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runt4561

Big bass are smarter?

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21 hours ago, slonezp said:

So what makes you think the bass is old?

...

So, let's say 90% of the bass are skinny. The other 10% are "normal" What do the 10% have that the 90% don't?...and don't say food. 

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I don't know the age of that bass. But, younger fish generally have sharper edged fins -like the one the young man is holding. Old fish do not regenerate tissues as quickly as young fish and this seems to show up in the fins, their being rounded and more apt to be ragged. Same is true for trout.

 

I also catch plenty of skinny young bass. The possible reasons can vary. The most common one here is the combination of high summer water temps and dense vegetation. Body condition on my bass takes a nose dive during these times. Sometimes a certain size bracket tends to be thin, and my assumption is that there is a gap in the food chain. Similarly, in some waters I fish bass tend to peak out at a certain size, the larger fish then becoming thin. Then there can be sick fish. Caught one last fall actually that I could only assume was sick or injured -the most pathetic looking bass I've ever seen.

 

"90% are skinny, 10% are normal"... Not sure I've seen that. It's more apt to be the other way around. Best guesses (and they pretty much distill down to "food". Why can't I say "food"?):

-A trophic peak exists that only 10% of bass are able to make use of. Not terribly likely I would suspect.

-A separate basin in with very different trophic status.

-Warm water discharge where some fish avoid excessively heated water and others set up home ranges near it.

-You ran from one end of a large lake for 90% of your catch, and to the other end for the remaining 10%.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Paul Roberts said:

 

"90% are skinny, 10% are normal"... Not sure I've seen that. It's more apt to be the other way around. Best guesses (and they pretty much distill down to "food". Why can't I say "food"?):

-A trophic peak exists that only 10% of bass are able to make use of. Not terribly likely I would suspect.

-A separate basin in with very different trophic status.

-Warm water discharge where some fish avoid excessively heated water and others set up home ranges near it.

-You ran from one end of a large lake for 90% of your catch, and to the other end for the remaining 10%.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

First pic is from a friendly 2 boat tourney last June. My son and I caught between 30 and 40 bass fishing offshore in 8-12fow while his buddies caught 7 fish beating the banks. Obviously we kept the largest fish. As I mentioned earlier, the lake is 300 acres. It has a max depth of 28ft and the weedline ends at around 15ft and the lake is essentially a soup bowl with little structure. Second pic I believe is crappie that were spit up in my livewell by crappie. The crappie were caught in 20fow last fall. I would assume if there were an abundance of bait, the crappie would not be cannibalistic. Last 2 pics are from a few years ago early spring. The pike's head is disproportional to its body. I realize this is a somewhat common trait among pike, but it helps illustrate my point. Also another skinny bass. For what it's worth, the bulk of the fishing pressure on this lake is thru the ice.bangs.thumb.JPG.73de994ec205458e2afaa4382b02ace7.JPG

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Might those bass in the first pic be post-spawners that haven't rebounded yet? The smaller ones look like males that have recently come off guard duty.

 

The pike: Pike, esp older larger ones, are temperature sensitive. Unlike younger "hammer handles", big pike are nearly a coldwater fish. If that pike couldn't find cold water in that lake, or hasn't migrated there yet, it could be in decline. Looks healthy though, so it could rebound -but maybe not till late fall when water temps fall. You say early spring... possibly post- spawn?

 

I definitely would not assume that those crappie wouldn't be cannibalistic if they had other choices. As far as I know, everything in the right size bracket, and catchable, is fair game in the fish world. Catchability plays a role for sure. And young shad may be easier to catch than cover-oriented young crappies. But that's a guess and appropriate cover availability would be important there.

 

Just some thoughts.

 

I'm going to take back my above statement that I haven't seen a good percentage of thin vs normal body condition in a bass population. Happened just this past summer. Here was my take:

 

We had an unseasonably hot (record) June and into July here. 100F air temps and water in mid80s. Nearly killed the daytime fishing. Worked hard for few fish and those were thin. This is not uncommon when its really hot in mid-summer. But this began in June! Some of these fish may not have had the opportunity to regain body condition after spawning. Usually June and into July are ideal in temperature for bass growth here and they tend to be in excellent body condition.

 

Forward a month to August and cold fronts brought relief, and daytime fishing rebounded. What was interesting was that while most fish were thin (but healthy) a few were porkers -one had a good-sized bluegill in it's throat, and another was simply a tank. All the ones in good body condition came from the same cove. I'd already walked the pond prior to fishing (from shore and float tube) and found a concentration of bluegills in this cove. There were appropriate sized bluegills in another cove across the pond, but the milfoil was much denser there. My assumption is that hunting conditions were different in opposite coves. The bass in the dense cove were sitting in a trophic false peak, while those across the pond were sitting pretty.

 

Meager side of the pond:

thin1%20800.jpg

thin2%20800.jpg

 

Fat side of the pond:

fat1%20800.jpg

fat4%20800.jpg

 

The "tank" was not the only big fish I caught. I also caught another of the same length in a different section of the pond that was thin. I actually caught her twice: First in the thick of the heat wave and she was very thin. I caught her again after things had cooled down and while she was still on the thin side, she was rebounding nicely.

 

This is all conjecture of course. I do not have the tools at my disposal to really be definitive about these things -esp concerning individual fish- in my small ponds much less lakes I've never been to. Energy flow is what we're looking at, but there are a bunch of variables involved in the works. Some are more important than others, and these shift around depending on conditions.

 

For all I know, the bass on the one side of my pond are smarter than the ones on the other. But I kinda doubt it. I'd love to think that that tank was "smarter" than the rest, only able to caught by a cagey fisherman. She didn't have any other hook marks, so.. maybe! :)

 

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