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Pattern vs. Junk fishing

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About how often would you say you develop a pattern and run it all day as opposed to junk fish?

 

I would say I'm about 70/30 in favor of junk fishing

 

For example yesterday at the lake I started out looking for beds in the back of the creeks and caught a few males, cranked up a few on main lake ditches near flats, fished some rip rap around the dam, and ended the day skipping docks. 

 

This is pretty normal for me and even days when I do feel I've dialed them in its more to do with a certain bait or depth. Rarely getting a true consistent pattern.

 

How bout y'all?

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  I might start out junk fishing but if I'm successful it usually leads to a pattern . I'd say   most of the time I'm fishing a pattern before the day is over .

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I stay on a pattern even if it's junk fishing! 😉

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i tend to be a “pattern minded” guy, while my cousin is a “fly down the lake, pull over and start throwing” guy. we drive each other crazy. thing is, they both work. i give up.

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Can we call my method 'Random-pattern'?

 

I have a plan when I go out, but it's more 'fish this area and see what comes up'. Far as planning exactly where in the area, what baits to use or even the technique (do I use Texas rig here or a Ned rig?) it's a random-numbers game. I go by 'feel'.

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Is one of those the same as the "try stuff until something works, then keep doing that" method? That's the one I do. 

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I fish a lot of smallmouth bass water.

It's rare that every fish in the lake is doing the same thing at the same time - I'm always trying to locate active bass in different areas.  Often the depths, structure & cover are quite different, but the bass in each can still be active.

  While some can be (and often are) similar, each spot may require a specific approach, technique or presentation to get bit.  This can & often times does change even in the same spot once a few fish are caught.  

There is no doubt, however, I'm a big fan of being successful while I 'run points' or 'fish wood or docks'.  When it works - it's killer; doesn't always though.  

 Some days it's more about prospecting and less about fishing. 

So my most productive 'pattern' is to find active bass. 

If that's a no-go,  I usually end up fishing a jig. 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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10 minutes ago, MIbassyaker said:

Is one of those the same as the "try stuff until something works, then keep doing that" method? That's the one I do. 

This is my way of fishing.

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Junk fishing is my pattern.

 

There is a recent short video on Bassmaster from Gerald Swindle explaining it perfectly.

 

It's not having 20 rods on the deck, having no clue what is working.

 

It's having a bunch of rods on the deck, pre-rigged with the proper tools to cash in on little windows of opportunity that present themselves while working your plan.

 

For example...mid summer, I might be going down a deep weed line, pitching jigs/t-rigged baits into pockets, clumps etc....but I see a stretch of bank with some good shade on it. I don't care if I have been tuna hauling them in the weeds, I'll go over fire a few casts into the shady area with something I deem effective for the conditions. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it don't....nevertheless, I do it all the time. That IMHO...and seemingly in Swindle's opinion is "junk fishing".

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Neither...or maybe none of the above, kind of. Now days, over the course of a season, I'm about 55% structure fishing, 25% simplified approach (junk?), 10% pattern fish and 10% "explore new water."

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I "junk" fish 100% of the time. I don't subscribe to the whole pattern thing, IMNSHO it's just something between the ears of LMB guys, but to each his own.

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Junk fishing means different things to different folks like so many bass fishing terms.

Pattern fishing at least has a general excepted definition of repeating the same thing in similar locations.

To me junk fishing is fishing blind without any idea what may catch bass and continuing to change lures hoping to discover something that works. The old saying catch 2 bass on the same or similar lure in a similar location with similar presentation on structure or cover it's a pattern. I use my sonar to locate baitfish and bass so I am not fishing blind, then try to determine what lure and presentation works, so I guess I am a pattern angler most of the time.

Tom

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@ww2farmer and @A-Jay  pretty much summed up my definition. I'm not fishing blind I'm just fishing different cover/structure with different presentations in the area I'm fishing looking for the active bass. Even if one is producing better than another I can't help myself. 

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We check the weather: clouds or blue sky conditions. We know the general air and water temperatures, wind or dead still air, we know when we will be fishing (time of day) and we either know something about the lake . . . or we likely do a bit of research ahead of time. We know how deep we tend to fish. We know what time of the year it is. If it has rained, we know it might mean the water will be dingier than usual. We generally know what bass are feeding on, say shad versus bluegill for a particular body of water. We know if the lake has grass/vegetation, rocky bottoms, standing timber, etc.

 

I could go on and on but I think for those of us who consciously consider these things before we go out, that this makes us all pattern anglers as we sort of pre-select our "tools" for the day. We funnel through a lot of information to narrow it way down. And, we generally eliminate the things we just don't like to do. Conditions may seem to warrant pitching a jig, but some just won't.

 

I sort of think of junk fishing as sort of randomly tossing things against the wall to see what sticks, that, or someone who switches around between more than, say, 3 presentations in a short period of time. Junk fishing is more random, off the cuff.

 

Brad

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Does it mean the same as "it's pattern fishing if I do have a plan what to use & how to fish before going outside, and it's junk fishing when I fish in the way whatever I like"

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If we aint all junk Fisherman why we got so many rod-n-reels & all that tackle?

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When i'm fishing from a jon boat with an elec motor only , I cant be running from spot  to spot . I'll fish my way from spot to spot junk fishing style . Even so a pattern of some sort will usually emerge. 

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10 hours ago, Brad in Texas said:

We check the weather: clouds or blue sky conditions. We know the general air and water temperatures, wind or dead still air, we know when we will be fishing (time of day) and we either know something about the lake . . . or we likely do a bit of research ahead of time. We know how deep we tend to fish. We know what time of the year it is. If it has rained, we know it might mean the water will be dingier than usual. We generally know what bass are feeding on, say shad versus bluegill for a particular body of water. We know if the lake has grass/vegetation, rocky bottoms, standing timber, etc.

 

I could go on and on but I think for those of us who consciously consider these things before we go out, that this makes us all pattern anglers as we sort of pre-select our "tools" for the day. We funnel through a lot of information to narrow it way down. And, we generally eliminate the things we just don't like to do. Conditions may seem to warrant pitching a jig, but some just won't.

 

I sort of think of junk fishing as sort of randomly tossing things against the wall to see what sticks, that, or someone who switches around between more than, say, 3 presentations in a short period of time. Junk fishing is more random, off the cuff.

 

Brad

Fake news.

 

What you are describing is lousy (or complete lack of) preparation, and has no bearing on how one fishes. Were I to be forced to select a "pattern", it would be do the things that you describe in paragraph 1 (plus a few other things) and then go find fish, and then catch fish using the tool(s) that best do the job. Sticking to one or a few lures, or fishing one or a few similar places in the same manner (no t word either) is not part of the plan ever. This is not to say that if I find fish in a school or clustered condition, that I'm switching to something else just to do so while I'm still catching fish.

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If you want to be successful on the Potomac River you have to fish at least 1 pattern..........Tide.  You have 2 options once you find what tide the fish are feeding on, incoming or outgoing.  Then you need to find the fish or groups of fish and fish the tide.  You either run with the most productive tide fishing different spots all at the same time in the tide cycle or you get on a productive spot and wait for the tide to turn the fish on.  The river is one of the only places I have seen where the fish will absolutely stop biting on the tide.  And I mean completely stop...  So we usually run with the most productive tide because we want to catch fish all day not just in a window of time.  Tournament anglers will get on a good pod of fish and wait out the tide for 5 quality bites.  

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4 minutes ago, reason said:

Fake news.

 

What you are describing is lousy (or complete lack of) preparation, and has no bearing on how one fishes. Were I to be forced to select a "pattern", it would be do the things that you describe in paragraph 1 (plus a few other things) and then go find fish, and then catch fish using the tool(s) that best do the job. Sticking to one or a few lures, or fishing one or a few similar places in the same manner (no t word either) is not part of the plan ever. This is not to say that if I find fish in a school or clustered condition, that I'm switching to something else just to do so while I'm still catching fish.

What I'm describing is just the information that we consider, even subconsciously, that eliminates so much, narrows our fishing down, that becomes a "pattern" before we ever hit the water. To this, we almost always leave in our boats with a pre-planned destination; we don't usually do this randomly. So, we know where we are going, likely have a first cast presentation in mind, what rod we will pick up first.

 

I'd generally agree, though, with your thoughts for someone who doesn't do any preparation; my comment was directed for those of us who do prepare, consider all of those things, make a general plan. 

 

For sure, if we are trolling around on the way to a favorite spot, see fish chasing shad on the surface, it'd influence us to make a few casts for that particular action even if that is not part of the plan for the day. But, I wouldn't call that junk fishing but opportunistic fishing, something like that, where the odds shift and we adjust our "pattern" for the day very quickly.

 

Part of it is defining these terms. When someone asks me how I'm doing when we pass on the water, if I am drop shotting and throwing wacky worms in shallow water, I say that. If I am struggling, break off from my intended patterns, I tell them I am junk fishing trying all sorts of things to get on fish.  They usually get what I am saying.

 

Brad

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1 hour ago, Brad in Texas said:

What I'm describing is just the information that we consider, even subconsciously, that eliminates so much, narrows our fishing down, that becomes a "pattern" before we ever hit the water. To this, we almost always leave in our boats with a pre-planned destination; we don't usually do this randomly. So, we know where we are going, likely have a first cast presentation in mind, what rod we will pick up first.

 

I'd generally agree, though, with your thoughts for someone who doesn't do any preparation; my comment was directed for those of us who do prepare, consider all of those things, make a general plan. 

 

For sure, if we are trolling around on the way to a favorite spot, see fish chasing shad on the surface, it'd influence us to make a few casts for that particular action even if that is not part of the plan for the day. But, I wouldn't call that junk fishing but opportunistic fishing, something like that, where the odds shift and we adjust our "pattern" for the day very quickly.

 

Part of it is defining these terms. When someone asks me how I'm doing when we pass on the water, if I am drop shotting and throwing wacky worms in shallow water, I say that. If I am struggling, break off from my intended patterns, I tell them I am junk fishing trying all sorts of things to get on fish.  They usually get what I am saying.

 

Brad

I see what you are saying, I just don't get to a " pattern" from all that. Ultimately, all the semantics, and approaches boil down to can you find them and catch them on a given body of water on a given day, regardless of the methodology and nomenclature, me thinks.

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How on earth can you arrive at a pattern before hitting the water?  Unless your pattern is that the fish are wet.  You have to catch multiple fish to establish or notice some pattern, and even then it's often just a dumb guess.  How many times have you gotten back to the ramp, and some did just as well as you, or better, doing something COMPLETELY different.

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3 minutes ago, J Francho said:

How many times have you gotten back to the ramp, and some did just as well as you, or better, doing something COMPLETELY different

Plenty lol. I've had plenty of times after a tourney or whatever and talking about how I caught all my fish on the bottom and couldn't get a bite on top water or something and the other guy says I caught all my fish on top water and none on bottom. And many more complete opposites. Crazy how that works

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patterns are discovered on the water by determining where the fish are, what they are relating to, what mood they are in, if they are wanting to chase baits or sit on bottom. none of this can be found without fishing. I would also say you can have a general idea of where fish might be and what mood they could be in depending on the season, water temp, forage and so on but that does not set a pattern for any given day, it could be summer and they might be in 3 feet of water or they could be in 20 feet with the same water temp at the same time of day 

 

To me junk fishing has a very simple definition as described by Gerald Swindle in a bassmaster podcast. junk fishing is not having a set pattern and fishing whatever comes up in front of you on the water. for example: seeing a laydown and throwing a spinnerbait or squarebill, seeing fish school and throwing a spook or fluke. It has also been described as fishing by the seat of your pants, pretty sure Tharp said that in an FLW if i'm not mistaken 

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I try and pattern fish as much as possible but like others have already stated, it is more reading conditions and trying to locate fish and then find other areas that are similar.  The lakes i fish are usually pretty small <150 acres so finding a pattern can be a lot like junk fishing i guess.  

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