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Hez

Baitfish busting the surface...what to do?

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I am in central Florida - fishing the Harris Chain of lakes.  

The last week or so I have been noticing bait fish breaking the surface more - and it creates a battle within my mind, making me want to stop dragging soft plastics around grass edges and start fishing fast with rattle traps and such - to mimic the baitfish - but everytime I switch it up, I don't get any bites, and always revert back to the worm/craw.

What do you do when you see bait fish busting the surface?  Do you chase them?  Or is it a trick?  

Is this the beginning of fall and the bass are soon to follow?  

What is your take on this? 

 

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Have another rod ready with a small fluke or popper. When you see them busting baitfish cast to it and work the area a few times. It even works with anything really, I see it happen and toss what I have on in the area and get a fish 25% of the time. 

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If they are within distance, a rattletrap, zoom fluke, surface lure.   I would not go chasing them unless I was already running.

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Just bait fish or bass chasing them?  If there are bass you have to pretty much hit them on the head with Gunfish or fluke.

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6 hours ago, Fisher-O-men said:

Just bait fish or bass chasing them?  If there are bass you have to pretty much hit them on the head with Gunfish or fluke.

It is definitely bass chasing them.  I'm thinking they are shad because I saw one jump up through the lily pads and get stuck on top for a few seconds, giving me a good look at it - all the while a bass was thumping around underneath trying to get it. 

9 hours ago, geo g said:

If they are within distance, a rattletrap, zoom fluke, surface lure.   I would not go chasing them unless I was already running.

Ok - so if you were dragging a worm (like most florida fish seem to prefer) and they were busting around, you would just ignore them and not go chasing them?  My first instinct was to chase them...and I did the first day I noticed it...but nothing prevailed - and I fought the urge every time after that - and just kept fishing the worm on grass edges and such.  

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5 hours ago, hezeez@gmail.com said:

It is definitely bass chasing them.  I'm thinking they are shad because I saw one jump up through the lily pads and get stuck on top for a few seconds, giving me a good look at it - all the while a bass was thumping around underneath trying to get it. 

Ok - so if you were dragging a worm (like most florida fish seem to prefer) and they were busting around, you would just ignore them and not go chasing them?  My first instinct was to chase them...and I did the first day I noticed it...but nothing prevailed - and I fought the urge every time after that - and just kept fishing the worm on grass edges and such.  

Chasing them you often disturb the feeding pattern, and scatter the pattern.  You can sit out there and hope it reforms, but it is often frustrating.  I have had better luck when I have been close enough to make long casts around these disturbances, without starting the big motor.  Birds in the distance I have motored over then shut down, and then troll over to the action.  I would not leave a productive area to go chase these fish. 

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I can't help myself and always go to them. Traps and flutter spoons work best. If you can see bass actively feeding why wouldn't you go? I always want to find the bass that are feeding vs the ones that aren't.

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Is it a trick?  Haa - that's a hoot.  Follow up ready with (as previously stated) a fluke, a single tail grub, lipless crankbait, flutter spoon, Senko. 

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15 hours ago, hezeez@gmail.com said:

It is definitely bass chasing them.  I'm thinking they are shad because I saw one jump up through the lily pads and get stuck on top for a few seconds, giving me a good look at it - all the while a bass was thumping around underneath trying to get it. 

Im no pro by any means, but In a situation like this I would have thrown a frog or one of those live action bluegill frog things at them trying to imitate bait fish stuck in the vegitation. 

Typically if I see bass busting I would try and find out why and whether it's worth chasing. If it is at the edge of some kind of cover I would though poppers or buzz baits across it and see what happens. If it's in more open water I would have tried to throw a walking bait from a distance. Bait jumping just out of the water isnt enough to intice me normally. But if its coming several inches to a foot out of the water tells me its being chased and ill definitely go give that a look. If it didn't work I would grab the rod that has whatever has been productive today tied on.

Side note, over the weekend there was bait jumping everywhere. I was going to go give it a look, but then I saw two 20 or so inch largemouth jump at least 2 feet out of the water, which told me what ever is over there, I don't want lol.

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I personally have a spinner the same color tide on another rod & reel ready to go. 

I just did that on a little lake a few weeks ago, and I'm about 25% like previous said. 

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14 hours ago, Tmmytomato said:

Is it a trick?  Haa - that's a hoot.  Follow up ready with (as previously stated) a fluke, a single tail grub, lipless crankbait, flutter spoon, Senko. 

When I chased them last weekend and came up empty handed....I almost looked around for the camera...I felt like they got me good

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