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beginningfisherman

When to use what

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Ok everyone, I'm starting to understand what everything is and how to fish it. The problem I'm having now is knowing when to use certain techniques & baits. In what conditions do I use t-rig, c-rig, pitching jigs, weightless senkos, lipless, squarebill and deep diving crankbaits, frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, Ned rig, dropshot, etc?

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Nothing is certain in bass fishing

use the bait that works best at whatever depth the fish are at. 

Use the bait that mimics the prey the bass are feeding on at the time

ill also say pick 3 of those lures and get good with them. Most anglers use all of those lures but they also have about 2 or 3 they use 80% Of the time because they have confidence and know how to use it very well

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Learn one of each

Top water,mid-depth, & bottom

Now you can cover the entire water column!

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A lot of those lures/techniques serve a similar purpose.  Like Catt said try to instead focus on two things -

1) Depth of Presentation Top/Mid/Bottom

2) Type of Presentation - Reaction/Finesse

Start out by trying to get comfortable with one of each combination between the two - Top Reaction/Mid Reaction/Bottom Reaction/Top Finesse/Mid Finesse/Bottom Finesse.

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You can use them all at any time. The key is how and where. Some days finding a pattern is easier than others. Other days no pattern is to be found. Pick your two favorite search baits and start with those. I prefer a lipless crank and a small swimbait. Fish them fast, fish them slow, deep and shallow until you get some strikes. Once you locate fish you can  slow it down and concentrate on an area with a T rig, jig, etc. Now it's time to dial in your presentation to accommodate the fishes mood and behavior. About ten years ago my father in law got me into the habit of keeping a on the water journal. Location, time of day, presentation, etc. It's proven it's worth. 

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Instead of focusing on when to use what lures, focus on bass behavior and location.

Knowing where the fish will likely be will give you a better idea of what to use. I agree with Catt. Start slow: One shallow, one mid-depth, and one deep - get comfortable with few before trying to master many. 

Alot of those have the full capability of being fished shallow, mid, and deep with little to no alteration. There is no "perfect time" to use anything specific. But there are "times" were fishing shallow is needed and many lures can accommodate that.


For instance, if you know bass are shallow, you won't use a 15' deep diver. But you could use dozens of different types of lures that can be fished shallow (chatterbait, jig, spinnerbait, shallow crankbait, shallow jerk, t-rig craw/shad/fluke, top-water, etc...). 

Just my two pennies worth. If you don't use my advice, I'd appreciate if you'd return my pennies - payday is not til next week! ;)

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6 hours ago, beginningfisherman said:

Ok everyone, I'm starting to understand what everything is and how to fish it. The problem I'm having now is knowing when to use certain techniques & baits. In what conditions do I use t-rig, c-rig, pitching jigs, weightless senkos, lipless, squarebill and deep diving crankbaits, frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, Ned rig, dropshot, etc?

Seems you've skipped a step ~

Learning what the bass in your waters eat and at what times of the day that prey is routinely available, may help you choose what bait to use & when to use it.

Additionally, it will help to know that the bass in any lake, river or reservoir are a not all looking for the same bait at the same time.  This is a good thing in that it usually means that any number of techniques / presentations can illicit a strike.  

Some seasons repeat, other times they are completely different as the environment changes so does the bait.  The bass will adapt as well. Usually pretty quickly.  If we do not it can be tough sledding.  But I do believe that having some knowledge of the bass / prey relationship can clue an angler in on where & how to start. 

A-Jay

 

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Thanks for the tips everyone. A-Jay, how do I learn about those predator/prey interactions? And how do I apply that to knowing what to throw when?

6 hours ago, blckshirt98 said:

A lot of those lures/techniques serve a similar purpose.  Like Catt said try to instead focus on two things -

1) Depth of Presentation Top/Mid/Bottom

2) Type of Presentation - Reaction/Finesse

Start out by trying to get comfortable with one of each combination between the two - Top Reaction/Mid Reaction/Bottom Reaction/Top Finesse/Mid Finesse/Bottom Finesse.

Could you explain to me what the difference between reaction and finesse is and how it would make a difference in when you use them?

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Reaction : The response a bass makes to a lure out of aggression, hunger, or in response to a perceived threat
Finesse: Also called light-line fishing - a term used to describe smaller baits, smaller weights, and thinner line. Meant more for a slow food presentation. To invoke a strike from a hungry bass looking to eat.

As for the other portion, I'll let @A-Jay answer that but I will say this in regards to the predatory/prey comment: You generally wouldn't throw a craw trailer in a lake with no crawdads. Conversely, if your lake is full of crawdads, and little to no shad or prey fish, you would be more apt to throw a craw trailer. A body of water near mayfly spawn would also be a good lake to throw flies or finesse style topwater/shallow lures.

Understanding what the bass; in an given body of water, actually prey on is extremely important to ensure the presentation you have has substance to the bass. Some will argue however that a bass will attempt to strike (out of hunger or aggression) anything it can fit in it's mouth. Whether this is the case or not, I don't know, but why not increase your chances by ensuring you're presenting something the bass see and eat often.

Again, just my take. I'm only a few years into bass fishing at a passionate level myself so perhaps others will come along and correct or caveat off what I said. :D

 

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The way I've tried to look at it is -

Finesse - lighter tackle, slower presentation, trying to attract any fish in the area that can see your bait or detect it's movement in the water with it's lateral line.  You're trying to present a bait to act like a dumb crawdad or baitfish that's completely oblivious of it's surroundings, making it an easy meal for a hungry bass.  Think of it like a mouse walking up to a snake until it's 2 inches away and gets eaten.

Reaction - heavier tackle, fast presentation, covering lots of water.  You're trying to imitate say a swimming baitfish or a crawdad zipping through the water.  It'll be a target for a hungry bass, but it can also trigger a "reaction" bite even if the fish isn't looking for a meal.  Think of it like taking a flashlight and sticking the light in front of a cat and the cat will instinctively start chasing the light if you start moving it around.  Or, think of it like taking a sirloin steak and slapping the face of a lion with no arms that's just had a big meal.  The lion isn't hungry but if you tick it off enough by doing that, it'll just reactively attack and eat the d**n steak so it's not bothering him anymore.

There's "power finesse" too where you're both using a finesse technique but covering water at the same time - for example ripping a lipless crankbait/jig/tube off the bottom and letting it fall, fishing a chatterbait then killing it and letting it fall before starting your retrieve again, or fishing a suspending jerkbait where you jerk it a few times then completely pause for a few seconds.

So a buzzbait or whopper plopper that you retrieve back at a steady pace would be Top Reaction.  A hula popper that you pop once and completely stop until the ripples go away then give it one more pop, wait for the ripples to go away, and repeat would be Top Finesse.  Crankbaits are pretty much straight Reaction baits with depth in the water column determined by it's designed diving depth.  A jig/Texas rigged/Carolina rigged/shakey head plastic that you slowly drag or hop along the bottom would all be Bottom Finesse.

I'm not experienced enough yet to know the intricacies of when to use a buzzbait vs whopper plopper vs Rage Toad vs frog vs rat vs Rage Shad vs zara spook but those are all basically the same technique - Topwater Reaction.  You don't need to buy tackle to fish every one of them and have every bait in your tackle box, but get comfortable/confident with 1-2 of them.  Same with all the other combinations  Then as you get confident (or bored) with the ones that catch you fish, you can start trying new baits.

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