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How should I approach this?

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I know that you're supposed to find the baitfish to find the bass in the fall, but the large pond I fish just has gizzard shad and bluegill. The thing is, all the gizzard shad I've seen have been at least as long as my hand. What does that mean for the fishing? Am I wasting my time following the gizzard shad around looking for bass because of how big the shad are? Should I be targeting bluegill areas instead? I'm just confused about all that now. Any help would really be appreciated.

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"Find the bait, Find the bass" approach is generally geared toward larger bodies of water which allow the bass to further spread out, it doesn't necessarily apply so much for a pond. 

 

Just stick with your basic fall approach, topwater at first and last light, crankbaits/jerk baits, and soft plastics

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For imitating Shad that big you could use a kid 2.5 or 8.0(not sure that is right but it is the magnum size) square bill. How deep is the pond? I know strike king and Berkeley make some deep divers the side of your hand.

 

also spinnerbait, vibrating jig, swim jig, top water all can give the impression. 

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The bass in that pond swim around with those big shad all day everyday and are not intimidated by the size of them.  Instead, they eat them every chance they get!  If you own any heavier rod and reel combos, show them something that looks like those gizzard shad with a big swimbait or glidebait.  Plenty of cheaper options nowadays like Savage Gear’s 3Ds or River2Sea’s SWaver.  Throwing big baits seems odd and takes patience-until you catch a toad!  Good luck out there EG!

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I fish about 5 ponds. Just use all the standard stuff and see what works. I fish one place full of dink bass and huge 'gills sometimes. There are fathead minnows there and besides that, the forage is small bass and bluegills and whatever else bass can get to. My best bait there is a big gold tandem spinnerbait. It also seems to cull some of the dinkiest dinks. Go figure! If there are gizzard shad, don't be afraid to upsize. There might be some bass there big enough to eat one.

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Put one of the gizzards on a circle hook 

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2 hours ago, Swbass15 said:

For imitating Shad that big you could use a kid 2.5 or 8.0(not sure that is right but it is the magnum size) square bill. How deep is the pond? I know strike king and Berkeley make some deep divers the side of your hand.

 

also spinnerbait, vibrating jig, swim jig, top water all can give the impression. 

I'm sure I could get something big enough to imitate them but I just feel like I'm wasting my time doing that. I just feel like there might be three or four bass in the entire lake big enough to eat one of those. The three shad I've found floating in the winter before were bigger than some of the bass I catch.

2 hours ago, BoatSquirrel said:

The bass in that pond swim around with those big shad all day everyday and are not intimidated by the size of them.  Instead, they eat them every chance they get!  If you own any heavier rod and reel combos, show them something that looks like those gizzard shad with a big swimbait or glidebait.  Plenty of cheaper options nowadays like Savage Gear’s 3Ds or River2Sea’s SWaver.  Throwing big baits seems odd and takes patience-until you catch a toad!  Good luck out there EG!

Thanks. I might get a really cheap giant swimbait or something and just throw it for a while and see if it works. If it does, I'll probably get something like it, but more expensive.

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If there are dinks there is something there spawning those dinks. I imagine you haven’t hit that pond just right to see the larger fish actively feeding. I follow suit and say try throwing some larger baits and see what happens. You might just get your arm broke

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1 minute ago, Swbass15 said:

If there are dinks there is something there spawning those dinks. I imagine you haven’t hit that pond just right to see the larger fish actively feeding. I follow suit and say try throwing some larger baits and see what happens. You might just get your arm broke

I've caught 10+ pounders out of there. I know they're there, but there just aren't many of them.

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10lb fish? Gizzard shad as big as your hand?

 

Make a fist next time you catch a 10 and stick it in the fish's mouth. Trust me, a 10 will eat a gizzard shad bigger than you can imagine.

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big bait big bass, fish swimbaits and youll get em! thats what their forage is. 

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If trying to match the size of a gizzard Shad , or the size of any baitfish that large during the fall....it can often be easiest to emulate with a Topwater cigar style bait......but if they are biting sub surface lures, I find it easier to customize a Swim Jig or Chatterbait with a Paddle tail trailer to get the proper size or length to match forage. But keep in mind the length of your lure doesn't always have to perfectly match the length of the forage in every situation, the reason is many bass will single out a baitfish because it's either runt sized in comparison, looks like an injured target or is oversized in comparison. 

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