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riverbasser

Power fishing/ search baits

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Kind of 2 part question. I see bass boats running up and down the lake and river doing what I call power fishing and I also hear others talk about only using reaction baits until they locate active fish. This has never been my style of fishing but I'm just wondering how effective it is? Are there always active bass somewhere on a body of water? If you fish this way care to give any tips or just explain your technique?

The second question is what is your favorite bait to use while your "searching"?

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It's gunning and running. Plus they have there many fish finders on too. There searching but marking there GPS. There probably picking up a bass here and there. Search bait? Spinnerbaits.

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Some bass anglers (pro and recreational) ONLY use power tactics.  Run n gun is the name of their game.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

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Another vote for the spinnerbait as a good search bait.Will add the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap to the list of good search baits.

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I can't stand fishing slow so I power fish pretty much all day. In Michigan with smallies I use a jerkbait, spinnerbait, walking bait, or a keitech depending on conditions. Once I find the fish I'll slow down a little and move down the water column with a spybait and then a tube. Once that area dries up its back to covering water with the fast stuff. 

I think I like fishing fast because I'm too anxious to slow down and I've got 10 spots to hit in 7 hours. Smallmouth roam too, they aren't nearly as predictable as largemouth are. A lot of the big smallmouth guys will have the trolling motor on high all day.

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I agree with bigbill, that sounds more like running and gunning to me. You don't have to go fast to power fish. I feel most like I'm power fishing when I have a flipping stick with a big jig or plastic and I'm picking apart heavy cover.

For the style of fishing described though, I like any kind of bladed bait, buzzbait, spinnerbait, or bladed jig.

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I don't play the "run and gun" strategy often, but when I do, I'll typically have a spinnerbait on one rod and a crankbait on another.  Swim jigs/bladed jigs are growing on me as well, but conditions dictate technique for me most of the time.  This strategy is all about getting a reaction bite and then switching to a more finesse option once that bite stops.  I fish out of a kayak or a  trolling motor powered 14' aluminum Semi-V, so to me, knowing the body of water and where the fish are likely to be is 100x more efficient than qualifying for an Olympic crew team.  Now, if I had the boat to do it, my philosophy might change, lol, but I do get a certain enjoyment from listening to guys in jet boats tell me how hard it is finding fish and then showing them pictures at the boat launch.  

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3 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

I agree with bigbill, that sounds more like running and gunning to me. You don't have to go fast to power fish. I feel most like I'm power fishing when I have a flipping stick with a big jig or plastic and I'm picking apart heavy cover.

For the style of fishing described though, I like any kind of bladed bait, buzzbait, spinnerbait, or bladed jig.

One major misconception in bass fishing is that ya have to fish t-rigs & jigs slow!

When I'm flipping/pitching/punching my trolling motor is on high until I figure out a pattern.

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  Many anglers are of the train of thought that a "run and gun" gameplan is the winning ticket. Targeting active fish can be a way to fill your limit, but in most cases the active bite produces the smaller bass. As they spend less energy to hit that fast moving lure. Thats not to say you cant get big fish run and gunning, you can, just its less frequent. Problem being once you are in that run and gun mentality, its hard to let go of that bite, and slow down for the kicker. Also, you need now to establish the slower bites pattern, and the clocks ticking. 

  As some have stated a spinnerbait, crankbait, swimjig, bladebait, even a jerkbait would be good choices to run and gun with.,.. But dont be fooled, a worm, jig and pig, grub and other bottom bouncers can be fished quickly, hence Bluebasser and Catts response.

  One of my favorites for this scenerio is the 1/2 oz jig and pig. I can either cruise quickly, or manipulate a strong wind along a shoreline flipping and pitching, skipping, and even toss it up on lillypads and fish it like a frog (just moving),.... Even shut the trolling motor off and probe a good looking downed tree. All without picking up different rod, then fishing thru a compartment looking for the right plastic, attaching the  plastic, by then you've usually drifted off that tree. Even if you have a followup lure ready, just changing rods is time thats ticking away in a tourney,... I stumbled on this funfishing one windy day looonnngggg ago, and it's stuck in my mind because it works, and works well. I have used it in and out of tournies fishing fast, or even just being lazy enjoying a funfishing day.  I guess there "is" merit in experience has no substitutes.  Proof once again, im gettin old.,...lol

 Am I advocating run and gunning? No, I dont believe in wasting time in a tourney. Being a smaller tin deep v hulled boat owner, I'm one of the slowest boats out there. On bigger waters Im last to the "hot spots",...but I've still placed, and even won some tournies in my time.,. I have had team partners that owned nitro's and such,... we tried run and gunning, still i didnt like it, it's hard to leave fish you know are down there... So if you think about it,...there's something to be said about slowing down and fishing "areas" instead of running and gunning the whole lake.

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As always, the great responses here reflect the experience & success that the BR membership anglers routinely enjoy.

First, I do not fish tournaments, meaning I'm on A-Jay time, all the time.

My version of "Run & Gun" is both fast & slow , I'll explain.  Where at least half of my "searching" is done before I leave the dock, (lake maps & charts) clearly I have to make some casts.   When fishing dictates that I need to "search" for fish, like getting out on new water, I'll select several promising areas ahead of getting to the ramp.  But  once the boat comes off plane and I'm fishing, rather than fan casting an "area" with a search bait, I'm fishing "Spots".  Some places cover a larger area than others, but I try to break them down & fish them in 'sections" otherwise I might as well just troll.   Presenting a bait that is appropriate for conditions; season, weather, water & air temps, cloud cover & winds etc. is what we all try to do and is often met with success.

 I LOVE to Chunk & Wind, long bomb cast are fun for me, so sometimes a moving bait is the first & only bait fished, especially if it's getting hammered.  Other times a jig & craw or even a drop shot is the deal.  We all have our favorites and I'll do whatever it takes to get on the right bass.  I may go through a short list of bait's & / or techniques on a spot trying to get bit, but I usually start with a slower deal and work the speed up as necessary.  This technique helps me to fish 'small" and assists in directing my focus & attention to specific funnel areas & ambush points.  Routinely these high potential spots are very subtle and can easily be missed, especially if I'm trying to fish an area the size of 3 football fields with 5 casts.

 So although I'll 'Run' to several spots as an outing may dictate, once there the 'Gun' portion includes shifting gears to a more deliberate & dissecting mode for me.  Many days on the water, I'll see several anglers come to an area where I'm fishing (sometimes I think they are just curious) they'll flail away for 5 minutes and them zoom off to another local.  Mean while, I got a few right before they arrived and often get some after they leave.  Fine with me.  The presence of other anglers or the lack of any, is never an indication of a spots potential. 

A-Jay

  

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Thanks for the detailed responses guys. As I said this has never been my style of fishing but just wanted to see how popular it was and how effective it is for these guys that like it. Always looking to try new things. I've never relied much on reaction baits all that much and after reading a few articles stating that's all they used until they got bit it made me feel like I was missing out on something. Although I do believe as A-jay said these guys are probably missing more than they are finding. I still sometimes feel I am spending more time than I should in a particular spot when maybe I should be moving on. 

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My search tools are called sonar and my eyes, power fishing to me is everything except finesse spinning tackle.

I can't fish going 50 mph and tend to determine what the bass are doing at a slower pace using my trolling motor to control boat position.

When I see boats running at high speed they are not catching bass, they are looking for bass or on a milk run.

Depending on the size of the body of water there should be active bass at various times at different locations

Tom 

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As long as you mentioned it, a fish caught with a reaction bait doesn't necessarily mean the fish are active. When used as a search tool, it is valuable because it gives away fish location. Many guys will immediately put it down once that first fish is caught and go to a presentation that allows them to pick apart an area. Others will probe the area with the reaction bait. The big difference, IMO, is that when the fish aren't active, the angler that sticks with the reaction bait may pick up another fish while the one that switches may clean up.  Of course, there's the flip side when the fish are active and the guy with the reaction bait cleans up in short order.  I prefer the 'let them tell me what they want' approach and will stick with the reaction bait before switching. Even if it's working, I'll make a few casts with a jig or worm.

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Power fishing is an art! 

Wind & Points- Spinnerbait

Points & Minimal Wind- Buzzbait

Submerged grass- Lipless

Surface weeds- Swim jig

Wood- Chatterbait 

Rip Rap- Squarebill

12-25ft- Deep Crank

25+ft- Swing Jig

 

Now go wear your arms and thumbs out. 

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The terminology is what irratates me!

Reaction lure?

How can a 10" ribbontail worm seductively falling through the water column not be considered a Reaction Lure?

Search baits?

You can work an area with your trolling motor on high throwing a spinnerbait & I bet ya I can keep up with a 3/8 oz slip sinker on a Texas Rig or a jig!

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1 hour ago, Catt said:

The terminology is what irratates me!

Reaction lure?

How can a 10" ribbontail worm seductively falling through the water column not be considered a Reaction Lure?

Search baits?

You can work an area with your trolling motor on high throwing a spinnerbait & I bet ya I can keep up with a 3/8 oz slip sinker on a Texas Rig or a jig!

Great points. 

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When using a search bait I catch myself fishing too fast sometimes. I do try to slow up and tend to catch a few more fish that way.

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When I'm fishing a small lake with elec. motor only , I cant run from spot to spot . I fish  known structure but in between I fish my way down the bank   . I'm either casting at cover or at a depth  . I almost always hit the lay-downs with plastic worms . In between cover I'll search for a productive depth .Shallow water I might throw shallow running cranks , spinners , top waters.. Often I'll start hitting fish deeper with a crankbait . There's been several times where I caught lots of fish on a Rapala Fat Rap at 5 to 6 foot  . Other days the fish will be deeper and a Rebel Deep Wee R is the ticket and so on . The thing is I'm not randomly casting . Theres a point to every cast whether it be at a stump or at a depth . I  keep a close eye on the depth finder , you never know when you might see a drop , brush-pile , feeding fish .... 

How do I know they are feeding fish . The  depth finder will show longer straighter lines because the fish are moving . I always "speculate"  that moving fish are feeding .

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 What I dont get is many anglers will hear "dock talk" about a certain lure, or technique thats working, and figure that they will give it a try.

Why for the love of god would you "try" anything during a tournament. Stick with what you know and fish your strengths. 

Say your in a 2 day tourney and the first day the leader states he got his fish on a 4" cinnamon straight tailed worm on a dropshot rig, in 16' of water. If you don't dropshot, don't try it, even if your well schooled at dropshotting, why change your gameplan due to gossip

 Stick with your gameplan, he could be lying to throw others off his bite. At least, I have come across this before, and on the second day that guy came in 2nd but revealed the truth, he was cranking the first drop from 5 feet to 9 feet.

In my tourney days, Id search out areas with a spinnerbait during prefish, and when I found some quality fish, Id switch over to a more subtle technique, when I established one that works well. That was what I went to first thing after take-off on tourney day, same area, same subtle lure. If that lure failed, then I would go back to that same spinnerbait. No guessing, no running around, unless my fish locked up. Then I would go to one of the other areas I found fish in during prefish, and only then.  

Point is ,...I wont let "talk" sway my time on the water. I had confidence in my areas and techniques and stuck with them

 As for "power fishing" If that's what they want, Id fish that way, If not, Id slow down til I found what they do want. But try and get to what they want asap, this is a tourney and time is ticking.

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