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BROWN BASS TOOLS ~ Questions & Answers


A-Jay

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Been working on a scrap book over the course of the last three years on exactly that. Also using a mapping app on my phone that I can put way points on with photos as well so they are all geo-referenced. Keep teaching I greatly appreciate it @A-Jay

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33 minutes ago, Swbass15 said:

Been working on a scrap book over the course of the last three years on exactly that. Also using a mapping app on my phone that I can put way points on with photos as well so they are all geo-referenced. Keep teaching I greatly appreciate it @A-Jay

OK but you don't need me Sir.

You are doing fine.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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1 hour ago, NYWayfarer said:

Great information.

 

I am half way through and have loved the insight into Smallmouth Bass fishing. Thanks for posting and sharing.

You and me both.

 

And to think all I did was ask him to help me spend some of my money, and I,  now the world got all this in return! ?

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I'm going to have to read this over and over.  In Mid March I'll be going to Pickwick for 3 days, I've never fished for smallies before.  Thanks for all this info.

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3 minutes ago, Troy85 said:

I'm going to have to read this over and over.  In Mid March I'll be going to Pickwick for 3 days, I've never fished for smallies before.  Thanks for all this info.

Good Luck ~

:smiley:

A-Jay

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55 minutes ago, Troy85 said:

I'm going to have to read this over and over.  In Mid March I'll be going to Pickwick for 3 days, I've never fished for smallies before.  Thanks for all this info.

I've read each 'lesson' at least 4 times so far, and I'm still finding new info each time. Good stuff! 

 

Actually it's priceless.

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On 1/3/2019 at 2:51 PM, 12poundbass said:

You and me both.

 

And to think all I did was ask him to help me spend some of my money, and I,  now the world got all this in return! ?

I would have helped spend your money. Would have been on hookers and blow and would have had the same outcome...minus the bass

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@A-Jay Only criticism is you refrained to say SMB are sight feeders? You eluded to it many times but never said it outright. Otherwise, I think you are on to something. B) Liked your comparison as a cross between trout and green bass. That is spot on. Agree as well with locating SMB. One thing I do know is they are like a woman in heat. When they're hot they're hot and when they're not they're not.

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1 minute ago, slonezp said:

@A-Jay Only criticism is you refrained to say SMB are sight feeders? You eluded to it many times but never said it outright. Otherwise, I think you are on to something. B) Liked your comparison as a cross between trout and green bass. That is spot on. Agree as well with locating SMB. One thing I do know is they are like a woman in heat. When they're hot they're hot and when they're not they're not.

Thank you very much for your input sir.

 And I must agree with you -  Seems I did omit noting that smb are big time sight feeders - certainly not intentionally though. Should have come somewhere in the very first installment. 

I'm going to go back and add it now.

And clearly, you'll now be listed in the 'credits' . . . 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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1 hour ago, slonezp said:

I would have helped spend your money. Would have been on hookers and blow and would have had the same outcome...minus the bass

Both are similar but diffetent. Both are the gift that keeps on giving.....one requires an antibiotic though which I'll pass on on! ?

23 minutes ago, slonezp said:

@A-Jay Only criticism is you refrained to say SMB are sight feeders? You eluded to it many times but never said it outright. Otherwise, I think you are on to something. B) Liked your comparison as a cross between trout and green bass. That is spot on. Agree as well with locating SMB. One thing I do know is they are like a woman in heat. When they're hot they're hot and when they're not they're not.

Care to indulge without getting too graphic? Could be great info.

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19 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

 

 

Both are similar but diffetent. Both are the gift that keeps on giving.....one requires an antibiotic though which I'll pass on on! ?

Care to indulge without getting too graphic? Could be great info.

I don't know that it's any different than what's already been said. My experience with smallmouth has been on Lake Michigan and on a couple river systems. I guess the best comparison is: Keep your mouth shut. Give her what she wants. Don't ask questions...if you say too much or say the wrong thing, you'll be holding your rod and not getting any action. 

 

SMB are nomadic, like women going to the bathroom at the club. They travel in packs and it's much easier to get a reaction from the "easy" one then it is from the "gate keeper" Once you get the easy one to bite, the rest of the group are more likely to follow until the smart one gets wind of what is really going on. Then it's shut down time.

 

I've had instances of catching 20 SMBass on 20 casts in the heat of the summer on an eddy in a river and shut down dead. 

I've had it on Lake Michigan where I catch 75 SMBass in 4 hours and return the following day to catch 25 bass in 10 hours. 

 

While I believe the catches that @A-Jay experiences on Lake Menderchuck are completely different than on river systems or on large bodies of water like the Great Lakes, they are eerily the same. 

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@A-Jay-

I grew up chasing largemouth and only hitting 'easy' spring smallmouth once a year; I've since traveled all over the Midwest fishing for smallies throughout the year (learning mostly by braille and incidental discovery). This is a great summary of a bunch of tough lessons on the subject, and is really applicable in every location I've been fortunate to chase smallmouth.

Keep up the good work!

-Jared

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16 minutes ago, KCFinesse said:

@A-Jay-

I grew up chasing largemouth and only hitting 'easy' spring smallmouth once a year; I've since traveled all over the Midwest fishing for smallies throughout the year (learning mostly by braille and incidental discovery). This is a great summary of a bunch of tough lessons on the subject, and is really applicable in every location I've been fortunate to chase smallmouth.

Keep up the good work!

-Jared

Keep checking in here periodically, chances are this thread will continue to grow. 

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3 hours ago, 12poundbass said:

Keep checking in here periodically, chances are this thread will continue to grow. 

Yup - 

 More on the way early next week 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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13 minutes ago, MIbassyaker said:

OMG, great thread!

Keep following, there's more good 'stuff' coming soon. Probably even more once we start fishing. Feel free to chime in anytime. ?

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36 minutes ago, 12poundbass said:

Keep following, there's more good 'stuff' coming soon. Probably even more once we start fishing. Feel free to chime in anytime. ?

 

Not sure I have much to chime in on, as my smallie fishing is strictly river-based, at the Grand, Thornapple, and Flat. The smallie lakes closest to me get so much recreational traffic, and/or can be so windy, I avoid them by kayak. Can you launch on Blue? I have looked it on the map, but it looks like a pretty long paddle from the Lincoln launch.

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2 minutes ago, MIbassyaker said:

. Can you launch on Blue? 

No only Lincoln. If I ever see a kayak out there I'll assume it's you and tow them to Blue. ?

 

That would be a very long paddle, even if you're peddling that would be a lot! 

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"Breaking Down Lake X  Pre-spawn to Spawn" 

 

12poundbass ~ 

It's been a few days since we've chatted, I spent a little time today trying to look up lakes in my area that have SMB. If you know of any sites that tell you what species are in each lake, I could use a link. I know of a couple, but the more the merrier. When I Googled my county it brought up a link to the DNR site. On the site it had TOPO maps. I did notice they were from the 40's or 50's so very old and outdated. I do have chips for both the Garmin and Bird and will do some of my old mapping. For this discussion let’s use this map I downloaded. I’m Calling it Lake X.  It's the most detailed of the ones I down loaded which is why I'm using it in this discussion. I looked it over and it's very overwhelming and I have a couple ideas where I'd start, but also unsure of myself. I'm guessing this lake will have 1' contours on my map cards, which I think will do one of two things. 1: make things more clear or 2: make my head spin even more. Maybe I'm over thinking this. I'll let you take a look and see what you think. Again I know this is old and outdated, hopefully it'll work as a tutorial.

 

1839376348_LakeX1AB.thumb.jpg.db17da2bcba954a47ee52c066bc0daa0.jpg

 

A-Jay ~

Good Day Sir ~ 

 Nice map & Really Great LOOKING LAKE !  Plenty to get excited about.

However - in an effort to help 'mold' you into the smallie hunter you really want to be, 

how about we do a little 'exercise'  And this will be awesome because we are BOTH going to get quite a bit from this and your lake & especially that map, Look PERFECT for it. 

 So take what I've submitted regarding structure & locations (or re-read it if you need to) and apply it to that map.  The lake is just about the perfect size to "start" with and most importantly 'GAIN CONFIDENCE' in one's own bass locating skills - which IME is the 85% of this battle.  Guess we'll see if the Brown Bass Tools presentation is what I intended it to be - 

Very interested in how this goes . . . .Hope you are. 

 Let's begin with the early spring - say right after and through the first couple of weeks after ice out.  Pick 3 places you'd start fishing, say why & what you'd use - and then I'll tell you my version of the same - 

 We can compare notes and continue to do this here for each 'period' through a season.

  Then once you get on the water - we can see what worked, when, where why & how . . .

Total Win !   

 Now not having ever actually seen this place, it's a little tougher for me - as I can really only go by the map - and when I do this type of "map study" my self - there are almost ALWAYS 'factors' found, once on the water and start looking & fishing, that can totally eliminate what I thought could be PRIME STUFF.  Conversely, something I thought might be 'dead water' could have some weed or cover or something else associated with it that I didn't or could see 'on the map' that makes it 'Pure Gold"  - so the maps are tool - but a great way to 'get the ball rolling' sort of speak.  

 I do recall you saying this was a private lake ?- well not to get you over confident but just from what I can see here - I have a few waters by me that are laid out in a similar fashion - and THEY ARE SOME OF THE BEST WATERS I FISH - both for numbers & size.  Plenty of deep water with an assortment of bottom structure contours.  

Could Be Wicked Good 

 

12poundbass ~

Ok, I like the pick three and explain why. It's a great way for me to really think and retain this great info I've been give. Plus I'd like to earn this instead of always getting handouts. 

This lake we're going to dissect is a public lake about 300-400 acres, it's the largest or second largest lake in my area. The lake we bought a house on is a private lake, which unfortunately has no SMB.

Give me a while to study it some more and probably re-read some more before I post my thoughts. I like this idea, I think this will be a lot of fun.  

 

A-Jay ~

OK got it - cool - 

FYI - every lake I fish is Public - 

 

12poundbass ~

Ok I couldn't wait I feel like a little kid excited and admittedly a little nervous. I re-read and studied the map some more, which I now see the lake is actually 724 acres +/-.

Spot 1: The east NE side if the island. There's shallows, there's a little bit of a flat and there's quick access to deep water. This area is also appealing to me because it'll get the most sun and according to the map has submerged vegetation, for the healthy population of Perch I just found out about.

Spot 2: I'd say would be just SW of the island the 70 FOW hole and to the west. This area again has quick access to deep water, sand, vegetation, plenty of sun, and flats. This area I think I'd only target until early May. This lake get HAMMERED with boat traffic and I can see this particular section and the island creating a choke point for boats.  

The 3rd: I'd actually say it's spot 3-5 because to my untrained eye NW of the island it looks like 3 sunken islands in a triangle. These 3 sunken islands look (again to my untrained eye) to possibly be the best spot on the lake. The drop offs aren't as steep but steep enough that they still have quick access to deep water. There's plenty of flats on the second shelf, and there's vegetation to attract the prey. 

With this being only early spring right after ice out, I'd slow twitch a jerkbait, particularly a deep diver. I'd also try and trigger their chase button with a lipless crankbait, and move some water or bottom bounce a bladed jig. 

Whew, the test is over, hopefully my grade comes back good. I'm glad I sent you the map because I'm enjoying this! 

 

A-Jay ~

 OK here’s my version Breaking Down  Lake X

 

Early spring – I’m looking in the N section of the lake first – want the sun on it – perhaps dark(er) bottom color to absorb the sunlight and warm up faster.  Doesn’t necessarily need to be a colored bottom but a smallies sticks out like a sore thumb over sand sometimes so the colored bottom seems to help with that.  

 Locations could be the E side or the W – but S is the Last place I’m going.  Any ‘inlets’ – or little creeks could influence my choice – fish like to hang out in front of them early.

  So I like “Inside Turns”  - look for bottom structure that looks like a “U”.  – size may not matter – some springs I’ll blow down the shore – in 6-say 12 ft and there will be fish in EVERY inside turn – That’s not exactly a secret – but not something I post up every time I do it – You’re welcome. 

 

 Not on the bank but fishing all the inside turn on that ‘secondary drop’ – You can’t see ANYTHING above the water – but the Card on the Humminbird was Right on the $$$ and I was hammering them!

 Btw – ‘making’ your own maps is cool – but unless you know how to read them it’s not very helpful plus takes a long time – I may do it while I’m fishing an area – and 1 ft contour lines sells a lot of units & cards but by & large IS NOT NECESSARY to find what we’re talking about.  It can help ‘fine tune’ a pattern but in the beginning, don’t get all spun up trying to make maps – fish first.

 So for Lake X my first trip would be to the N ‘side’ of the lake – I’d want to go as early in the year as I could.  I’d sit shallow & throw a deep diving jerkbait deep and work it shallow.  The spots near the NW side that have deep water close would certainly get my attention as well as the secondary drop on the NE side.

 My focus initially and until I got bit or had exhausted it all – would be to position my boat on the shallower side of the 10 ft contour line and throw into deep water.  I want my bait to be fishing effectively over that 10-15 ft zone. 

 WATER CLARITY RULES HERE-You really do need at least 5 foot of vis for this.  Also, the bait needs to be ‘fished’ with a slow pull of 2 ft or so and then a nice pause – we’re not ‘JERKING IT’ in 38-45 degree water! It’s all in slow motion because the bass certainly are.  And I’d be constantly checking my water temps – Finding an area or a spot that has warmer water – may only be 2 degrees – can be the difference and clue us in on where to concentrate our efforts. 

  As the water warms – and it can happen fast – the fish may start showing up closer to the boat – when that starts happening (and it will)  I may reverse directions with my cast and present baits from deep to shallow or even ‘parallel’ to the drop if the majority of fish seem to be coming from one depth.  More efficient. 

 

Something else to keep in mind – especially super early & late season – Although I’m ALWAYS very eager to get up at the crack of dawn & fish, especially after a long winter pre-dawn bites seem rare.  I have found that being on the water during the WARMEST part of the day is good.  So I’ll get out by sunrise let’s say, so I have the gas to make it until at least an hour before sunset.  Once the SUN gets to within two fingers or so of the horizon – it’s getting close to quitting time for the kid.  

 Also if the fish start coming in skinny water where your deep jerkbait is ‘dredging’ the bottom – (which at times is really effective) you can try a ‘standard’ jerkbait – which is every bit as effective as the deep – just runs shallow but is still fished the same way. SLOW.  

 My other go-to super early season bait is a drop shot – I like a 4 inch  SK caffeine shad nose hooked on 10 braid and 8 lb fluorocarbon leader – Several ‘minnow’ type smaller drop shot baits will work.  This is a good approach if you can see fish cruising or sitting in a spot – cast near them and let them ‘swim into it’ – hardly need to do anything to it.  Btw – natural colors are good but so is pink or bright chartreuse – I know seems weird but they eat it.

I haven’t tried it yet – But with how good the Z-Man Jackhammer worked late this past fall – I’ll be throwing that one early a bit more – especially once they start showing up shallow more consistently

 

12poundbass ~

Ok. I completely forgot about the angle of the sun early spring and not getting that south shore direct enough to do a whole lot of warming. 

Thanks for straightening me out on making maps and the cards. They both came with the units so I'll utilize them but won't sit and stare at a screen for hours on end or spend a couple trips mapping a lake or two. The whole reason I brought the map to your attention was to learn how read them (which I'm a novice at) and to visualize what I've read from you and see it on a map. 

A question I do have/a little confusion, after reading your break down and how you mentioned inlets I notice on the NE corner there's an inlet. You said you might target that, that particular inlet or inlets in general? The reason I ask and maybe where the confusion comes from is the flat around the inlet seems too big, meaning there's more than two boat lengths between drop off one and two if I'm seeing it correctly. 

You mentioned color on your drop shots. I remember see and episode last year or the year before with Zona and Seth Feider at Kong Island I believe and Seth said the smallmouth like with really natural or really loud colors, nothing in between. They were using the half shell in the color siren which is a neon yellow. I ordered the half shell in the color you recommended and in siren. ?

 

A-Jay ~

Cool  

Inlets - I Agree - there does seem to be more real estate between the inlet & deep water than I'd like - EARLY SEASON.  But later on if there is some weed cover the bass can 'sneak' through to get in & out more or less undetected  - it could play. Late summer (AUGUST) right when the weeds there start to die off - bait will have to 'relocate' again - bass might be waiting there for them - could be an early morning deal too.  I say that as it does 'resemble' a few places I do currently have success as I described. And that little 'cut' has two sweet 'inside turns' could be good too. 

 

Drop Shots - EXACTLY !  That is what I'm talking about - same deal !  I use the half shell a lot - but that minnow shaped caffeine shad has produced a better quality of smb for me. 

 Also when working your jerkbait - learn how deep it runs and when fishing out over a drop - remember The Angle of the Dangle deal.  You can totally change the effectiveness of your bait - good or bad, by where you position your boat in relation to the drop.  In warmer water the smallies will charge a long way - in good vis- to get your bait, so you have a little more of a margin for error.  But in the colder water - even though you're working it slow - You will increase your odds a ton if you can have your bait go RIGHT BY THE BASS.  So if your bait is running 10 feet down on most of your cast, ensure you're rig is positioned in such a manner as to allow it to be in the right spot to allow the bait to be where you want it to be on each cast - this WILL REQUIRE you to constantly monitor your boat's position, water depth & your graph to ensure your fishing correctly as the bottom contour ahead of you changes.  This is especially important when fishing 'spots' like small underwater points & inside turns.  If your bait is running way high - it could go right over them undetected. These 'spots' may be only 10-20 feet wide or long so a miss is as good as a mile right there. 

  Sounds kind of complicated but it's really not - just think of fishing a deep crank in shallow water - doesn't really work - same thing - just something to be aware of.   

 And I use the Jerkbait here as a search bait too.  You can totally switch to a slow moving bottom bait once you fish some too.  A rage bug on a 1/4 or 3/8 oz ball or football head works as does a small swimbait (paddletail) But if they on the jerkbait good - I'll often stick with that - nothing wrong with experimenting a little.   Don't forget the swinghead if there a little more bottom debris too. 

  And the more I look at that map - That Whole North side of the lake - the whole length of that 10-15 ft contour line looks very promising.  Come ice out - While most everyone else is 'beating the bank',  I'd be fishing with my back to the shore - the sun and perhaps a little wind in my face, a jerkbait on a spinning rig & I get to casting ! Might only get a couple a day at first - but IME The Biggest Bass come up first !  So I'm good with that. 

 

Forgot to add that you can 'modify' your jerkbaits 'running depth' with your line choice type / size.  Guessing you know this.   But the way I do it is - say I want to get a deep bait a little deeper - a fluorocarbon line or in the case of spinning gear with braid a fluorocarbon leader.  To get that same bait to run a little shallower - a mono leader on braid can do the trick.     Same with a standard bait - while I rarely do it an all mono line would be what I could use on casting gear to have either bait run shallower.  And don't forget about over-weighing any bait - 

 I'll always start with my 'regular' rigs (previously mentioned) and then adjust if needed - admittedly those occasions are rare but they exist.

 As the water warms and the brown bass move & stay shallower, some other baits that play for me are lipless baits, square bill cranks (especially flat sided baits), swim jigs, spinnerbaits can play as well, so can any number of soft plastics (craws can be killer); a 3.5 - 5 inch small paddletail swimbait on a 1/4 or 3/8 oz jighead.  These bait (as well as some others) may very well score well very early too.  But I've not given them a fair chance as jerkbait has been my confidence lure here usually.  But often that is a short list I can expect to use late season too so . . . . 

 

 

12poundbass ~

Ok so thanks to you I had an ah ha moment/my tiny brain finally caught up. When you said the entire north shore looks good and you'd follow the 10-15' contour I looked at the scale and realized duh this isn't a steep bank, it's a gradual slope! I'm not sure what took me so long to realize that, but better late than never I guess.  

  

Ok I'll give myself a C- on that one. What do ya have for me for round 2?

 

 

A-Jay ~

OK well, you can 'grade' yourself if that's your deal - I'll not do that.  This is all in fun and I for one do not keep score.   So the 'next' part of this is  - where do they go to spawn ?

Well, what you might find is that they will not be too far from where you start catching them right after ice out.  So that part might be a little easier. 

  *** Sneaky Tip *****  Another way to find super early season smallies, on the water that you may not be very familiar with, is to find areas where you believe they may spawn / make beds - and work ' backward'.  Meaning go to that location, turn around from facing the bank, and look for places that have deep water access close by and perhaps some cover for the smallies to relate to while they hunt for early season chow.  So yes, all the stuff we've been discussing previously.  This can be one of those times of the year where knowing what the brown bass are planning on doing 'next' can help locate and catch them now.

  btw - I've used that to get on green bass quite a bit as well, what is usually different in that case is, the green bass will look to spawn shallower and a bit later than the Smallies.  However, I fish many lakes where the two do bed very close to each other, if not side by side.  Happened this season a ton because the ice went out so late the smallies started fast and the green bass didn't have time to wait around - they needed to get it on in time to enable the fry to be old enough to survive the first winter.   Was fun but also a 'mess'.  Hope we get a longer pre-spawn this season.  

   So let's not Rush this while Pre-spawn deal - It's too good and we want it to last as long as possible.  There are always instances where smallies will spawn is some pretty deep water. I'm talking stuff where you can barely see the bottom if at all.  Especially when the water's super clear - I am very happy about this as it puts a certain percentage of the breeding population out of the reach of many bed fisherman. 

    Another interesting early season fun fact is that a few of my BIGGEST pre-spawn smallies have been caught in ridiculously skinny water.  I'm talking 1 or 2 feet.  Seems to happen in places that do have some boating & fishing pressure, also places with very little in the way of shallow cover (no logs or rocks)  Smallies like to make beds 'under stuff'  a log, a branch and of course, every lazy fisherman's dream - Docks. Eh.  But when little of that is available sometimes they will cross a really clear water shallow flat and go WAY, WAY into a quiet cove and poke around in shoreline cover - I'm guessing looking for a quite bed site.  I stumbled onto this purely by accident - while not catching & doing 'RECON' with the canoe several years ago with Lynn.  We saw one & them another and on a couple of different lakes. Clearly we 'burned them'.   So eventually I started poking around and caught a few. I think my first 5 lb Michigan brown bass came like this. 

   So if the mood strikes you - perhaps 'investigate that a bit.  Every once in a while, during a period when the fatties are looking to move shallower, if you get that 'feeling' in your gut that says 'you know what - I should probably cast in there' - don't ignore it - Do It !  A 1/4 swimjig with a little paddletail, grub or even craw trailer, makes a nice semi-subtle entry and can often trigger old Mama to bite it.  

   Once brown bass are on beds - 'my style' of fishing can get a little tough.   I'm not going to bed fish and beat on these fish for two weeks and jack them up.  The males will guard the heck out of the bed.  You can catch every one you see with a senko or a ned rig - get it in the bed and they pick it up - EVERY TIME. You can catch the SAME BASS 3 times in a row if you want.  It's fun for kids and perhaps your wife - but it’s not my style.  Enough said there.

    So while not all the bass are bedding at the same time - some are coming & others are going, the fat Females ONLY seem to actually Be On The Bed - to actually spawn, very briefly.   They come up intermittently through the period (and perhaps at night) but they don't stay long.  And even though the females may be coming & going - they are not really interested in 'eating' as and after the eggs are dumped - THEY SPLIT to presumably deeper water (or parts unknown to recover).  This often leaves it up to the male to have to deal with whatever happens next.   Either way it can be tough sledding.  I may walleye fish for a week of two or fish Bigger deeper lakes that are usually The Last lakes to have bass actually get on beds.

 Next installment we can talk about the where when & how of Post Spawn !  A time of abundance & plenty of hungry, all be it skinny, brown bass. You are gonna have such an awesome time . . .I'm really excited for you.

 

12poundbass ~

Good read right there! 

The grading myself is all tongue in cheek. I'm having a blast doing this and soaking up every bit of info I can squeeze out of you, so I'm not going ruin it by actually grading myself.   

Last night I was on line looking to see what other lakes around me has SMB in them (no luck finding accurate info), and I was given a link to the DNR website that had lake survey results. I was shocked to see that long nose gar are in Michigan! None of the lakes on my radar had been surveyed recently which is a bummer. Your home lake was surveyed, I believe gar were found. I did read that there's a below average SMB population (I had to chuckle) and there's an above average walleye population. 

Ok, I have some morning tickets to get done, after that I'll read over what you sent again and study the map some more and we'll compare notes again

 

A-Jay~

Thanks - chasing green bass is a great plan during the smb spawn but they are often so close to spawning themselves that you may run into the same deal.  

What is offered below is sort of a game changer - sorry I didn't get this to you 'earlier' - Lynn actually reminded me that you could probably use these. 

Check out the Michigan Fishing Map Guide (Sportsman's Connection) I used these A TON- make sure your 'counties' are included as there are many different ones.  They cover rivers & streams as well.

 Best info is RAMP TYPES & Locations - as well as species info.  They offer fishing tips & spots that are essentially useless but the depths & hazard info is very helpful - The ones I have are several years old as I bought them for this area in 2007 when I first retired.

You'll want these - I used to keep them in the truck the first year. 

https://www.amazon.com/Southwest-Michigan-Fishing-Sportsmans-Connection/dp/1885010508/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546613470&sr=8-1&keywords=sportsman's+connection+michigan

 

12poundbass ~

Ah good call on the book. They have them at our local Wal-Mart. It's been years since I looked through it. This would be way more reliable than what I'm finding on line. What I'm finding on line doesn't list fish on certain lakes I know are loaded with the excluded fish. I'll be getting one of these very soon!

Good catch Lynn! ?

 

A-Jay ~

 Year compare them with what's sold on line - and try to get the newest one out there.

And while the info is good please remember it's a "Reference" and not an actual 'nautical chart'  - but it's certainly better than going in cold.   Do you have or are you planning on getting a chart card for your Humminbird ?

 

12poundbass ~

Good tip with these maps being a 'reference'. That how we treat our underground natural gas prints and any utility print for that matter, merely a reference to let know know what is there.

My Humminbird came with a chart card, so did my Garmin I bought from a BR member

Ok I'm on my lunch reading things over again, studying the map again, and I'm kind of blanking on where they'd spawn. What I'm coming up with is the north side of the lake. It warms the quickest and it has good size flats. 

 

I've never fished this lake and honestly I have seen the lake in at least 8 years. So I get on Google earth today and look at it, and if I had to guess when the image was taken there's at least 5-10' of visibility. In coming up with this based on the map we're both looking at. With that being said and going back to your writing on the spawn it would be quite possible they'd spawn on the 10-15' shelf along the north side? 

Here's a couple questions that are similar I thought of while studying the map. In Buck's book I remember he wrote "the largest bass (or fish) will stay in the deepest part of the lake". Could you elaborate on this? The reason I'm asking is in my mind if this were truly the case (and I'm not going to question Mr. Perry) then there are only a couple spots on Lake X where the largest bass will be. So maybe I'm not interpreting it correctly. The other question ties into what I just mentioned and maybe it'll all be answered at once. I know SMB love deep water. If they have everything they need at say 1-20 FOW and there's 50' FOW will they stay at the 1-20' or will they go all the way to the bottom?

 

Using Lake Xl as an example there's the 70' hole on the south side and there are a couple 50' holes. The way I interpret Buck's writing is these holes will hold the biggest fish, therefore I should (I'm using should very loosely) fish along and around these deep holes. I think I'm taking what I quoted Buck in too literally which is why I'm asking you. 

I've got another question but I'm going to look back at one of your lessons first to see if I can answer it.

 

A-Jay ~

OK - one thing at a time - and in the order, you asked ~ 

Where will they spawn ?  Before we try to "Guess" where on Lake X because that's what we're doing - let's cover 'another factor' not previously discussed but needs to be.

 Where the fish spawn is as much about where the 'parents' feel safe doing it, as it is where is it that the 'eggs are going to hatch and live that entire first summer at.  

 So all the factors that an adult smb needs, have to be present for the 'babies', just on a smaller scale (except access to deep water - not right off anyway).

  So a healthy fertile habitat, that offers the right water temps, some cover to hide in nearby,  and of course, food (baby food I guess).  Water clarity

will play a role in 'how deep the beds are' - especially in places where an attack from over is likely (Hawks, Osprey & Eagles).

This is another reason I believe that in clear water lakes, so many smallies like to 'bed under & or between wood' - might deter free overhead attacks while sitting on or defending the bed & or fry.   So I'm going to say NO - you may not see beds on that 10-15 foot drop.  I'm guessing they'll be shallower - inside, somewhere between the 10 ft line & the 5 ft line or the bank.  I Know that sounds pretty vague - but until you catch a few pre-spawn, that's the deal.  It will be important to mark & remember where you catch the first fatties of the year, as this is going to help give you a 'clue' as to where they might be looking to bed up.  This can help you 'stay on them' - meaning when you come back in a few days or a week perhaps, you'll have a better idea where to start.  With that thought - if the weathers been stable or even better if the sun has been shining prior to that 'next trip', I'd start looking a little shallower than where I'd gotten then previously.  If it's colder or cloudy - I'd start in the same place.  

 In Early pre-spawn - I do not go DEEP looking for smallies, I want to be 'where they are coming to'.  Because they are coming there (shallower usually) to warm up & EAT.  Two of my favorite deals. 

 

While I'd never attempt to refute anything Buck believes, I have enough of my own experience & success that - I will usually go with that.  So as for 'The Largest fish will go to the deepest part of the lake' stuff - I don't factor that into ANY of the smallie fishing I do.   

First off, I catch plenty of big smallies in water 30 ft or less in lakes that are well over 100 ft deep.  Smallies will go WHERE THE FOOD IS.  And while there may be food in 70 ft - I'm going to stick with what has worked for me.  I will say that during the warmer months - on deep lakes that have a thermocline - smallies will certainly suspend right above that thermocline over deep water.  So if the line is at say 25 feet - they may suspend at 23 ft but out over 70 feet. Sometimes you can graph them.  What I will do then, is look for places close by where that thermocline meets the bottom - Often that's where they come to feed - they do not have to alter their depth - just travel horizontally to a nearby drop and choke gobies for an hour or so and then it's back out to the abyss. This can play itself out most of the summer and what makes summer brown bass fishing a little tricky.  

 Some of this we've not discussed- yet; and while there's plenty more where that came from, we'll still take it slow - or as it comes - 

 Finally, and this goes to 'mindset' - When I first started fishing here in Michigan - from the canoe - I was learning on the fly big time.  I was fishing new water practically every trip for the first year of so anyway & I was fishing technique's I hadn't done in many years. 

   When I look back at those times, three things really stick out.  First, how 'out of my element' I felt the first few months - I had been standing on the beach or a rock jetty in the Atlantic ocean, in pounding surf, in the middle of the night, chasing striped bass for the past 15 years.  Floating around in the morning mist in the Old Town seemed like an out of body experience.  Second thing was, How many things I had to put together all at the same time; fish location, boat position, tackle & bait selections, what weather conditions were best, what lakes were good or bad, when to fish, when not to fish.  And How Hard I worked at it before ANY OF IT started to make sense & then to produce REPEATABLE RESULTS.  It was grind !  

I knew (hoped) it would come together but I didn't know when and getting impatient was MY WORSE ENEMY.  And Thirdly, How TOTALLY satisfying those first few Fat Smallies were to hold.  I could not have been any happier or to be truthful - Prouder, of those fish, mostly because of how hard I had to work to find & catch them, How long it took and how bright the future for me there was going be - because when it started happening - I could tell the fish were there and I was the only knucklehead out there fishing for them - Good Times.  

 

  So cut yourself some slack, work hard but have fun and know that at some point - you're gonna catch some Great Fish!!!   Just might not happen right away . . .

 

12poundbass ~

I have to admit Friday I became a little discouraged. I was doing some research on my target lakes for SMB (there are very few around here) and I found some fishing 'reports' (yes, yes I know don't listen to them, and I'm trying) and I also found a couple DNR surveys from Lake X. The results weren't very encouraging. I know there are so many variables that could have contributed to the poor results for SMB and I know it's not an exact science either. On the bright side one fishing report I read said there's a healthy population of 3-4lb SMB in Lake X, that was encouraging considering it came from an angler on a Michigan fishing forum. I think I just need to slow down, and remember this is going to be my first year fishing for them in a lake, and I'm going to struggle. With all this great info in getting it's real easy to get ahead of myself, so  once in a while I need a slap up side the head to bring my back to reality. ?

 

A-Jay ~

 I'm not sure what "Fishing Reports" you're reading, but what I'll say is that ~ IT DOESN'T MATTER.   As long as there's something that say's there's smallmouth in a place - I'll fish it and make my own assessment of how many & how big they might be.  Several of the smaller lakes I fish are dynamite and the locals think I'm wasting my time out there.  

  

   Storytime -  I had a killer day on "Lake X".  It was fall of my third year fishing here in Michigan and the shallow tube bite was on like donkey kong.  So much so, that I brought Lynn back the next day  . . .  and it was even better.  We caught several 'Master Angler' smb and took several pics (This was before the video stuff came into play).  As we were leaving and Older Gent met us at the ramp.  He said he had seen me out there the day before and couldn't imagine why I was back today "because the fishing is terrible here" - I told him were we catching some nice bass.   He went on to say that he had lived on Lake X for 50 YEARS and only caught 1 bass - by accident fishing for walleye.  I pulled out the Nixon and showed him the pics - Should have seen his face - It was priceless - I don't think he believed us even after seeing the pics - we still talk about that day - Many times as we put one in the net there, one of us will say, "The fishing here is Terrible" . . . . .    

   So I'd encourage you to fish the lakes you want and make your own "fishing reports".  There are some lakes that I fished for two seasons in the beginning and found out that there just were no "bigger" bass in them, and if there were - I wasn't getting them.  But using the same 'techniques, ideas, & presentations' on other bodies of water, I had much better results.  So I don't fish the dink lakes anymore - the important fact to know here is 'the fishing reports' I read RARELY matched what I eventually found out myself.   And this includes that book I left the link to above. 

  We got 'some snow' last night with more on the way today - so I am heading out to participate in some 'removal operation'.  Have a good one my friend - 

:smiley:

A-Jay

  18 May 2018  6-0 smb cropped BR.png   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have the sportsman connection book that includes @12poundbass's "lake X" here, and it does indicate smallmouth are present, even includes some (very) old survey data that turned up some smallies. Useful books, but as AJ indicates, the "notes" and "fishing information" on each lake are hilariously unreliable about how good the place is for each species, and what the best spots and techniques are to catch them.   

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43 minutes ago, MIbassyaker said:

I have the sportsman connection book that includes @12poundbass's "lake X" here, and it does indicate smallmouth are present, even includes some (very) old survey data that turned up some smallies. Useful books, but as AJ indicates, the "notes" and "fishing information" on each lake are hilariously unreliable about how good the place is for each species, and what the best spots and techniques are to catch them.   

Awesome! Thanks for the reminder, I completely forgot to order that book. 

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1 hour ago, MIbassyaker said:

I have the sportsman connection book that includes @12poundbass's "lake X" here, and it does indicate smallmouth are present, even includes some (very) old survey data that turned up some smallies. Useful books, but as AJ indicates, the "notes" and "fishing information" on each lake are hilariously unreliable about how good the place is for each species, and what the best spots and techniques are to catch them.   

How good is your forage? How healthy is your habitat? Answer those questions and you should have an idea about how good a place it is. As far as spots and techniques. It's all relative. Just like any other fish species, water clarity, water temp, high/low pressure, wind/no wind, sun/clouds, time of day, will all play a factor.

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Just finally got around to reading this newest addition to the saga last night and wanted to add a couple comments to clarify on the Buck stuff highlighted above.

 

Buck's purpose was to create a set of guidelines to follow that would allow anyone to be able to go to a lake, anywhere in the country, and quickly figure out where it made the most sense to concentrate their efforts so as to be able to put some fish in the boat. In that regard, "the home of the fish is deep water" became the first guideline.

 

What this simply means is that in this case, where we are referencing a natural lake, the first thing you look for on your map is, where is the deep water in the lake? On a natural lake, those are almost always holes or basins. Every hole or basin, and there are often several of them, has the potential to house it's own population of fish, almost like a lake within a lake, if you will. Once you identify these basins, you then look for the structures, breaks and breaklines adjacent to these areas the fish would most likely use during the different times of the year [weather and water conditions, along with seasonal movements will determine what depth (shallow, deep or somewhere in-between) and where in these areas the fish will be located].

 

You would want to check out ALL the deep basin areas if you had the time, but if you didn't and you had to prioritize, you would start with the deepest one. You're playing the odds in thinking that it most likely offers the best chance at the biggest or most fish, at least until proven otherwise. Now, that doesn't mean the fish will always be in the deep water, or just how deep they will be, or even that they'll be on the bottom in these areas...they could easily be suspended over the deeper water in some cases, or maybe migrated on up to a weedline or even scattered over an adjacent flat. Doesn't matter - you figure all that out when you start methodically fishing the areas, which you should do from the shallows out (another guideline). But what you don't do is just go randomly running around the lake fishing everything that looks good or every spot someone told you to check, and end up coming off the water not knowing much more about the lake than when you first started.

 

With just a few trips/days and a methodical system, you should be able to get many of the answers as to what makes a particular lake "tick."

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1 hour ago, Team9nine said:

Just finally got around to reading this newest addition to the saga last night and wanted to add a couple comments to clarify on the Buck stuff highlighted above.

 

Buck's purpose was to create a set of guidelines to follow that would allow anyone to be able to go to a lake, anywhere in the country, and quickly figure out where it made the most sense to concentrate their efforts so as to be able to put some fish in the boat. In that regard, "the home of the fish is deep water" became the first guideline.

 

What this simply means is that in this case, where we are referencing a natural lake, the first thing you look for on your map is, where is the deep water in the lake? On a natural lake, those are almost always holes or basins. Every hole or basin, and there are often several of them, has the potential to house it's own population of fish, almost like a lake within a lake, if you will. Once you identify these basins, you then look for the structures, breaks and breaklines adjacent to these areas the fish would most likely use during the different times of the year [weather and water conditions, along with seasonal movements will determine what depth (shallow, deep or somewhere in-between) and where in these areas the fish will be located].

 

You would want to check out ALL the deep basin areas if you had the time, but if you didn't and you had to prioritize, you would start with the deepest one. You're playing the odds in thinking that it most likely offers the best chance at the biggest or most fish, at least until proven otherwise. Now, that doesn't mean the fish will always be in the deep water, or just how deep they will be, or even that they'll be on the bottom in these areas...they could easily be suspended over the deeper water in some cases, or maybe migrated on up to a weedline or even scattered over an adjacent flat. Doesn't matter - you figure all that out when you start methodically fishing the areas, which you should do from the shallows out (another guideline). But what you don't do is just go randomly running around the lake fishing everything that looks good or every spot someone told you to check, and end up coming off the water not knowing much more about the lake than when you first started.

 

With just a few trips/days and a methodical system, you should be able to get many of the answers as to what makes a particular lake "tick."

Thank You ~ 

btw - do you really think it's a saga ?

I was leaning a little more towards a yarn. 

:smiley:

A-Jay

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