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Kuenro02

Finding Bigger Fish

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Fished a tourney yesterday and caught 40+ bass but 2.4 lbs was my largest fish. Caught most fish beating the bank with a frog, buzz bait and spinnerbait. Didn't do well as guys brought in limits of 3-5 lbers. Should I have focused off shore more to find the larger fish? My co angler caught a 5lb late in the day on a 10xd on a rock pile in 12 ft of water. Thermocline showed up around 15 ft on my graph so figured I wouldn't touchange anything below that. Tough cause some guys say don't leave a technique that's working but I think I should have left that technique to find bigger fish. Very broad question but do the bigger fish go deep this time of year? Do those bigger fish go shallow early morning then shift out as the temps come up? I know it's situational and a broad question but any help is appreciated!

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Everybody or team but one didnt win . Better luck next time .  Next tourney a huge stringer may be caught shallow .  

 

Tournaments are usually won or lost pre-fishing .

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This time of year, I tend to catch bigger fish deep. That's not to say that you can't catch the occasional big 'un shallow. Particularly if grass is involved and/or its early or late in the day. However, I find that I tend to catch bigger fish with more consistency in deeper water during the summer. Plus I think that those deeper fish don't see as many lures as shallow fish since most anglers beat the bank and fewer anglers are comfortable fishing deep. 

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Tourney time isn't the time to go looking for fish from the get go. I'd suggest doing what is done the most; get your limit first then target bigger fish and cull. 

You do need to have a back-up plan going in. That back-up can prove invaluable even when you get your limit as it can produce the fish that will make the difference in cashing in. 

If you have confidence in a few deep spots, by all means start there and your shallow pattern can be your back-up. 

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Your partner caught a 5 lb bass so you know where the bigger are!

Tom

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10 hours ago, Kuenro02 said:

Tough cause some guys say don't leave a technique that's working but I think I should have left that technique to find bigger fish.

Very broad question but do the bigger fish go deep this time of year?

Do those bigger fish go shallow early morning then shift out as the temps come up?

I know it's situational and a broad question but any help is appreciated!

If ya aint catching nothing but little fish it's cause there aint nothing but little fish there!

For every fish ya catch on the bank there's 5 behind you waiting to be caught!

Yes there is a shallow water bite early but there's a deep water bite early as well!

I never tournament fish for just a limit, I start out targeting kicker fish!

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

If ya aint catching nothing but little fish it's cause there aint nothing but little fish there!

For every fish ya catch on the bank there's 5 behind you waiting to be caught!

Yes there is a shallow water bite early but there's a deep water bite early as well!

I never tournament fish for just a limit, I start out targeting kicker fish!

I like this! Seems like first thing in the morning will be your best chance of a big girl so why not start where they're at. I just didn't know if most big fish came up early then slide back out deep or if you start first thing targeting deep? 

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There is a misconception about largemouth bass daily movement. The concept of swarms of bass moving into a feeding zone from deeper water is a myth. Seasonal movement happens; cold water period bass moving up to shallower warmer water during post spawn is a good sample. During the warm water summer period LMB tend to stay near where their food source is located, they don't move up from deeper water and start feeding. What happens is the bass "move up" their feeding activity periodically, so timing becomes critical. That 5 lb bass lived near that rock pile and other larger size bass will also be in that area, they don't come out of the depths and start feeding on that rock pile.

So when I said you know where the bigger are you already know. 15' thermocline and a rocky structure within the depth zone is a classic location for bigger bass.

Tom

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I totally disagree Tom!

There's plenty radio telemetry studies supporting the daily movement of bass to feeding areas.

What can not be determined is how far the bass are willing to move. On some bodies of water there is a large enough population of prey available which relates to the bass not moving far. On bodies of water with inadequate food sources that movement is profoundly farther.

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

I totally disagree Tom!

There's plenty radio telemetry studies supporting the daily movement of bass to feeding areas.

What can not be determined is how far the bass are willing to move. On some bodies of water there is a large enough population of prey available which relates to the bass not moving far. On bodies of water with inadequate food sources that movement is profoundly farther.

My point is the bass usually don't go deeper, they move horizontally during the warm water period to follow baitfish or suspend over deeper water. Most of the LMB population stays in specific areas, a few migrate greater distances and then stay then stay in that area a few days before moving again. By myth I saying the bass are already there,  they didn't just show up or move up and start biting. Smallmouth Bass tend to roam every day, much more than LMB.

Tom

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Right now you can catch fish all day shallow in our relative latitude due to shad are starting to get into the creek/cove areas and typically should have a good amount of bluegill as well to supplement.  There should be a good mix however and while this is relative...the good fish are still deep. 

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2 hours ago, WRB said:

My point is the bass usually don't go deeper, they move horizontally during the warm water period to follow baitfish or suspend over deeper water. Most of the LMB population stays in specific areas, a few migrate greater distances and then stay then stay in that area a few days before moving again. By myth I saying the bass are already there,  they didn't just show up or move up and start biting. Smallmouth Bass tend to roam every day, much more than LMB.

Tom

With today's down/side imaging you can witness it for yourself. Scanning a feeding flat shows nothing, scanning nearby deep water shows bass; a hour later there's bass on the flat & less in deep water.

What happened if they didn't move up?

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Kuenro, after the spawn, which comes in waves, the bigger ladies move to deeper water from the spawning grounds.

Many then start their trek back to their favorite haunts or swim the flats, points, rocks, grass, etc. in deeper water.

Some of the ladies will hit the bank in search of a nice meal; otherwise they can hold deep in their favorite structure and wait for a meal to swim by.

So, as was said by, with a small change by me, Horace Greely in the Manifest Destiny: "Go deep young man. Go deep."

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Understanding LMB anatomy helps to understand how deep they can be and move up in the water column. All bass rely on thier air bladders to maintain neutral bouyance so they can suspend at a specific depth being weightless, just floating in place using fins to keep stabilized at rest.

If a bass is in 35' of water with stabilized air bladders and decide to move up in the water column the air bladder expands because there isn't any valves to release the increasing pressure. 20' of depth change is starting to prevent the stomach to hold food as the air bladder pushes down onto it. 25' of depth change the air bladder starts to push the stomach out the throat. 35' the bass can no longer maintain the ability to swim upright. A quick dash of 15' to catch prey and return back down is a common tactic with bass, 20' is pushing the envelope but the can swallow the prey capture by going back down where it started.

For this reason bass tend to stay within a depth zone and make depth changes slowly.

Bass suspended over deep water are inactive most of the time, low percentage bass to catch, unless they are feeding on baitfish at that depth. When the bass move onto structure it's usually hunting prey.

Tom

 

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Fish of the same species generally hang out with other fish of a similar size too (for schooling fish only, not solitary predators).  The reason for this is that most fish are cannibalistic.  Bass, walleyes, and trout will often eat each other.  Is a 3 pounder gonna eat a 2 pounder?  No.  But a 6 pounder might eat a 2 pounder.

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4 hours ago, Catt said:

With today's down/side imaging you can witness it for yourself. Scanning a feeding flat shows nothing, scanning nearby deep water shows bass; a hour later there's bass on the flat & less in deep water.

What happened if they didn't move up?

I agree. The last 5'er I caught along with the 3.5's and 4's were all in a flat right on the edge of a break. 

They weren't there first thing in the morning, but they were there at noon. No kicker size bass lives in an 8' deep weed flat where the weeds are only 8" tall and there is zero cover or structure. They came up because that's where the perch and fry are. 

I agree there are deep fish that are always deep, but if there is food up shallow in the summer there will be bass up shallow.

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7 hours ago, WRB said:

Don't know why but when I quote someone it stays in my reply!

Tom no one is suggesting a 20-25' change in minutes!

But 10-15' over 12-14 hrs is a daily occurrence.

My strongest pattern right now has bass holding suspended at 25' over 30-35' creek channel.

I could try to pick off a couple with jigging spoons but when I wait until 7-7:30 they start moving up on a 12-16' flat & will stay there all night.

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