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Swbass15

High desert clear water bass

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First off I'm new to the website but have been reading for a couple years now..

I need help targeting bass on a desert lake in new mexico. From March to September  the water level drops daily, maybe a foot a day. Water clarity diminishes from clear to cloudy as the year passes. Both smallmouth and largemouth are present. Structure is plenty, ledges, humps, bluff walls and ridges. Cover becomes non existent by may and prior to that it is limited wood or salt cedar. Crayfish blue gill threadfin and gizzard shad are primary forage.

I do really well with crankbaits like sk flat slide or 1.5 squarebill, wacky senko a tube at times and a weightless wacky senko. But I catch tons of short fish and my largest has only gone 3lbs and it was a prespawn smallie. How would you target this lake and what would you use? Also I almost always fish behind someone and he likes to beat the bank but moves at slower pace. Thanks for the help!

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Having fished a lot of New Mexico lakes in years past, I would find the next drop off near the cover that was once there.  I like to fish deep diving crankbaits, that works good a search tool for me. As it warms up, fish the off shore structure; humps, ledges, secondary points, with your lure of choice. To know the owl, you must know the field mouse, same goes with bass, you have to find the forage, that will give you an idea where the bass are. Finally since your partner is beating up the bank, he is giving you the deep water to try.

 

BTW what lake is it you are fishing?

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Elephant butte. I find it hard to fish the deep water off to the side as I'm blind casting to who knows what.. as far as targeting them off shore it seems like most fish show up as suspended, I don't know if the are bass or stripers but they are deff bigger marks and not whites.  Besides a deep crank, which I to like to throw usually 3xd or 5xd what would you suggest? I haven't had any luck with a jerk bait and absolutely have no confidence in it, and spook type baits. I am comfortable throwing a drop shot and was wondering about trying to swim it through the middle of the water column with a small swimbait as I lack confidence with any over 4 in. Strictly do to the fact I've never had a bite. Thanks for you time and help just trying to find a way to fish clean water behind someone and expand my abilities.

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With the striper population in the lake, the bass are going to be sticking closer to cover for the most part. I can't remember the rules for NM, but with the shad population, I would try an A rig.

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OK I'll give that shot, I will have to see if my club allows them as well. What would be your thoughts on the continuous dropping water level? Would you stick with the off shore stuff mainly? 

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With the water dropping find the next drop-off or cover they are relating to. The off shore stuff will be more consistent, especially after it warms up.

They make A rigs that have teasers i.e. baits with no hooks. If you can't use a 3 or 5 hook setup

 

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Alright I'll give it a shot and see how I do. Found out I'll be fishing with someone else next week so I'll see if I can put it to work behind him. Thanks for the input!

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Hello -I am new to this sight and also live in SE NM.  I currently fish Sumner lake, and experience some the same lowering water issue.  I have found I just move out a little deeper the areas I fish.  I have had a lot of success throwing texas rigged plastics, square bill cranks, and spinnerbaits.  I fished this last weekend and the smallmouth were hammering the soft plastics. 

I am originally from AZ and have found the techniques I used in AZ don't seem to work as well in NM, and the drop shot is one of them.  I know it has to work and wonder if i am using the righ color.  Westy worms worked in AZ, but I have not have much success in NM.

Have you been fishing any other lakes besides the Butte?

 

 

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GnM,

t-rigged plastics are a weakness for me. Can't seem to buy a bite. I have picked up the dropshot a lot this year and have done well. Green pumpkin, watermelons, and shad based colors work well over here. I have never tried the westy worm. Senkos  seem to produce year around as well. 

This year I've learned they will still munch even with dropping water levels, and shallow as well. My 3 year old just busted a 2lb l.m. yesterday on a d.s. in 4 fow. I've fished other lakes in sw  nm  but nothing on your side of the state. Try a shad color senko  or roboworm  on a d.s. and let me know how that works. 

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Swbass15,

For our t-rigs we have been using yamamoto craw's and creature baits in watermelon color with black flake. We have also has success on Gene Larew Biffle Bug watermelon color.  I prefer the yamamoto baits, they seem to work very well, downfall is they are a little pricey.  Next time out I will try some shad color d.s.   Another bait I like to throw and have some success is yamamoto hula grubs on a yamamoto football head jigin 1oz to 3/4oz.  It is a pretty versatile bait as you can drag it or swim it.  Do you know if they have any pro-am style tournaments on the Butte?

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There are a couple clubs who fish here. Elephant butte, and Socorro clubs fish it. Also American Bass fishes here as well, and I think Sun Country. The NM BASS federation is talking about a tourney  here nest year, at least that is the rumor. That is probably the only pro am kind I know of. I think ute  and Conchas have some pro am though. I have only fished my club tourneys though. The aba  seems to be the most competitive here even on a bad day still seems someone finds 5.

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Summer Bass Fishing

65 Degrees And Warmer | 1-20 Feet Deep
As Upper Lake layers warm, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass typically go Deep to Cooler Waters. In Summer, Bass only come to the Surface to feed, generally before Dawn and after Dusk, though Bass will feed on the Surface anytime their food is there. When Bass are on top, use Buzzbaits, Propbaits, and Whopper Ploppers In the Black Colors for Windy conditions. When Bass are deep, fish a Spinning Reel size 2500 or 3000 with 14 lb. Yellow Color Braid with a Fluorocarbon Leader using 6 pound and 8 pound test. Dropshot, with Small Plastic Worms. Best are 6" to & 7" Robo Straight Tail Worms. During the Summer you want to use longer worms to achieve slight movement at much deeper water depths. Best colors are Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin/Candy with Red or Purple Flake in them. Crayfish colors such as Morning Dawn, Watermelon Candy with a Pearl Belly. You can cover most waters with two to three Green Colors and two or three Shad Colors. As for Dropshot Weights I personally use Tungsten Dropshot weight by Reins in 1/8oz to 1/2 oz.... All Tungsten Weight are not all the same, Reins have a much higher % of Tungsten in them, and the more Tungsten in the alloy they are much more sensitive. When you are casting a Dropshot, pull the rig until the weight catches onto something and then start shaking it. Use the Pencil-Style Tungsten Weights because even if you get hung up, you can rip it real hard and you generally you wont lose the weight. When you fish Open Water, Vertically Jigging the Dropshot use the Bell-Style Tungsten Sinker, 1/8 to 1/2 ounce. When fishing Vertically shake the slack in your line while keeping contact with the bottom. Also fish off Rocky or Brushy Lake Points.

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Hot rod,

Primary forage in my lake is mainly gizzed shad or threadfin. Crayfish are present as well, but sunfish and bluegill seem pretty much non existent. Currently we are loosing water at close to a foot a day, and inflow is well below the 2,400 cfs they are pulling, so it creates current but with constant drop to the water. With as low as the lake is there is no cover at all, just rock points, walls, and humps. What would be your first thought?

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Have to fish what you have. Dropshot the Humps, Primary Points and Secondary Points. You will have to use both Casting and Vertical Jigging. I assume that you are fishing from a boat. The Humminbird Helix 5 Sonar with Side Imaging Sonar would really help to locate the fish before you start fishing.

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Yeah it will be from a boat but I'm the non boater. My boater does not like to fish deep than maybe 8ft year around though.

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3 lures  come to mind fishing desert canyon lakes; spider jigs, drop shot worms and transparent jerk baits. It's hard to beat smoke colored 4" GYCB Double rial Hula grub jigs as the go to lure, followed by purple/red 5" drop shot worms. When the bass are chasing bait fish the LC ghost shade jerk baits are very effective.

Tom

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WRB,

Thanks for the input. I've never had much luck with the hula grub, but will try it again. Jeri baits are a weakness too. I have done quite well with roboworm, leaches, and reapers. I usually can cat them on a crank as well. I just have not been able to put a big fish pattern together in four years now. 

Loved your piece on crank bait fishing you did. That really helped me a lot! How is Casitas fishing? I spent a week in Ojia last summer on fire assignment but never got a chance to wet a line, was extremely disappointed.

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Keep in mind that Hula Grubs can be finesse C-rigged. I use 3/0 light wire off set hook, 3/16 oz black Pro-Jo weight, about 30" between weight and hook. This allows the grub to glide an move slowly like a small school of baitfish....use  3/8  football with 4" and 1/2-3/4 oz football jig with 5" Hula grubs 

Some colors to try 305, 306, 238, 221, 334.

Casitas has been very good this year, however it's difficult to launch do to the low water and getting lower every day.

Bait ball Roboworms and Smallie special Iovino worms have been working good drop or slip shot, you might want to try those.

good luck.

Tom

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Well I caught a lot of fish early yesterday on a whopper plopper until about 930. After that picked up a few on a crank, reapers. Couldn't catch a keeper to save my life and blanked  in the tourney. Water Temps were in the 80,s and we fished main lake stuff, never deeper than 12ft though.

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