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primetime

When Bass are feeding on groups of tiny fry? What do you do?

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I have been fishinig a bunch of ponds and small lakes which seem to all have large populations of tiny 1-2" fry roaming the shallows with bass of all sizes actively coming up to bust on them right on the surface. I have started to catch fish finally, but nothing in the size range I want.

My guess is the fry are either newly hatched Shiners (All Ponds have shiners that average 8-12", and Tilapia which spawn all year long)

They are ambushing the bait in the shallow structure and weeds, but to get the biggest fish which I am after, would you fish a bigger bait and just be patient? I figured out how to get the smaller fish up to 4lbs. My goal in these ponds was to land some bigger fish this fall over 7lbs. Bass this size and bigger are no doubt Feeding on these pods of bait, several have ambushed them right in front of my feet while Wading and they won't hit minnow baits of any size, color, small plastics, maybe I should just fish with bigger baits in the same way I am catching the smaller fish?

Maybe it is a patience thing? I am 100% positive that if I caught a few shiners and live lined them I would be able to catch them but I don't want to cheat just yet. How would you target these fish since they are feeding, but just very picky. I wonder if I am being too loud in the water while trying not to be, I trip every so often? Usually in these ponds you can catch a few really nice fish pretty easy,  but this fall they are really hard to catch, I thought Bass Fishing Was Easy? 

Maybe I should return my Mighty Bite Kit for a full refund? Even the free kit? Any suggestions appreciated if you have encountered this after a hatch. Thanks.

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if it's too hard to perfectly match the '' hatch '' , i try to throw a swimbait to mimic another predator also feeding on the fry , usaully triggering aggresive strikes/hits from the bass also trying to feed . i work the swimbait ( preferably a jointed swimbait ) eratically with lots of twitches , making it look aggresive and/or oblivious to other bass , letting the bass get fired up to feed . hope that made sense of what i'm trying to convey .

i use slow sinking swimbaits , fished below the bait ball , quick twitches with occasional lifts of the rod to make the swimbait lunge thru the fry .

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I'll try to use a dropshot with a similar size bait and try to cast it a bit farther out from the main bait balls, and work it really slow like it's a baitfish that's injured or got lost from the main pack.  If the fish aren't taking the slow presentation I'll throw the smallest sized squarebill and run it parallel along the shoreline and try it both fast and slow.

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I'd try something along these lines.. a small SK spinnerbait.  "Pond magic" I believe is what they call it Im not positive. And this really small x-rap. They are hard to find. I got this one at field and stream. It's worth whatever I paid for it. 7 bucks I think . 

IMG_20161028_135044185.jpg

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I second Big Baits theory. I was going to suggest a swimbait in bass pattern (Mattlures Tournament series), or Tilapia, try to trigger a territorial response. Although that little Xrap Yeajray posted is just too cute not to try. Other suggestion, create your own bait ball, throw a umbrella rig, something flash mob'ish. Keep us updated.

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Try a 3/4 or 1oz trap depending on depth and keep it below the action. The biggest girls usually will be positioned under the bait waiting for an injured one to come down or ambush a loner.   

As you know the biggest bass won't expend a lot of energy chasing if they don't have to.

 

 

Mike

 

 

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Some years, when my ponds have had heavy hatch years of bass fry, UL and 1+" jig/grub combos have worked (Sassy Shad, Twister), as have streamer flies with fly tackle. But my fish were never as big -up to 4lbs. 

Are you certain the bigger fish are targeting the fry? It can be difficult for larger bass to keep tiny fish from escaping through the gills. In the UW video I've been doing, the fry (1 to 2") are targeted by bass up to about 13". Bigger bass are after the younger bass that are targeting the fry. Maybe go ahead and try live-lining, just to be sure. Or, with prey that small, a stomach pump would work well. I often use them for trout, just upping tube size for bigger trout/prey.

Also, keep in mind a few things: Sight-fishing, or fishing to busting fish, can be esp frustrating bc lures rarely look like actual food, esp with repeated exposure. And, some bass are simply "immune to angling". Such fish may be most vulnerable under reduced visibility. Maybe wait for a dark overcast day.

I'd stick with lures that give few negative cues: swim jigs, soft jerks, and... here's one few people seem to know about: the Lit'l Fishie now sold by Creme. It's a tiny to small swimbait that I found bass and walleye have a really difficult time learning. Great lure.

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Go bigger. THKO wakebait is dynamite around fall fry. 

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On 10/28/2016 at 1:18 PM, MBB Nate said:

Z-Man ShadZ

I stick with the TRD or 1/2 a ZinkerZ in a baitfish color and swim it quickly. 

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On 10/30/2016 at 2:09 AM, Bluebasser86 said:

I stick with the TRD or 1/2 a ZinkerZ in a baitfish color and swim it quickly. 

How quickly do you swim the TRD? I have never tried using any jigworm fished quickly but it makes sense. I do the "Strolling" thing, but are you talking about swimming it like a crankbait? what weight do you prefer when you fish it quickly? I am still trying to figure out all the options with the Ned Rig. I seem to get most of my fish with a lift drop, but I like the  idea of giving fish a new look. 

Thanks for all the responses. I always seem to forget that the reason big fish are such an accomplishment is because they are just hard to catch.  I think I just need to change my mind set and stop "Targeting" only bigger fish. I think big fish will come if I do not force it as much? 

weather has been odd this year in the south. 3 days of colder weather, maybe 2 nights, then every day it is Hot by noon and it is November. I have a feeling the spawn will start a month earlier this year.

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14 minutes ago, primetime said:

How quickly do you swim the TRD? I have never tried using any jigworm fished quickly but it makes sense. I do the "Strolling" thing, but are you talking about swimming it like a crankbait? what weight do you prefer when you fish it quickly? I am still trying to figure out all the options with the Ned Rig. I seem to get most of my fish with a lift drop, but I like the  idea of giving fish a new look. 

Thanks for all the responses. I always seem to forget that the reason big fish are such an accomplishment is because they are just hard to catch.  I think I just need to change my mind set and stop "Targeting" only bigger fish. I think big fish will come if I do not force it as much? 

weather has been odd this year in the south. 3 days of colder weather, maybe 2 nights, then every day it is Hot by noon and it is November. I have a feeling the spawn will start a month earlier this year.

I use a 1/16ozand it varies from slowly along the bottom to almost skimming the surface depending on where the minnows are holding. 

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White Keitech Custom Leech on a drop shot, it will literally blow your mind. It's really expensive as you get two fish at most per leech and they aren't cheap, but when they're on the little fry you won't find anything like it.

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I throw a Keitech 3.5" Swing Impact on a light jig head beyond the fry and swim it slowly through them. Usually gets a strong hit. I use a spinning set up for this. 

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I have been doing really well swimming a Rage Bug along the bottom really slowly, and pitching it with a 3/16 bullet weight. Black and Red has been working great. 

 

Thanks for all responses.

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3/16 oz spinnerbait is my goto in this situation.  I have an old leverage spinnerbait in naked shad that works really well

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There's always the livetarget baitball stuff. Never used them but in theory it seems like that would be an ideal situation to use them in

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If there are big fish in the pond, and you think you know where they are, you sit on them until they bite.  Throw whatever you like, if they're inactive, you have to wait them out.

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1 hour ago, j bab said:

There's always the livetarget baitball stuff. Never used them but in theory it seems like that would be an ideal situation to use them in

Never tried any of the baitball stuff, but I think it's smart.  I'm going to add that while I like my leverage spinnerbaits (just have 2) I'm not sure if their patented hook system is a keeper.  Seems like I've lost a few fish because of it, but I blame myself for not reeling them in fast enough.

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Basstrix makes thier Bait Fry and Flashtrix series of soft hollow body minnows, both work great for bass feeding on small bait fish.

Splash-It or similar top water popper and Yo-Zuri Pins minnow also does the trick for hard body lures.

Tom

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Biggest tube you can find in a salt and pepper style pattern. Think of the black dots as little fry; swim it erractically along the shoreline like a small school of fish. I have some 8" musky tubes that work great.

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I have tossed slider crappie baits in a similar situation and done really well. The size and profile matches the forage pretty well. 

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I can't believe no one has mentioned a keitech 4" swing impact. Match the color of the forage and put it on a 1/16oz jighead with light line. If they won't eat that you might not be able to catch them on an artificial, some fish just get extremely keyed in on certain baitfish,

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"Matching the hatch" is a mighty tall order, esp as visibility conditions increase. It's a matter of context (circumstances that incite feeding), conditions (visibility mostly), and luck (proximity). It's often more effective doing what we usually do -take advantage of bass' eclectic aggressiveness in feeding, and conducive conditions. Which is why I like J Francho's response. The OPer's success speaks to this as well.

I'm a long time fly-fisher and "matching the hatch" is rarely what people think there too. I know anglers who work really hard at fashioning highly accurate imitations of specific insect stages, with great success. Then there are others that pick a generalized pattern appropriate in size and shade, and fish them with great effect. Often, what fish see and what anglers think the fish see, don't jive. Sometimes what works does so not bc of anatomical details but bc of details (search image patterns) that aren't intuitive. Thus... I'm not a "Live Target" fan, at least for the reasons that might seem "obvious". Quality baits, no doubt. But in most circumstances, not all that much different than other wobbling chunks of plastic and metal out there.

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