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ratherbfishin1

Is there bass?

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What do you guys use to see if there is bass somewhere.  Im referring to times besides winter mainly.  You hear "Use a search bait to find the fish" but sometimes search baits just don't work.  I could fish a crank bait all day and not catch anything but switch to a t-rig and catch tons.  What do you guys like best just for being dependable and allowing you to see if there are bass somewhere? It would take forever to try 10 different lures in each spot to finally find where they are.  Am I looking at this wrong?

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Since I usually fish from a boat my routine to locate bass is to determine what seasonal period it is, that helps me to focus on what the prey source may be and tells me where to start looking for both prey and bass.

Very difficult to reduce all this into a simple answer like "use a search bait", that doesn't help if you don't know anything about basic bass behavior or the prey source the bass are hunting. My Cosmic Clock and Bass Calendar helps to solve your question by indentifying seasonal periods and prey types during those periods in deep structure lakes where I fish.

Fishing from the bank reduces your choices of location to the back areas, the bass behavior doesn't change.

Getting back to my routine, I launch my boat turn on my sonar and check surface water temperatures. Using my eyes I look under the dock where I launched and use my sonar to determine what depth any bait fish or bass in the marina area. Seasonal period is the 1st key to puzzle, depth is next and prey type determines where to start fishing and what lures types should work. Based on this info I start my days outing and either confirm what is working or make adjustments based on what is actually going on at that time.

Tom

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If they don't hit the reaction baits, like a crankbait, you can cover water pretty quickly with a Ned rig. If fish are there, at least a few will hit the Ned. Once you find them you can switch over to a Texas rig or a jig to entice a few larger fish

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I don’t think you are looking at anything wrong.

 

But to have a handful of baits rigged up and ready is not wrong either. 

 

It might be a buzzbait. Could be a Rat-L-Trap. The T-rig worm is a good choice. I don’t set there and hammer on one spot. I’ll leave and move on above or below that spot and come back to it. Love to come back over those areas real slow. Especially if I know they are there. When I say know they are there, I assume. I feel strongly they are there. A spot that has a few things that I believe want them to keep there. But if it’s a day where fish are suspended and turned off. Guess you’re gonna have to work even harder. 

 

Thats what is nice about a pop-r or buzzbait. You’ll get a pretty good indication on the first or second cast. 

Really nice in pitch calm water and air. 

 

But if I’m having a day where nothing is working. Don’t know if it’s me or the fish. I’ll get frustrated to the point I think all the fish died, I’ll tie on a Rat-L-Trap, or back on, and retrace some of my footsteps so to speak and generally I can make something happen. I don’t want to get skunked. I’ll try to fish to keep from getting skunked. I believe or have to believe we can always drum up even a runt with a 4” Power Worm 

Mojo rigged. You have to believe, fish hard and some days you have to fish harder. 

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Here's the problem that I ran into by depending upon "search baits"; earlier this year I fished a long shoreline using my typical "search bait" and best bass catcher, a lipless crankbait (why it's my best bass catcher is part of the problem also).  I fished along not getting any bites until I hit a point that I knew tapered into a deep channel.  The sun was perfect, the season ideal for the depth, the structure was exactly what it should have been but I didn't get anything.  I was so convinced that instead of moving on I kept throwing the lipless.  Nothing.  I was so sure that I stayed longer.  Finally I decided to throw a t-rig with a trick worm.  Immediately caught a bass.  Then another.  Then I decided to go back down that same shoreline I had just investigated with my best "search bait".  I caught two more.  I went from a skunk to a good day by slowing down.  I no longer believe in "search baits".  I pick areas based on the totality of the circumstances.  I search that area and I use several baits.  Depending upon the circumstances, I will usually run the entire water column from top to bottom and from fast to slow.  AS I get more experience I expect that I will be able to zero in on what works more quickly. 

 

 

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I pick out about four baits that will effectively fish the area or cover I am facing . A Texas rig or jig is always among them . Then I rotate through those baits  . Those lures are a lot different fishing deep clear water than shallow stained water .

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1 hour ago, BigAngus752 said:

Here's the problem that I ran into by depending upon "search baits"; earlier this year I fished a long shoreline using my typical "search bait" and best bass catcher, a lipless crankbait (why it's my best bass catcher is part of the problem also).  I fished along not getting any bites until I hit a point that I knew tapered into a deep channel.  The sun was perfect, the season ideal for the depth, the structure was exactly what it should have been but I didn't get anything.  I was so convinced that instead of moving on I kept throwing the lipless.  Nothing.  I was so sure that I stayed longer.  Finally I decided to throw a t-rig with a trick worm.  Immediately caught a bass.  Then another.  Then I decided to go back down that same shoreline I had just investigated with my best "search bait".  I caught two more.  I went from a skunk to a good day by slowing down.  I no longer believe in "search baits".  I pick areas based on the totality of the circumstances.  I search that area and I use several baits.  Depending upon the circumstances, I will usually run the entire water column from top to bottom and from fast to slow.  AS I get more experience I expect that I will be able to zero in on what works more quickly. 

 

 

You just described my entire life of fishing experience in one post. Try all kinds of lures to no avail, throw trick worm and catch fish after fish 

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My favorite " the first thing I'll try bait" is a soft paddle tail swim bait. Extremely versatile. From the surface to the bottom, fast, slow, anywhere in between. I've caught bass on them from right on the surface to bouncing them across the bottom 30 ft. down. Really no wrong way to use them and they cover a lot of water

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1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

You just described my entire life of fishing experience in one post. Try all kinds of lures to no avail, throw trick worm and catch fish after fish 

Man, you've got that right.  I love the Trick Worm.  I've got two bags of Senkos that have been sitting for two years.  

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I think that the answer depends upon whether you're fishing from the bank or from a boat (which was touched on above). When you're in a boat you can scout a lot of water for "fishy" spots. But from the bank you're at the mercy of areas you can access and how far you can cast.

 

I bank fish, so I'll give you my two cents. If I'm fishing a new body of water the first thing I do is tie on a weedless, Texas rigged Senko (or Yum Dinger if I'm too cheap to buy Senkos that month). If it's an open area I'll make my first casts well up the bank and away from the shoreline and cover the area in front of me because I don't want to spook any bass in the shallows near the bank.

 

Then I'll move down to the shoreline and cast along the shoreline on both my left and my right. After that I fan cast to complete the 180 degrees or so that I can cover. After that I may move somewhere else that looks "fishy" or try a different bait. If it's open water and  I try a different bait then it's usually a topwater. If I still don't move after the topwater I'll try and fish a bait in the middle column.

 

Whether I move right away or not depends upon the patience I have that day or the cover and structure I see where I'm fishing at that moment. For example, if I have grass, lily pads, or woody vegetation in the water near me I'm going to fish the heck out of those with a few different baits before I move on.

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Tom mentioned a big factor in determining if there are fish there; Season.

From boat, or bank, you need to have a general idea of where they 'should' be. Then, three baits will cover the water column-top, middle, bottom. Start with what your confident using. Your next factor to consider is presentation speed.

Do you really want to burn a lipless in 40 degree water? I'm not saying it won't work, it just isn't the first way I'd present one then.

Some responses mention a trick worm, but what time of year, what depth and how it's being worked are the answers you need to focus on.  They could be hitting that trick worm at any depth for all anyone knows.

 

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My opinion is this: the best way to locate bass is by keeping the rods in the rod locker and learning the Lake in relation to the season. I’m amazed how often I can determine something relative when I set the rod down and observe the conditions for 10 minutes. That being said, if I’m still spinning my wheels after some reflection and lure rotation; I Texas rig a 6 or 7 inch Plastic worm and get back to my roots !

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You’re confusing “search bait” and “reaction bait”. A search bait doesn’t have to be a crankbait, swim bait, etc. It just has to allow you to cover water quickly. You’d be surprised at how well a shakey head works as a search bait on some days. 

 

I use a crankbait as my first search bait 90% of the time. But if I walk the stretch of available bank with no bites, then I tie something else on and walk/cast back towards where I started. 

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7 hours ago, Smalls said:

You’re confusing “search bait” and “reaction bait”. A search bait doesn’t have to be a crankbait, swim bait, etc. It just has to allow you to cover water quickly. You’d be surprised at how well a shakey head works as a search bait on some days. 

 

I use a crankbait as my first search bait 90% of the time. But if I walk the stretch of available bank with no bites, then I tie something else on and walk/cast back towards where I started. 

for me, the term "search bait" is one of the worst things in bass fishing. there is no one magic bait thats going to always catch you fish at the start of your day. if the fish arent biting a so called "search bait", then youve wasted the beginning of your trip throwing something the fish just dont want that day. fish not biting your "search bait" doesnt mean the fish are not there, they just dont want what youre presenting, it doesnt matter how much water youre covering if the fish dont want your "search bait". i think one is better off picking their first bait to throw based on location and conditions that youre fishing, and even thats not 100% but seems more logical than just picking a bait to start off with just because it covers water. so for me, there is no such thing as a "search bait"

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  I throw a spinnerbait first, especially in unknown waters. Then I go to spoons, and then ribbontail worms. If one of those three doesn't rustle up some bass, I go home.   jj

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***Are*** there bass. 😉

 

The better question is to ask, are there active bass.

 

Everything above... PLUS and very importantly, a couple (just two really) of baits you have confidence in. Something that can be fished throughout the water column by varying retrieve (a lipless is a great choice); and something bottom contact (a jig or texas rig is a great choice).

 

I start by fishing a moving bait in places where I think there ought to be fish. Then I fish those same areas with a slow bottom contact bait. If I don't find anything I go on the hunt more broadly and quickly covering water.

 

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On 11/29/2018 at 1:55 PM, ratherbfishin1 said:

What do you guys use to see if there is bass somewhere.  Im referring to times besides winter mainly.  You hear "Use a search bait to find the fish" but sometimes search baits just don't work.  I could fish a crank bait all day and not catch anything but switch to a t-rig and catch tons.  What do you guys like best just for being dependable and allowing you to see if there are bass somewhere? It would take forever to try 10 different lures in each spot to finally find where they are.  Am I looking at this wrong?

You basically have the right idea. My experience also says it seems to depend on where you're fishing. In several the lakes I fish often, they'll chase a crank or a spinnerbait pretty much all year round. In one of the closest lakes where I spent a lot of time fishing this summer, they have finicky bass that won't chase a spinnerbait and if it's summer or early fall, they won't often chase a crank if the sun's up but you can get them at night. So if the sun's up, you will want to throw a t-rig or a ned rig or sometimes a jig is a good bet. and as TnRiver46 alluded to, try a trick worm a Berkley power worm, the tails give the bait action that a Senko can't replicate.

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Texas rig trickworm has caught me alot of fish while exploring new water and if I only could pick one that would be it. Flukes early/late in day also produce Spring thru Fall for me. I usually always have those to start but keep several rods out to rotate when needed ex:topwater, crankbait, spinnerbait, chatterbait

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My go to search bait has become a chatterbait. Full disclosure - I’m a bank beater. In the bodies of water I fish, it’ll get bit before anything else. So, I throw it until I catch a couple and then switch up to other baits to see if there is anyone else hanging around. 

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On 11/30/2018 at 10:24 AM, Hyrule Bass said:

for me, the term "search bait" is one of the worst things in bass fishing. there is no one magic bait thats going to always catch you fish at the start of your day. if the fish arent biting a so called "search bait", then youve wasted the beginning of your trip throwing something the fish just dont want that day. fish not biting your "search bait" doesnt mean the fish are not there, they just dont want what youre presenting, it doesnt matter how much water youre covering if the fish dont want your "search bait". i think one is better off picking their first bait to throw based on location and conditions that youre fishing, and even thats not 100% but seems more logical than just picking a bait to start off with just because it covers water. so for me, there is no such thing as a "search bait"

No, of course there’s no magical bait. But the first thing you want to do is look for, and pick off active fish. So baits that allow you to cover water as quickly as possible are going to aid in doing that. Once you find the fish, then you can pick the area apart.

 

If you throw say.. 3 different “search” baits, and nothing’s biting, then you have to make a decision. Either stay and slow down/downsize, or move to a new spot. 

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fish my confidence baits! plain and simple, I know they catch fish 

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On 12/1/2018 at 9:42 PM, Smalls said:

No, of course there’s no magical bait. But the first thing you want to do is look for, and pick off active fish. So baits that allow you to cover water as quickly as possible are going to aid in doing that. Once you find the fish, then you can pick the area apart.

 

If you throw say.. 3 different “search” baits, and nothing’s biting, then you have to make a decision. Either stay and slow down/downsize, or move to a new spot. 

i disagree. if the fish dont want/dont bite any of those baits youre using to cover water, then what aid was it to you? "search baits" are a fallacy

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On 12/5/2018 at 10:15 AM, Hyrule Bass said:

i disagree. if the fish dont want/dont bite any of those baits youre using to cover water, then what aid was it to you? "search baits" are a fallacy

Typically, bass are opportunistic eaters. So it makes sense that if you fly something by them, they’ll eat it. But you’re right, that’s not always how it works. 

 

It it very much depends on time of year, and weather, and etc. if I assume the bass  are in an mood where they’re not actively searching for baitfish, then a jig will absolutely become my “search bait” of choice. 

 

Again, doesn’t have to be a reaction bait. It just has to be the bait I think they’re gonna want to to eat. I prefer to cover water to see if bass are even there, first. Lakes are big, and I walk em. There ain’t enough time in the day to walk around some lakes and fish slow. 

 

I see your point, and agree to an extent. But just to play devils advocate- what aid does dragging a jig slowly do you, if there are no fish in the vicinity?

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