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OCdockskipper

Managing Wolf Packs

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On my home lake, many of the bass are in a post spawn/not-yet-summertime pattern where they roam the shoreline in packs of 3 to 30 fish.  I call them "wolf packs" because it appears their goal is hunting down the remaining fry from this years spawn. They seem to be like tuna, just constantly on the move, and not setting up residence anywhere.  They will sometimes pull up under a dock, but I have never seen them stay put for more than a few minutes.  Once one of them begins to go, the rest follow looking for the next set of fry to attack.  This behavior lasts for about a month, until they settle into a more typical summertime pattern.

I do okay catching those bass acting this way, either by seeing them before they see me and and casting in front of them or by skipping under docks.  What I have never figured out to do is how to catch more than the first fish from these groups.  No matter if it is the sighted (seen?) fish or one from under the docks, as I bring the hooked fish to the boat, there are multiple others around him, either following or trying to grab the lure from his mouth.  They then scatter as the caught fish gets closer to the boat.  They don't go back under the docks or resume their hunt, it is kind of like I am a cop breaking up a party and the bass take off like drunken teenagers to heaven knows where.

The only thing I have ever tried occurred once as I was reeling in a 2 lb fish.  About 2 feet below him was a fish 3 times his size.  With my free hand, I grabbed a rod with a wacky rigged Senko, opened the bail & dropped it towards her face.  As it descended towards her, a different smaller fish shot in & grabbed it.  Now I've got 2 rods both hooked up, while the bigger fish is just watching the commotion of the 2 struggling bass.  I kind of was hoping the big bass would eat one of the smaller hooked bass, but she just turned & swam away.  Who knows, maybe they were her bodyguards.  It wasn't as fun trying to land two fish at once as I thought it would be, so I gave up on that technique.

Is there a way to manage or corral those wolf packs to keep them in place & catch multiple fish from the group or is "one & done" just the nature of the beast this time of the year?

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There is a school of thought* that says some bass are school fish, some are home bodies.

It's highly likely the bass you see roaming are school bass most of the time, just need to be at the right place and time to catch multiple bass from one spot.

The lakes in your nick of the woods are very small and bass tend to roam in those smaller lakes in lieu of being resident fish. Mission Vejio had a big bass die off from yellow algae 2 years ago, don't know what the big bass population is at this time.

My advice is fish during low light periods when you can't see the bass.

Tom

* video Big Mouth Forever.

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

The lakes in your nick of the woods are very small and bass tend to roam in those smaller lakes in lieu of being resident fish. Mission Vejio had a big bass die off from yellow algae 2 years ago, don't know what the big bass population is at this time.

My advice is fish during low light periods when you can't see the bass.

I haven't fished Mission Viejo in 5 years, but George Coniglio (the guy who caught the 19-12 there in 2006) caught one that was 25.6" in length last spring.  I haven't read where the overall population is now, it may still take a few years to return to anything like what it was.

I typically fish from daybreak until mid afternoon.  The fish caught in early morning usually don't have followers, they are either solo fish or their behavior is different (even if I catch multiple fish from an area only yards wide).  The only times I can count on seeing up to a dozen or more followers is mid-day during this period of the post-spawn or a few weeks during the fall.  The difference in the latter period is I am catching the fish away from the shore, over the tops of small weed beds in 5-7 feet of water.  In that situation, the followers don't scatter, I can cast a jerkbait back to the same area and catch quite a few.  It is only with this post-spawn, very shallow hunting that they follow & then scatter at the boat and I can't find them.

 

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Try throwing a double fluke rig into the pack. If they both don't get bit immediately, the second one is usually grabbed on the way to the boat.

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On 6/7/2016 at 6:23 AM, etrout72 said:

Try throwing a double fluke rig into the pack. If they both don't get bit immediately, the second one is usually grabbed on the way to the boat.

Of course, when I went out today, it was overcast all day.  Visibility was real low, so I couldn't see any followers or wolf packs.  

I did toss the double fluke a bunch after hooking up using other baits, just in case the fish I caught was part of a school.  5 times it led to another bite, and one of those was a double.  Don't know if I would have caught those fish with the original lures, but it is fun to have the possibility of a double with every cast.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

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Glad it worked for you. Sounds like you had an awesome day. Its one of my favorites to throw, especially when the bass are schooled up.

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