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Mr. Aquarium

Couple of questions on finding bigger fish

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SORRY FOR THE RAMBLING. It's winter and I'm thinking out loud. 

 

1) finding bigger fish in general 
2) bigger fish at night fishing. 
3) declining smallie population? 

 

I have this lake, with big fish. Great forage, not a lot of pressure, lots of clear, deep water. good offshore structure. Its one of those places you wont go and crush it all the time or everyday. But if you know where to look and how to fish it, you will get good healthy bass. Theres very little shore and shallow cover/ structure. There is some in a few areas.  No pads or surface weeds. The weeds are submerged. Not sure how high the come up.

Most of my bass come off the steep drop offs. like 10-20 feet deep, near the shoreline drops.  I fish a lot of smaller swimbaits   and jigs on bottom, slow. But we cant get anything over over 5lbs in recent years. During the spawn, I've hooked some large fish, they spit the hook on the jump or go into the trees. I'v seen gorillas cursing  deep.  When I first started fishing here a few years ago. We had a great week of just slaying fish, they would push bait fish up on a shallow flat and HAMMER THEM. Full blown blitzing of smallies and largemouth. 4-5lbs of both fish. 
It seems like they school up. Both night and day, when you find one you usually find others. 

We know how to consistently get good quality healthy 3-5lb fish. But not the true giants. They dont seem to like bigger swimbaits its usually small baits. Maybe thats the ticket to getting the bigger fish slow big swimbaits. Not a lot of fish but bigger bass.  Now I dont have a boat YET to get out off shore and dissect it.    I think the bigger bass will stay deep and offshore away from the drop offs, and sit on off shore structure. Even though we have fished the offshore structure with no avail, very little action on what we usually use. 

I've done well night fishing here. They will move up but in a few select areas from what I've found. But I've really only night fished it from shore. once again NO BOAT.  They dont really like topwaters. Only time I've gotten bit on topw was in one area, with trees and rocks close to shore with smaller baits. Other then that its on Texas rig, jigs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits slow on bottom. 

So I'm thinking, the bigger bass will come up shallow to feed at night but aren't aggressive and dont want to waste their energy on snack. They want a slower bigger bait. Also thinking in keying on the key select areas. Maybe theres a reason we didnt get bass on that rocky hump? That could be a monsters home and he doesnt want any visitors.

I also never power baits or reaction baits. Always slow on bottom 

We used to see a lot more smallies here and some large smallies to. but they arent as common anymore. Maybe they aren't handling the pressure as well? Decline in numbers? Rise in largemouth numbers?  It could be the way we fish.  I haven't tossed a drop shot in years!!!  A tube bait works very well but its mostly smaller smallies.  At night its mostly largemouth as well. I've caught the occasional smallie, last big smallie here was a 4lber on a buzz jet at night. 

 

 

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Smallmouth or largemouth?

Region, south shore?

Tom

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My bigger bass have been caught up against the shoreline in the twilight early mornings from shore. Must be very stealthy. QUIET

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Fishing is like gambling. If you throw all of your time and money in it, every so often you’ll win and get a big one. My biggest bass were 100% luck. I know because when I work extremely hard to catch a monster size fish of any kind, I might catch tons of them and a lot of very good size fish, but never monsters. 

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Suggestions:

 

STEALTH

As Big Bill states above, you have to be quiet. Be a ghost. Do not walk along the bank when changing locations. Walk about 50 feet back and then sneak up towards the bank and throw your baits as far back from the bank as possible.

 

THEY CAN SEE YOU IF YOU CAN SEE THEM

If you can see them then they can see you, and you are a big adversary. Wear dark clothes and stay out of their sight when possible.

 

GREAT FORAGE

If they have "great forage" you have to "match the hatch." That is, you have to know what baitfish and crawfish are in the water and use those colors and profiles. With "great forage" the bass would have fed at early dawn, late at dusk, and during the night. So when you show up they have fed and they will not be interested in your presentations.

 

DEEP WATER

Guess where the big ladies are, other than when they come shallow to feed or enjoy some sun? Yes, they are deep. They feel safe and secure in deeper water and with a full belly they will just hover in place or float from structure to structure, be it a rock, grass, stick, drop off, or what ever is on the bottom. They are waiting for dusk to start to feed.

 

TIME TO DIGEST THEIR FOOD

Many, many years ago when B.A.S.S. had their Bass University, the pros would give six individual hour long seminars for two days and it was great to see the pros and hear what they had to say. A pro by the name of Ken Cook told us the following on the bass' speed of metabolism when digesting a minnow. This is one of the hurdles you will have to overcome. Here is what Ken, a biologist by education,  told us. Check him out on Google:

 

Water Temperature      Time to Digest

40* and Less               8 days

50*                             7 days

60*                             2.5 days

70*                             24 hours

80* and Higher            18 hours

 

So if that 8 pound lady fed at dusk before you arrived at the pond you could have up to 8 days or more before she feeds again.

 

https://www.bassmaster.com/news/ken-cook-dead-68

 

VARIABLES

Too many variables to make any type of suggestion on what to throw and how deep. You will have to experiment. We can make all kinds of suggestions, some of which are great while others would not apply to your situation. Without seeing where you live and fish it is almost impossible to give you specific assistance. Think about adding your location and favorite places to fish on your avatar so we will have a better idea of how to help you.

 

Good luck. Experiment. And let us know if you finally catch one of those big ladies who are sitting there, watching and laughing at you. :) 

 

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I can't add much here, I think Sam and the others have nailed it. In John Hope's book, I remember a big fish that could only be approached without the trolling motor (wind) and without sonar turned on.  Any other way would send it out of the tree it was in.  So big fish get big by having that six sense or whatever you call it. His tracking also showed, if I remember right, that they don't  go that deep when not feeding but do suspend out over deep water which effectively is the same I guess. 

 

In my experience, my bigger fish have come on windy days, maybe aiding the stealthiness.

 

 

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Heres a list of places I have caught 6 lb plus bass on a 200 acre lake I frequent .

 

:steep banks

;Flat banks 

Points 

: rip rap

: vegetation 

:Laydowns

: Beaver houses

: man made brush piles

: stumps 

: standing timber

: creeks

: culverts

 

 Pretty much everywhere . As long as I'm fishing in cover and//or structure i have a decent chance of catching one .

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Spawn is around the corner. She'll be shallower at some point.

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1 hour ago, Todd2 said:

I can't add much here, I think Sam and the others have nailed it. In John Hope's book, I remember a big fish that could only be approached without the trolling motor (wind) and without sonar turned on.  Any other way would send it out of the tree it was in.  So big fish get big by having that six sense or whatever you call it. His tracking also showed, if I remember right, that they don't  go that deep when not feeding but do suspend out over deep water which effectively is the same I guess. 

 

In my experience, my bigger fish have come on windy days, maybe aiding the stealthiness.

 

 

Todd, surface water chop is considered a safe place for bass as they feel secure with chop on the surface.

 

There is one pro that puts sponges in his live well to keep the bass calm.

 

Hope's observations parallel those of Uncle Homer Circle and Glen Lau's findings forty years ago.

 

http://fishinghistory.blogspot.com/2010/08/thursday-review-bigmouth-and-bigmouth.html

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On 2/1/2019 at 6:34 AM, Sam said:

Suggestions:

 

STEALTH

As Big Bill states above, you have to be quiet. Be a ghost. Do not walk along the bank when changing locations. Walk about 50 feet back and then sneak up towards the bank and throw your baits as far back from the bank as possible.

 

THEY CAN SEE YOU IF YOU CAN SEE THEM

If you can see them then they can see you, and you are a big adversary. Wear dark clothes and stay out of their sight when possible.

 

GREAT FORAGE

If they have "great forage" you have to "match the hatch." That is, you have to know what baitfish and crawfish are in the water and use those colors and profiles. With "great forage" the bass would have fed at early dawn, late at dusk, and during the night. So when you show up they have fed and they will not be interested in your presentations.

 

DEEP WATER

Guess where the big ladies are, other than when they come shallow to feed or enjoy some sun? Yes, they are deep. They feel safe and secure in deeper water and with a full belly they will just hover in place or float from structure to structure, be it a rock, grass, stick, drop off, or what ever is on the bottom. They are waiting for dusk to start to feed.

 

TIME TO DIGEST THEIR FOOD

Many, many years ago when B.A.S.S. had their Bass University, the pros would give six individual hour long seminars for two days and it was great to see the pros and hear what they had to say. A pro by the name of Ken Cook told us the following on the bass' speed of metabolism when digesting a minnow. This is one of the hurdles you will have to overcome. Here is what Ken, a biologist by education,  told us. Check him out on Google:

 

Water Temperature      Time to Digest

40* and Less               8 days

50*                             7 days

60*                             2.5 days

70*                             24 hours

80* and Higher            18 hours

 

So if that 8 pound lady fed at dusk before you arrived at the pond you could have up to 8 days or more before she feeds again.

 

https://www.bassmaster.com/news/ken-cook-dead-68

 

VARIABLES

Too many variables to make any type of suggestion on what to throw and how deep. You will have to experiment. We can make all kinds of suggestions, some of which are great while others would not apply to your situation. Without seeing where you live and fish it is almost impossible to give you specific assistance. Think about adding your location and favorite places to fish on your avatar so we will have a better idea of how to help you.

 

Good luck. Experiment. And let us know if you finally catch one of those big ladies who are sitting there, watching and laughing at you. :) 

 

Wow thank you for that awesome information! I have never seen that digestion time before. I'm really excited to explore this place with fish finders and a boat. I fished it yesterday on my kayak, this place is so deep, its amazing, very close to shore its 30-40 feet. 

I cant wait to bump and grind big baits on bottom. 

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On 1/31/2019 at 3:32 PM, WRB said:

Smallmouth or largemouth?

Region, south shore?

Tom

largemouth! I live in Massachusetts. So a giant is 8lbs. I have no doubt theres bigger fish in here,  wouldn't be surprised if there was a few pushing 10lbs.

For the smallies, I think I just need to  use more "smallie" baits. Like tubes and  drop shots.

On 2/1/2019 at 6:56 AM, Todd2 said:

I can't add much here, I think Sam and the others have nailed it. In John Hope's book, I remember a big fish that could only be approached without the trolling motor (wind) and without sonar turned on.  Any other way would send it out of the tree it was in.  So big fish get big by having that six sense or whatever you call it. His tracking also showed, if I remember right, that they don't  go that deep when not feeding but do suspend out over deep water which effectively is the same I guess. 

 

In my experience, my bigger fish have come on windy days, maybe aiding the stealthiness.

 

 

Suspending hmmmm. So your saying  they don't go deep and chill on bottom. 

ITS ALLLLLLWAAYYYSS WINDY HERE!!! ALLLLL THE TIME!!!!!!!! 

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The reason I asked was to focus on a specific species because LMB prefer different locations and location is the #1 factor followed by timing then lure selection and presentation.

Your state record LMB is a giant northern LMB at 15 lbs 8 oz., caught in '75.

Understanding basic bass bahavior and how they suspend using their air bladder to neutralize the body weight may help catch more and bigger bass.

The important factors are where the bass are located, what they hunting to eat as a predator, when they are active where you fish will help you tremendously.

Tom   

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I cant figure out how to catch them in this pond. I've caught many fish over 6lbs, biggest is 7.8, in various locations around my area but this place boggles my mind. But I think the number 1 factor is not having a boat and not putting in time. When I get my new john boat, I finally really explore this place and fish it to its full potential. I'm very excited!! 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

I cant figure out how to catch them in this pond. I've caught many fish over 6lbs, biggest is 7.8, in various locations around my area but this place boggles my mind. But I think the number 1 factor is not having a boat and not putting in time. When I get my new john boat, I finally really explore this place and fish it to its full potential. I'm very excited!! 

 

My best advice is to figure out what the seasonal pattern is and follow the females. Once you notice the amount of larger spawning fish declining in numbers, start moving out onto the primary and secondary points to find where they are setting up for post spawn. 


You can still do this from shore by cast and dragging something along the bottom to the break lines and prominent weed edges in deeper water. A portable fish finder would probably help you with this a lot as well. 

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On 1/31/2019 at 8:39 AM, Mr. Aquarium said:

Theres very little shore and shallow cover/ structure. There is some in a few areas.  No pads or surface weeds. The weeds are submerged. Not sure how high the come up

 

This dumb Cajun would be offshore 😉

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3 hours ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

I cant figure out how to catch them in this pond. I've caught many fish over 6lbs, biggest is 7.8, in various locations around my area but this place boggles my mind. But I think the number 1 factor is not having a boat and not putting in time. When I get my new john boat, I finally really explore this place and fish it to its full potential. I'm very excited!! 

Catching 6's and 7.8 lb NLMB in your nick of the woods you don't our help.

Tom

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6 hours ago, Mr. Aquarium said:

I cant figure out how to catch them in this pond. I've caught many fish over 6lbs, biggest is 7.8, in various locations around my area but this place boggles my mind. But I think the number 1 factor is not having a boat and not putting in time. When I get my new john boat, I finally really explore this place and fish it to its full potential. I'm very excited!! 

 

Find where no one else fishes, and fish at that place. IMO pressure is the biggest variable in trying to catch big bass, and any size or species for that matter. It very likely will be very difficult and/or inconvenient to reach such a place, but it most always pays well.

good luck.

 

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Thanks for the great info.  Cant wait to see what this new season brings me! Hopefully an 8 plus

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 5:34 AM, Sam said:

A pro by the name of Ken Cook

I miss that guy. He had a ranch adjacent to the wildlife refuge here and he turned me on to some nice fishing spots. It wasn't his time.

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