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Catching larger fish in a school of dinks .

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Here a situation I find myself in frequently . I find a large school of small bass on good structure .It could be a point  , channel bend , hump... But in this instance lets say it is a long point .    I usually just keep catching numbers and hope that eventually I hook a big one or two . How do you try to get a few bigger bites ?

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Just sore lip em all ?

Bass like to school with others of similar size.. not saying there won't be any variance. But I don't think you'll be finding your PB in a group of 2-3lbers 

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4 minutes ago, Yeajray231 said:

Just sore lip em all ?

Bass like to school with others of similar size.. not saying there won't be any variance. But I don't think you'll be finding your PB in a group of 2-3lbers 

But , what if you have caught really large fish on the same spot before ? Do you think the larger bass will abandon the prime spot because smaller fish have moved in ?

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Bass move around.  If you are catching little ones, I would fish another spot for a few hours and them come back.  The bigger bass may have moved in by then.

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I have caught several quality sized bass in a school of small bass,so it's definitely possible,especially in a clear lake where you can sight fish for bass.

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There are two things that might work.....

1- fish under the school if possible, often larger fish will be underneath waiting for things to float down to them during feeding.

2- look for some type of structure or cover close to, but not on top of where the school is, often larger fish will be only a slight distance away.

I'll elaborate a bit-

 

I find in my neck of the woods bass often school off of points and flats. If this is happening and I can't catch larger fish in the school, I'll back off of them and look for the first and closest piece of secondary structure.....usually it is a half casting distance or less away.

23 minutes ago, scaleface said:

But , what if you have caught really large fish on the same spot before ? Do you think the larger bass will abandon the prime spot because smaller fish have moved in ?

I think they are creatures of habit and move around quite frequently.....maybe not necessarily because smaller fish have moved in...being territorial, if they move, it is for another reason.

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27 minutes ago, scaleface said:

But , what if you have caught really large fish on the same spot before ? Do you think the larger bass will abandon the prime spot because smaller fish have moved in ?

I wouldn't forget that spot.. I'd say the smaller fish are there because the big ones are not. Not that the small ones pushed them out. 

I don't know how big a "dink" is to you. To me it would be 1.5lbs and less. I'll take some 2-3lbers all day. Spinning rod , some lighter line. Yea buddy. 

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20 minutes ago, Yeajray231 said:

 

I don't know how big a "dink" is to you. To me it would be 1.5lbs and less. I'll take some 2-3lbers all day. Spinning rod , some lighter line. Yea buddy. 

1 to 2 lb fish . My biggest bass this year was caught while in a school of these guys . Also  had one hit like a sledge hammer and snap my line . It may have not been a bass .

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 For me, Nothings set in stone on this one.  However, I have come to believe a couple of concepts to often be the case.

1.  The biggest bass command the best feeding spots and these are almost always just a little bit deeper.  Especially in the clearer waters here.

2.  It's about the bait.  If the biggest bass are eating the same bait as the smaller fish, then there's at least a decent chance of getting one (or more).  But if the bigger fish are keying in on 4-6 inch perch & not dragon fly nymphs - then I'm looking for the perch.

Edit : If the Bigger bass are actually EATING the smaller bass - that sort of changes things up a bit as well.

A-Jay

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I haven't fished schooling largemouth too often, but when mixed sized smallmouth are hanging out together, the little fish are much more aggressive and will grab my bait before the bigger fish every time. When I have been on schools of largemouth they were nearly all the same sized fish.

 

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One summer  time, while fishing a gin clear lake in northern MA, i found a school of bass while swimming. I an home to grab a drop shot. Caught about 30 fish between *** pounds and then one 5 pounder, so in this case they were mixed together. You could try larger baits too.

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In the predator kingdom the biggest most aggressive eats when and where it chooses, the weaker smaller predators get the left overs. Big bass eat small bass, they rarely share the same locations at the same time.

Tom

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If I thought or knew a few bigger fish were there and they were biting. Smaller fish were say taking crankbaits and spinner baits I'd fish through and around it dragging some soft plastics. Just hopeful mr. Fatty was laying on the bottom. 

Your version of dinks and runts are bigger than mine. 

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Lotsa possibilities I suppose. The big (mature) fish could be: rare (or even non-existent in some waters) or elsewhere (which would require more reconnaissance). The location change might not be all that far though if the habitat is there. It's very possible that the big fish are not associated so closely with the smaller fish. Smaller fish are more likely to be more widely distributed, as fewer locations might be able to grow large bass. In cold water periods you can expect fish to be more apt to be grouped up, and therefore more apt to be consolidated.

Then there's a bait change. Jigs (J-n-P), and larger baits in general, tend to produce bigger fish for me than many other baits. One summer I decided to catch some bigger bass, since I'm generally more a numbers guy. I upscaled everything to 13" worms, musky-sized cranks, and BIG spinnerbaits. I got some strange looks from other anglers. But, although I caught fewer bass, the average size went up, and I broke a few pond records that summer.

Some thoughts, from cyberspace.

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When fishing prime real estate , I tend to stay in place and put a  hammering on those small fish and take my chances that big fish are there or close by . Some days I catch a nice one some days not . 

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I don't know how much I could add to what's been said or even if I should give advice to someone like you who has many more years on the water than me but the only thing that came to mind was that the bigger bass demand the best structure, and best location on that structure. So maybe there's something on that point you don't know about and this spot, within the spot is holding the big girl.

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Big fish rule, Period. If theres one around?, the smaller fish will move aside. This time of year when the water cools, you may find some schools of mixed sized bass together but its not a "normal" thing by any means. You may also find a bigger fish closeby, if the smaller fish are schooled up and jackin a bait ball, like,.. possibly the other side of the bait ball. or under them is where a bigger fish may be found. But typically the smaller fish will fear being eaten by the big bass, Cannibals! lol yes they will eat the smaller fish as long as they will fit in her gaping mouth, she will eat her own babies in a heartbeat.

 Nearby? maybe, but not usual to find a big fish mixed in a school of smaller bass. Say your fishing scaleface's scenerio, and hooking 2 lbers, then you all of a sudden hook a pig? 10 to 1 says she came along to see what the commotion was, spooked of the smaller fish off, and your lure ended up in her face. 

 I saw on bill dance Friday morn, a 22 inch bass can eat a 14 inch bass, astonished was I? kinda, he also stated that most 22 inch bass are already 7+ pounds

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My turn!

First bass are predators!

The big ones eat the little ones so the idea the smaller bass can out compete the bigger for food is pure nonsense. 

Bigger bass got big for a reason!

Bigger bass have to eat more or more often to sustain their body mass.

If large enough it is quite common to have a population of bass of various age groups on a single piece of structure.

Now on that single piece structure the larger bass will be located in the prime cover.

Next we need to consider not all bass will be feeding at the same time. 

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On 11/28/2016 at 5:06 AM, Catt said:

If large enough it is quite common to have a population of bass of various age groups on a single piece of structure.

Now on that single piece structure the larger bass will be located in the prime cover.

Interesting... I love the different perspectives we get here. In this case, Catt's giant Toledo Bend and my small waters -some as small as a couple of acres- have obvious differences. But they also share something: largemouth bass, making a living. 

"A single piece of structure" on TB could be larger than one of my smaller ponds. However, the two {EDIT: -and everything in between"-} could be seen as the same thing -bass habitat. And, no, the bass, and their various age/size classes, are not equally distributed in either place.

For my UW video shooting I've chosen a handful of very small ponds to work in. Still, to get the action within the frame of an UW camera I have to know where the action is. In all my waters -regardless of size- there are certain locations that attract the mature bass. Although the exact layouts of each “hot-spot” vary, the reasons the bass are there are the same -the availability of security and food. Security is available in a number of places, but food is often much more concentrated. What's attracting the food? Same -security and food; It’s a food chain thing. One of my behavior videos is about this: Why hot-spots are hot-spots, what they look like underwater, and how the players operate and interact.

Potentially pertaining to this thread, each hot-spot has a variety of fish sizes -hence the food chain- but each one does not always, or ever, attract the biggest bass. But, some spots do. The best spots (in my ponds) hold all sizes, because it takes all sizes to create a food chain that is “going somewhere”. In one of my ponds, the 4 largest bass (18-19”ers) tend to be (although not always) found together. This is not just a social thing. Instead, those bass collect where the appropriately sized prey collects. This changes seasonally, and as food availability and vulnerability change, even in a small pond. 

Believe it or not, “migrations” occur in the smallest of waters too. They just occur on the “movement” scale. Then there are “movements” -local scale adjustments to conditions and circumstances. Sound familiar? I would think that it would, wherever you fish.

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@Paul Roberts

Actually I wasn't even thinking Toledo Bend but a small bayou off of the Sabine river.

I was in the mouth of a cut leading into a shallow marsh. The bass were located there feeding due to an out going tide.

The smaller bass were located on the shallow marsh side while the larger bass were on the deeper bayou side.

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Most game fish are not only very predacious but they are also cannibalistic.  If you were a dink and a hog was around that could eat you, would you stick around?

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The prey preference is different with juevnile bass and adult bass. When LMB become adults thier mouth is fully developed and the bass has lived long enough to learn what prey types are worth the effort to hunt down and where to find prey. Juevnile bass are in the learning phase rarely hunt off shore and still experiment with catching prey. 

There is a reason the population of adult size bass is smaller then juevnile bass, they survived to grow into adult bass. Most juveniles don't survive because they make life ending mistakes.

Tom

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16 minutes ago, WRB said:

 . Juevnile bass are in the learning phase rarely hunt off shore  

You aint fishing where I'm fishing .

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