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Hook2Jaw

Seasonal help, please.

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According to Kevin VanDam, and many other anglers, I can break down bass fishing by water temperature.  Different presentations become more effective according to the temperature.  We break bass fishing, and the techniques that are most effective, down into four seasons.  Those seasons are Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

 

Spring, of course, can be broken down into three portions.  Those portions are the prespawn, spawn, and post spawn.  According to KVD's system, they occur when the water is 48 degrees, moving upward to 75 degrees before transitioning into the next season.

 

Summer then occurs, with fish oftentimes seeking cooler water.  That cooler water is found on the main lake, deepest point of a pond, and often shade whether it be a laydown or a dock.  The temperature ranges he considers summer are 75 degrees to 90+ degrees.

 

Fall is arriving when the water starts to cool below 75 degrees as a median temperature, but Kevin considers fall to have begun when the body of eater drops 10 degrees below it's hottest point.  The temperatures continue to drop to around 55, and then fall transititions into winter. 

 

Winter, according to KVD, begins when the water temperature is on a downward trend from 48 degrees onward.  It's at this point that fishing it as it's slowest.  Bass are lethargic, unwilling to move very far for a meal.

 

The fourth and final season is my problem.  As a South Georgia bass fisherman, I don't see the water below 48 degrees with any regularity.  I had bass patterned yesterday, and they were in 3' of water with overcast skies and rain.  The water temperature was 51 degrees, and that's after a huge influx of constant rain we've been seeing here.

 

Do I even need to worry about winter patterns in my area?  I'm terribly confused.   Everything I read says to go deep in January, but time and time again I'm finding most of my fish in shallow water.

 

 

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Bass in your area probably do not go very deep if your water temps do not dip below 50, and feel super happy they don’t!  As much as all of can learn from the master, what you learn on the water and letting the fish tell you what they want will always be more important.  

Fish push shallow in muddy water.  A recent Zona Show with Jason Christie saw them fishing in 3 feet or less in 48 degree water.  Bass, for me at least, are much easier to catch when they are shallow so throw your squarebills, spinner/chatterbaits, lipless cranks, black/blue jigs and enjoy!

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Water conditions are relative to the particular body of water. 

 

On my local lake here in VA, “spring” patterns occur when the water is 65-80. “Summer” patterns occur at 80-95. During the heat of the summer, this lake is consistently 88-94 degrees. The “fall” patterns begin when the water drops again below 80. In the winter, the water stays between 45-55 degrees. However, the fish seem to stay in winter mode until the water breaks 60 degrees. 

 

Start documenting the average rage temps on your water throughout the different parts of the season. The fish on your lake might react differently to temps than on one lake than they do on another lake that’s only a few miles down the road. 

 

On one lake, if the water is 90 degrees, I know I’ll find fish in deep water on the shady side of the standing cypress. They will be lazy and sluggish and typicall hit only finess baits. If I drive 3 miles down the road to my other lake and the water is 90 degrees, I’m gonna find fish shallow holding under mats or downed wood as they use it for shade. These fish will likely chase top water and moving baits. These two lakes are only a few miles apart, but the fish behave entirely different in both lakes. 

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So you are catching fish shallow but you want to fish deep because you read that's where they should be?

 

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26 minutes ago, BoatSquirrel said:

Bass in your area probably do not go very deep if your water temps do not dip below 50, and feel super happy they don’t!  As much as all of can learn from the master, what you learn on the water and letting the fish tell you what they want will always be more important. 

Thanks!  That seems to be the trend.  Over and over, I cast deep, but over and over, I'm hooking fish shallow more often than not.

 

17 minutes ago, IgotWood said:

Water conditions are relative to the particular body of water. 

I thought this might be the case.  I'll start logging my findings.  I should have been doing this a long time ago.

 

6 minutes ago, reason said:

So you are catching fish shallow but you want to fish deep because you read that's where they should be?

 

Got the trolling motor on high today, I see.

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3 minutes ago, Hook2Jaw said:

Got the trolling motor on high today, I see.

Nope, got that fancy remote controlled stick in the mud thing down. That is a legitimate question. Listen to the fish over folks, even multi Bass Master Classic winning folk...

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1 hour ago, reason said:

Nope, got that fancy remote controlled stick in the mud thing down. That is a legitimate question. Listen to the fish over folks, even multi Bass Master Classic winning folk...

My bad.  Maybe I've got the stick in the mud thing down and interpret a little bit of picking as a troll attempt.

 

Yeah, I'm listening to the green ones first and the others second, I'm just a bit miffed that all the time I spent reading about winter fishing is mostly for naught.  I want the full experience, durn it.

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Google The Clock and Bass Calendar, seasonal periods defined by water temperature. I'll add the water temperature at the depth bass are in, not surface temps.

Tom

PS, KVD was 7 years old when I wrote this!

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3 hours ago, Hook2Jaw said:

According to Kevin VanDam, and many other anglers, I can break down bass fishing by water temperature.  Different presentations become more effective according to the temperature.  We break bass fishing, and the techniques that are most effective, down into four seasons.  Those seasons are Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

 

Spring, of course, can be broken down into three portions.  Those portions are the prespawn, spawn, and post spawn.  According to KVD's system, they occur when the water is 48 degrees, moving upward to 75 degrees before transitioning into the next season.

 

Summer then occurs, with fish oftentimes seeking cooler water.  That cooler water is found on the main lake, deepest point of a pond, and often shade whether it be a laydown or a dock.  The temperature ranges he considers summer are 75 degrees to 90+ degrees.

 

Fall is arriving when the water starts to cool below 75 degrees as a median temperature, but Kevin considers fall to have begun when the body of eater drops 10 degrees below it's hottest point.  The temperatures continue to drop to around 55, and then fall transititions into winter. 

 

Winter, according to KVD, begins when the water temperature is on a downward trend from 48 degrees onward.  It's at this point that fishing it as it's slowest.  Bass are lethargic, unwilling to move very far for a meal.

 

The fourth and final season is my problem.  As a South Georgia bass fisherman, I don't see the water below 48 degrees with any regularity.  I had bass patterned yesterday, and they were in 3' of water with overcast skies and rain.  The water temperature was 51 degrees, and that's after a huge influx of constant rain we've been seeing here.

 

Do I even need to worry about winter patterns in my area?  I'm terribly confused.   Everything I read says to go deep in January, but time and time again I'm finding most of my fish in shallow water.

 

 

 

I don't get it -- why are you confused?  Considering water temperature, it seems your experience basically fits KVD's story -- you're above 48, and they're shallow.   Bass don't know what month it is, only what their conditions are.

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I caught my PB in the month of december in 2 foot of water. I just caught a 5 pounder in a foot of water. Caught 3 6 pounders the last 3 decembers, all in 3 feet or less of water. My theory is that the shallow water warms up faster in the winter. Also, Some of these fish were either bedding or right before it, since our decembers have been mostly warm lately. Your water temps wont be much colder than mine.

The main thing I do differently in the winter is just slow down my presentation as much as I can. I personally dont catch much in deep water in the winter. Of course, where I fish there isnt much deep water !!

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51 degrees isn't winter/coldwater period water temps. Bass will still eat topwater in 51 degree water. No reason for you to go deep at that point.

 

The fish are talking, you just aren't listening!

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14 hours ago, Hook2Jaw said:

The fourth and final season is my problem.  As a South Georgia bass fisherman, I don't see the water below 48 degrees with any regularity.

 

Do I even need to worry about winter patterns in my area?  I'm terribly confused.   Everything I read says to go deep in January, but time and time again I'm finding most of my fish in shallow water.

 

 

What I have found here in the SC Lowcountry is that temperature is relative when it comes to bass patterns. In other words, for a bass up north a 38 degree water temperature is cold while in my part of the south a 58 degree water temperature is cold.

 

My water temps are in the 50's now and neither bass nor bait fish are in the shallows along the shoreline and it's that way around here every single year.

 

If I take a bass from my area and put it in a NY state lake in the winter I'm not sure it would survive. Likewise, a NY bass might not survive the steamy waters we have in the summer.

 

I'm a believe that bass and their patterns are relative to their local climate.

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well as somebody whos water is frozen now and we have snow in the forecast for 5 of the next ten days count yourself lucky not to have to worry about the cold water period. keep it in the back of your mind but don't think about it if you don't have to.like others have said cold water is relative and bass behave slightly different in each area.

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Pro anglers have a lot of good info but sometimes its just magazine filler . I remember Rick Clunn breaking down a lake  on  where to fish season to season  . I tried and tried his advice to no avail .  

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14 hours ago, MIbassyaker said:

 

I don't get it -- why are you confused?

Because for as much time as I've spent learning from the fish, I had to spend some time learning from people.  It's the first time I've thrown everything everyone says away.

 

Thanks, though, good point.  From the looks of the water temperature trends, I can eliminate the idea of winter almost altogether and consider the Fall heavily extended on into the pre-spawn.

10 hours ago, Bluebasser86 said:

The fish are talking, you just aren't listening!

I am listening, I stayed on the fish!  😛

3 hours ago, Koz said:

My water temps are in the 50's now and neither bass nor bait fish are in the shallows along the shoreline and it's that way around here every single year.

See, this is strange.  You're experiencing no fish in shallow water whereas I'm catching them in 3' this past Sunday in 51 degree water.

 

2 hours ago, padon said:

well as somebody whos water is frozen now and we have snow in the forecast for 5 of the next ten days count yourself lucky not to have to worry about the cold water period.

Haha, I do count myself lucky!  Sorry you're frozen in and I will keep the information gathered in the back of my head and stop adhering to it like the bible.

2 hours ago, scaleface said:

Pro anglers have a lot of good info but sometimes its just magazine filler . I remember Rick Clunn breaking down a lake  on  where to fish season to season  . I tried and tried his advice to no avail .  

Seems like you and I just had similar experiences.

14 hours ago, WRB said:

Google The Clock and Bass Calendar, seasonal periods defined by water temperature. I'll add the water temperature at the depth bass are in, not surface temps.

Tom

PS, KVD was 7 years old when I wrote this!

I'm looking forward to when you add the water temperature, please let us all know!  I don't follow the moon in the slightest and while I've looked at your cosmic clock multiple times, I haven't put in the time to decipher it.  Perhaps you could put in a simple guide to using it when you do update?

 

 

 

As for me, I suppose I'm just going to ease back into fishing like I did this fall but just slow it down a tad when it comes to my power fishing techniques to locate before I switch to finesse to buy a few more bites.  Thanks guys!

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Deep posted the cosmic clock and bass cakendar on the BR site, it should come up when searched. Under each seasonal period listed the water temperature are shown and there is a instruction page.

Tom

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On 1/15/2019 at 7:49 AM, Hook2Jaw said:

😛

See, this is strange.  You're experiencing no fish in shallow water whereas I'm catching them in 3' this past Sunday in 51 degree water.

 

Are you fishing in larger bodies of water?

 

I fish in lagoons, some pretty big and some small and the maximum depth in most of these is around 8-10 feet. The bass seem to be sitting on the bottom in small hollows and I have not come across a school of bass this winter.

 

This weekend I'm going to bring along my iBobber to use for fish location. 

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The bass just didn't end up in 3 feet of water.

They were there because something they were eating was in and around that depth.

If you can figure out what they are eating/targeting in the shallow water, it might help to add to your success.

 

The baitfish in my lake seem to move to deeper water more based on the calendar than actual water temperature fromon my observations. We had a couple pretty warm Decembers and even though I could catch fish shallow, the majority of the fish were being caught deeper as the baitfish had moved to deeper drop offs along the main channel.

 

This year my home lake is above its normal winter pool by about 5 feet on average.

It is also a little warmer than normal.

However, the large schools of fish(both bait fish and predators) are at the same locations they have been in previous years at the same time of year. The higher water or the slightly warmer temps have not seemed to affect them.

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Temperature is important, in fact, biologists have dubbed it, "The Master Factor" bc it's so fundamental to metabolic functioning in fish. It's important enough that it's a good starting point for understanding fish activity patterns -esp on a seasonal basis. After all, the seasons are directly defined by the sunlight any given chunk of the Earth receives. But, fish live their lives at all levels of "timing" and things get more complicated as timing gets tighter. There's just a whole lot more going on, ecologically, out there. Fish are not robots. Robots tend to get selected out.

 

There are a number of reasons why bass use deep vs shallow water. While temperature can be a major consideration, and effector in any given area, there are other ecological factors that can preempt temperature:

  • Water clarity is usually a tip-off to bass depth use in most water bodies. Bass in low clarity waters tend to remain shallow, due to visibility for hunting and social reasons. And, low clarity is often associated with oxygen depletion issues, esp in deeper water. The reasons here are several:

        -Light penetration is insufficient to support oxygen producing plant growth.

        -Low clarity is often a sign high nutrient loads (turbidity -influxes of soil) and/or heavy planktonic          algae growth. Sink this stuff into the depths and the only thing down there to process (eat) these nutrients are bacteria, which will use up available O2. This is not uncommon at all in many waters, although environmental regulations have made big dents in this. 

  • Water level changes move fish. Rising water tends to move fish shallower, and dropping water tends to move them away from shallows, often in surprisingly cold water.
  • Food can trump temperature, esp if there is a lot of it where temperatures are not ideal, even lethal (if they stay in it for long). In waters with less prey, temperature may get the nod bc the pay-off is not there.
  • Cover can trump temperature. It's been seen that if bass have a choice between perfect temperature and cover, they may -often will- choose the latter.
  • Competition with other species may move them into "lesser" locations.
  • Bass don't always know where the "best" food sources are. If they find something "adequate" they may stay put. And this may not be the "best" spot in the lake.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Paul Roberts said:

Fish are not robots. Robots tend to get selected out.

Actually fish are robots, robots that have been programmed somewhat differently by evolution as a survival mechanism.

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IMO, a lot of the articles, videos, seminars, advice, etc are geared toward 'idealistic' bass waters since it would take way too much time to go into the specific details for all the types of bass waters out there.  

 

Need to take that stuff with a grain of salt and realize that while the core info is probably accurate, it's also sort of a generalization and might not be directly applicable to your waters.  

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On 1/15/2019 at 5:47 PM, reason said:

Actually fish are robots, robots that have been programmed somewhat differently by evolution as a survival mechanism.

Agreed. And... that pretty much describes every critter on the planet. Granted, some much more than others. The breadth of the scale is mighty wide.

 

But many fish -bass included, maybe especially so- are turning out to be much more complex, in terms of perception, memory, learning, decision-making, sociality -cognition in general- than has ever been imagined.

 

No, they aren't terribly good at being human. But then, there's only one critter on the planet that is.

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@BassNJake, my fish could have been shallow because they're probably eating mullet.

 

@Paul Roberts, that's actually some fire information!  Thanks. 

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I'm jealous. I'm lucky to have open water all winter. I was open water fishing last week 2 bass, some panfish and a fat pickerel. Now this week and  next week are cold and I can ice fish. I WOULD LOOOOOVVEEEEE FOR 50 DEGREE WATER IN WINTER!!!!!  but  its mid January, so its ALMOST over.  From recent winters, we can expect the thaw to happen by  mid late February

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