reservoirs that were created by damming river valleys. Wind tends to mix the large bodies of water and springs to tend keep the deeper water areas cool rather than thermal layers. The benefit to the bass is DO levels are fairly consistent, due in part to green aquatic vegetation.

The bass still seek prey, sanctuary and comfort zones. The only way to know in deep water over 20' is use your sonar until or trail and error. Springs are often over looked by bass anglers.

Tom

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This is not a reply to any one post, but questions the consensus opinion

IMO, when we think of bass as animals that seek a “comfort zone”, we’re viewing a cold-blooded creature

through the eyes of a warm-blooded animal. Humans “must” maintain a body temperature of 98.6 deg F,

because a change in core body temperature in either direction can result in death.

For this reason, Mother Nature provided us with a thermal warning system.

Whenever our core temperature is threatened by cold or hot temperatures we experience discomfort.

 

Fish are cold-blooded animals that have no body temperature to maintain.

What purpose would it serve to provide a cold-blooded fish with a thermal warning system?

From all appearances, fish are comfortable in all water temperatures. Whether they stay in place

or run around the lake, all fish are exposed to the full annual temperature range of their lake,

there's no escape. The annual thermal range in some lakes might span from 32 to 95 degrees,

but has no ill-effect on comfort or longevity.

 

The constant core temperature of a warm-blooded animal has its own merits. Although temperature swings

cause discomfort in man, it doesn’t cause any change in man's behavior or metabolism. In sharp contrast,

bass may not feel discomfort from temperature change, but it affects both their metabolism and disposition,

but behavior shouldn’t be confused with comfort  (just my 'too sentz').

 

Roger

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Water temperature is very important to most fish species and most have a low tolerance to fast temperature changes greater than 10 degrees.

Florida LMB normal temperature range is between 45 to 90 degrees, they haven't been able to survive in lakes where the core water temperature drops below 45 degrees, affecting how far north they can be introduced.

The waters ability to maintain high enough DO levels, over 3 mg/L above 90 degrees is marginal. Green aquatic plants produce DO during day light and that helps the bass to survive in high water temperatures.

Bass are cold blooded, all fish are except bluefin tuna, they are warm blooded.

So we will agree to disagree and move on.

Tom

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Water temperature is very important to most fish species and most have a low tolerance to fast temperature changes greater than 10 degrees.

Florida LMB normal temperature range is between 45 to 90 degrees, they haven't been able to survive in lakes where the core water temperature drops below 45 degrees, affecting how far north they can be introduced.

The waters ability to maintain high enough DO levels, over 3 mg/L above 90 degrees is marginal. Green aquatic plants produce DO during day light and that helps the bass to survive in high water temperatures.

Bass are cold blooded, all fish are except bluefin tuna, they are warm blooded.

So we will agree to disagree and move on.

Tom

 

WRB, my above post was singular in point, it questioned the notion that bass actively seek a  “comfort zone”.

In your reply you mention ‘fast temperature change greater than 10 degrees’, ‘Florida LMB normal temperature range’,

‘DO levels’ and ‘warm-blooded bluefin tuna’.

I'm really not sure what we’re agreeing to disagree about, but still like the idea of moving on.

 

Roger

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Roger, I'll only say that oxygen can come up short in warmer water. It also holds less O2. I also find that the warmest water is usually the most stagnant water, which doesn't help this O2 thing. So if you can put that as "comfort" in your paragraph in place of deep, or cooler, or what ever temperature, does it make more sense? I'm thinking that temperature is just a symptom of low O2, some of the time. Since must any cheap fish finder, along with the most expensive shoes us temp, that's the first thing we blame. There's bo such thing as a cheap dissolved oxygen sensor. Years ago, I had a DO pen. I think that cost me a couple hundred bucks. pH pens dipped below $100, but we're only as good as the calibration. You also have that deal where there's a relationship between DO, or more properly, CO2, and pH. pH, being a log rhythmic, non linear measurement, can affect fish quicker than temperature. But now we're just scratching the surface of water chemistry. Fish like stability. I'll leave it at that.

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Roger, you stated the thermal range of some lakes might span from 32 to 95 degrees, but has no ill-effect on comfort or longivety. Since we are discussing LMB water temps below or above their survival range causes very high stress leading to death.I agree some lakes have water temps that range from 32 freezing to 95 degrees in shallow water areas, the bass are not in those extremes because it's not comfortable outside their survival range.

Some fish can be flash frozen and survive, that doesn't happen naturally because the fish move.

You and I both fish in salt water and know the importance of thermal breaks, a few degrees is very important to pelagic game fish. Albacore tuna for example stay in 62-67 degree water and constantly move to stay there. In our deep structured lakes a thermal break near 70-75 degrees is optimal for big bass during the summer. With today's sonar units you can see how deep the bass are with ease and determine if there is a thermocline or a preferred life zone depth.

The DO discussion is directly tied to water temperature and comfort.

Agree that cold blooded animals don't suffer from hyperthermia like warm blood animals and the temp extremes simply cool or heat their body temps to whatever those surrounding water temps are.

Tom

Edited by WRB

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