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Spots or patterns.

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Sat through a seminar by Chris Zaldian yesterday at the Bass A Thon in SoCal and Chris hammered home the importance of establishing a pattern. Most weekend anglers fish memories, my term not Chris's, using your favorite lure returning to the spot you caught them last time out.

We all do this to some degree, it's our comfort zone. I have said many times over several years that fishing memories is a mistake because bass relate only to the current conditions that give them a advantage over they prey they are eating.

Chris used several current tournaments where he either won or finished in the money and 1 tournament at Toledo Bend he failed to develope a pattern. Starting with TB event Chris caught a 10 lber in practice off a isolated Lilly patch and got sucked into believing this would be a winning pattern. What Chris forgot was 1  bass doesn't make a pattern, even a 10 lber, it takes 2 or 3 bass to establish a solid pattern. 1 bass is a good start to understanding what mat be going on after you have eliminated several other options, then go to another area with the same conditions and catch #2 doing the same thing as #1.

What are Chris's pattern establishing methods? He studies maps looking for areas within a mile area that have multiples of shallow to deep structures where he can fish shallow, mid depth and deep quickly using confidence lures like jerk baits, surface and deep bottom lures.

I was surprised this young angler can establish new patterns on new lakes within 1 hour most of the time using his method.

Chris watches for changes in wind direction and is a believer in wind direction blowing onto or into areas where bass feed. When a pattern dries up, it's usually a wind direction change that causes it.

Tom

Bass A Thon featured Rick Clunn, Shaw Grigsdy, Jimmy Huston, Chris Zaldian and Johnny Johnson winner of this years US open.

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Sounded like a good deal. Of course I return to where I caught em before but I agree that's not the best approach but I do believe that finding the right spot can sometimes be more rewarding than finding the pattern but those two can interchange, like the best spot could be within a pattern. I don't think I ever find the pattern within the first hour unless I got lucky, still working on being more efficient but I don't tourney fish yet either.

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Thanks for sharing this,

This being my first season to really bass fish, I am guilty of above, I make a bee line straight to that spot I caught before.  2 bass over a pound is a good day for me, and I average about 4 hours per outing (usually afternoons till dark).

I feel I try to find "paths" rather than "patterns".. I am in a kayak and cannot cruise the whole lake looking for similar structure / cover that I find in one area.  So I tell myself that if they aren't at my spot right now, they are deeper..  I go attempt some deeper fishing with no luck, then I go back the "spot" to see if anyone is home now! 

I still have not caught a bass in what I would consider "off-shore structure" though.  Maybe next year..

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I absolutely despise, detest, hate the term, phrase " fishing memories is a mistake".

That is an total fallacy & is proven false everyday by every guide across this nation.

I've often stated I fish the same structure I fished 45-50 yrs ago. Yes I understand conditions & patterns change daily but that does not mean bass abandon fish holding structure. It takes a major catastrophe that reshapes bottom structure before bass abandon prime structure.

Below are pictures of Toledo Bend when it was 17-20' low for over a year.

Guess what?

When the lake returned to normal pool so did the bass!

Vernon.jpg

Docks.jpg

100_1193-1.jpg

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I know Catt hates the term fishing memories because he thinks everyone should remember the spots they caught bass and I agree with that. I just don't agree with anglers who always go back to where they caught bass and sit on that spot until something might happen. The classic example is anglers who catch bass during spawn and fish that same area all year with little or no success until the next spawn. Bass go where the prey is located and conditions that give them an advantage, anglers need to be flexible and determine a pattern instead always returning to the same spot .

Tom

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I thought WRB understand structure but I starting to have doubt's!

February 2014 I had the opportunity to fish with an old buddy up on the north end of Toledo Bend. We fished Clement Clark Branch an area I hadn't fished for 42 yrs. We fished the same structure (creek channels, points, & flats) we knew & guess what the bass were still there!

Now we had to apply the current weather, water, & seasonal conditions to find the "pattern" of where on the structure the bass were holding. 

The bass weren't on the exact GPS location they were 42 yrs ago but they were on the same structure.

10% of structure holds 90% of the bass, that structure does not change with out a major catastrophe event taking place that reshapes the bottom contour.

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Could it be that memories ARE patterns?

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9 minutes ago, Alonerankin2 said:

Could it be that memories ARE patterns?

As per Merriam-Webster

Pattern:  the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done.

Patterns can be duplicated within an area of the body water.

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Being fairly gifted regarding memory of where I caught bass and what the structure looks like after more than 40 years believe I know structure as well as anyone. Some of our lakes are at record low pools and the exposed structure is what I remember back in the late 50's, some has changed over time depending on silt build up and trees rotting. Example lake Casitas Deep Cat canyon dam was 40' high with a groove of oak trees on the up stream side before being flooded in 58' with 50 of water on top the dam. Today the dam is only 5' high on the up stream side, the oak trees covered with 35' of silt. 

Not saying you should forget what you know, I am saying fish the current conditions.

I remember clearly exactly wherecI have caught bass on every lakexI have fished but would still study a map and sonar survey to determine where to fish under current conditions.

Tom

 

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I agree with both of you, go where you know, but keep an open mind, be ready to try something/somewhere new if the norm fails.

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Love it when the only evidence someone can give to support their theory is to find the most extreme example they can.

Yes Tom if the area is covered in 35' silt then the bass aint gonna be there!

Now please explain how guides make a living fishing the same areas year after year?

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This is like comparing apples to oranges - structure remains pretty constant over the years - how you catch them there one time is not necessarily how it will work next visit. But the area is still viable habitat.

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Spots vs an area . I usually try both .

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I personally know guides on Okeechobee, Toho, St. Johns River and the Kissimmee Chain and all of them have certain "spots" they hold for tournament fishing only. They do not take clients there..Ever. 

They know where to go based on the time of year and temperature. A few have areas where they know will hold numbers and a few which hold kickers All of this based on experience. There is no guarantee of course but they go based on memory and throw what worked in the past and then go from there.

When it comes to what bait to use, I have certain ones I use on certain lakes and break it down from there. Example..On Okeechobee I know where the best frog water is in the summer and where swim baits work the best in the fall and spring. All this based on what has worked for me and other's based on memory. Also, there are baits that I won't throw at one but only use at another.

So to me I'm useing a pattern based on memory. Does it work all the time? No it doesn't, but at least when I go to any of these lakes I don't waste time running all over junk fishing.

 

Mike

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The reason you look for and develop a pattern for the current conditions is to prevent running all over the lake fish blind and trying to make the bass strike lures you want to use in lieu of using lures the bass are actually striking at that time.

OK, I will give up using the term fishing memories because you all take it literally and stick to developing a pattern.

Same event we had Rick Clunn who was also a seminar speaker who many consider the guru of pattern fishing or fishing current conditions not a pre perceived presentation. Rick is more than twice the age of Chris, both are successful because thet know how important it is to keep learning and being aware of why the bass are doing what they do and where they are active feeding.

Tom

 

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Zaldain won a tournament on one of the lakes I fish, and I recognized the spots he was fishing.  I can attest that he likes to fish in areas where there are lots of different depths and types of structure.

The really surprising thing is that he found many of the good, bouldery spots, which took me months to find.  Where I fish, you can have dozens of pieces of structure in a 5 square mile area that look very similar, but only a few will have big boulders on it.

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"Of course you have to look for and develop a pattern for the current conditions"..Thats why we have a bag full of different baits of different styles and colors and different rods for different presentation's.

But to me having a knowledge of where to start, with what is an advantage that will keep you from running all over. 

 Trying to force feed a fish with what you want them to eat is not the way to be successful, but neither is giving up on what you've learned to go hunting isn't either.

 

 

Mike  

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  One of the most prolific memories my life, was my pb. I've returned to that lake many times and have yet to catch a fish off that same stump. A "memory" fish. BUT,... I have yet to fish there under the same conditions as that incredible day. As,.. I believe big fish have their "homes" and will use them as need be.

  I've also found some solid "patterns" on Winnipesaukee, one being during a westerly breeze, cloudy day, a certain spot in a certain area, with its year round cover, just about rock solid consistently holds some of the lakes best and biggest smallies. A "pattern"? oh yeah, I've fished it many times since 97 (when i bought my tracker), and did again last year. It still holds true,...(thanking the good lord)

 I see patterns not only a godsend up there, as the lake is a enigma to pattern at all, but also rock solid if you actually have found one there.

 The difference between the 2 a "memory" and a "pattern" is easy to me to discern. Consistent bass location and activity within not just one area, but many others as well, proves a pattern for me. I can leave that winnie "patterned" area I mentioned above and go to another area within the lake, find an identical "setup" and catch fish. they may not be the lakes best, but fish just the same. then go onto another area with same "setup" and be on fish again. A pattern.

 If I find a nice fish say under a certain sunbeaten laydown one day, and come back a week later and theres another there, and so on,...is it a "pattern"?,.only if in other areas of the same lake with the same "setup" as in a sunbeaten laydown on same type shoreline, with same depths etc. etc. etc. is a fish found. 

One particular piece of cover may hold fish consistently,.. if you can duplicate this in other areas of the lake. And find fish in several of these duplicated cover areas, then,..in my eyes,..its a pattern, but if only that one piece of cover is holding fish, and others around the lake that mirror that cover doesnt? I dont consider it a pattern, just a "memory" of a good fish holding spot.

 I hope I got this across right, as my meds mess me up.

Furthermore,...

  Finding a pattern on a big body of water can be the equation of either a good day or and awesome day, as a true pattern is consistent, and will offer a shot at a 100 fish day, possibly even a pb, but usually? its an average sized fish occurance. The conditions typically have their effect on the bass population as a whole, mostly,.and I say mostly as, bigger fish just dont seem to follow the "norm", or be effected so much by "present" conditions. They have evolved into the top predator and act accordingly. Doing whatever they want, whenever they want, and to whatever they can fit in their huge gaping pieholes. 

A solid pattern will pertain to some decent fish, probably 95% of the lakes fish,.(im guessing). Can a hog be caught on a pattern?, sure, but not definately. And,.. its unusual to find a "big fish pattern" but it can happen.

  Do I go by memory when I return to a lake Ive fished before? If the conditions are identical,..maybe.

 Do I follow an old pattern on a lake Ive returned to? Again,...maybe, if the conditions are identical I will give it a shot 

  Because wherever you fish, you will find, conditions rule, and yes, they especially rule patterns. Conditions are a patterns driving force, its what makes a pattern to begin with. Could be conditions from 3 or 5 days ago, combined with the present days, and usually is both combined,.... In reality,.. the sooner you understand that combination, the closer you are to figuring out the pattern game.

 whatever you do, have fun, be safe, and thank a veteran

 Keep ya line wet!

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I think what's going on here is a lack of good communication. I don't think Catt is discounting patterns. I think what he's really saying is the same patterns he has fished for his lifetime still work today. location is a part of a pattern. and we call them patterns because you can repeat them. we don't completely relearn a body of water every time we go out. we just have to find what the fish are doing that day.

Establishing a pattern is important. this tells you where fish are likely to be, what they are feeding on, and how they want it presented. If you are on a new body of water or somewhere you don't often fish, this is paramount to your success for the day, and you will likely start to figure out locations the bass will hold. when you establish a pattern you are only finding out information for today, but when you find a location that holds fish, it will likely continue to hold fish unless massive changes occur. every time you come back, you will have to find the pattern for THAT days conditions instead. as seasons change, bass move and with differences in weather bass change habits. But I can almost assure you, if you have found an area that holds bass, it will continue to hold bass and you will likely be able to repeat patterns as long as conditions are the same for years. that doesn't mean I'm going to fish my spawn locations year round, and I'm not going to fish deep summer cover or structure year round either. I'm going to apply the patterns I've learned over and over again, and if I'm having a bad day, then I know something must have changed and i will re-establish a pattern. 

A good example of when fishing memories is bad, Is my great uncle when muskie fishing. love the guy to death, but every time we go out, we go to thr same spot, because 30 years ago someone raised a big muskie there. we have never caught a thing. 

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No one suggested you should forget what you have learned. To successfully put a pattern together you use everything you have learned.

Tom

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It's rare that a professional angler like Zaldain gets to fish a major event on their home waters, so all of those guys are reliant on developing patterns.  Put one of them on their home waters and the specific spots come into play big time...Look at Evers at the Classic or Ike at the Delaware River Elite a few years ago.  I'm sure patterns came into play for both, but their ace in the hole was the decades of experience on those specific spots.  It sounds like his main point was that relying only on past history is a setting yourself up for disaster if it doesn't pan out.  

If you know the body of water well enough, exact spots can be much more valuable than a pattern.  If you don't know the body of water very well, a pattern will often be you're best chance at success.  Pretty simple logic IMO.  

If you fish one of your historic spots that coincides with your successful pattern...Are you spot fishing or pattern fishing? ;)

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A pattern is being able to repeat what you did successfully on several similar spots.

I fish small lakes that I know extremely well and tend to fish spots that I have had good success with in the past. The spots change as the seasonal periods change because the bass move to take advantage of the areas they are now located at. Fishing several spots that have the same conditions is pattern fishing and we sometimes call this a milk run where I fish.

A pattern would be something like this; jig fished uphill where boulders are located on clay sloping bank in 17' of water. If I catch bass doing this on one spot and go to another like it and repeat catching bass then continue to make a milk run to all the spots I know of with boulders on sloping clay banks I fishing a pattern. Easy for me because I know every rock in the lake. Not so easy for you if you don't fish this type of structure or fish jigs up hill preferring to cast frogs at shoreline targets because that worked the last trip.

My routine is looking in the marina after launching for the depth the bass or baitfish are active at, determine the seasonal period, turn on my memory to recall similar conditions, then go check out a few areas before fishing. I may look at a map to refresh my recall. 

If I am fishing your lake and never been there, the map is the first thing I get familiar with, then go through the same marina routine and check out places I know should hold bass based on experience, but don't start fishing until having some idea what should work. If I am lucky I catch bass right away, if not I elinimate water until I find them, then try to develop a pattern to catch more. 

What is usually a mistake is running directly to the clay bank with boulders before knowing what depth to fish and where the bait is located.

What makes bass fishing so challenging is the frog pattern may have been the winning one and I refused to consider it because of past success fishing jigs uphill.

Tom

 

 

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Good subject. I have specific spots(some people call them "spots on top of a spot") where I can go and almost always catch a quick limit of bass in under a hour.I got other spots where I can catch a +5 pound or better bass on almost every trip I go. It took me years to find these places and figure out what the bass bite in these locations during different times of the year,weather conditions, etc.The patterns I learned in these bodies of waters has helped me in my bass fishing travels in Florida and other states that I have gone to for fishing trips.

On 11/21/2016 at 10:19 AM, Mike L said:

I personally know guides on Okeechobee, Toho, St. Johns River and the Kissimmee Chain and all of them have certain "spots" they hold for tournament fishing only. They do not take clients there..Ever. 

They know where to go based on the time of year and temperature. A few have areas where they know will hold numbers and a few which hold kickers All of this based on experience. There is no guarantee of course but they go based on memory and throw what worked in the past and then go from there.

Knowledge gained through first hand experience is one the most valuable things to have in fishing.  I don't blame those guides one bit for not taking customers to their favorite spots, it's not easy to find a true "honey hole" these days.I am sure they take family there or at least tell them where they are going to be safe.

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Piedras_4.jpgPiedras_3_001.jpgPiedras_2_001.jpgPiedras_002.jpg

rare views of a spot I've fished for 30 years ( rare views because those are always under at least 10 ft of water, worst drought we had seen in many years when I took those pics ) I always catch fish out of them, don't have pictures of other year round productive locations, the rock covered dam also has a couple of locations where I always catch a few no matter what.

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