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mheichelbech

Most common reason for not catching bass?

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What do you all think is the most common reason (or combination of reasons) for a fisherman of reasonably good ability not catching fish on larger lakes...especially lakes in which you cannot reasonably fish all potentially good areas in a day of fishing.

 

Is it:

 

- not fishing in areas where there are a lot of fish?

- fish are in the area but not using the right lures or the right technique e.g., jig be crankbait or soinnerbait vs crankbait or wrong colors?

- not fishing lures correctly I.e,, reeling to fast, too slow or not at the right depth?

- fish just not biting good that day?

 

Any other common reasons?  I’m curious because when I’m sitting on the couch watching MLF or the Bass Pros, I’d think there are fish everywhere and I could catch if I just use the right technique like they do.  However, when I get to a big lake, and I’m not catching them it feels like there isn’t a fish around for miles and I’m in the wrong spots.

I had my eyes open several years ago when a buddy took me fishing in the winter and we were catching 5-7 pound bass in 43 degree water temps (20s outside) in 3-5 foot of water.  We used rattle traps and jigs on brush piles.  I also learned that technique and feel with a jig is critical as he kicked my butt with it.  Had I been fishing by myself I would’ve said I couldn’t find the fish or they weren’t biting.  The same thing happened with another guy on jerk baits one time.

 

Besides technique, I got the notion that the fish are there and I’m just not doing it right for that day when I’m not catching them.  I just am not sure how often it is technique vs no fish being around.

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Definitely fishing in the wrong spot.

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Could be some of all of the things you mentioned. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference. This last year we fished large areas of submerged weeds in 4-8 ft. of water. When it was overcast we nailed them. as soon as the sun came out they shut right off. First time it happened I thought it was a fluke, but it was like that all summer. If I hadn't started fishing those areas on a overcast day I never would have thought there was fish there.

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   I think it's the wrong lure or the wrong speed. Here's why: On the very, very precious few days I fished clearer water in the Mississippi, I saw bass follow and bump, or follow and turn away from a lure at the last split second. This was with spinners, spoons or crankbaits.  So 1) They were there. 2) They could sense the lure. 3) They were interested. Interested enough to seek the lure out from a distance. 4) They found the lure attractive enough to follow. BUT ..... at extreme close quarters, they saw something they didn't like. Probably a case of wrong lure. The reason I say that it might also be wrong speed is that cranks and spinnerbaits can get fish by speeding up the retrieve ..... sometimes. And that works for buzzbaits, too. If they short strike, speed up the lure. Then the fish have less time to decide, and they commit.      jj

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Could be any of the following ~

 

Wrong Place (or Depth)

Wrong Time

Wrong Technique

 

Individually or perhaps a combination of one, two or even all three.

We call that 'The Trifecta'.

 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

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D-all of the above.

 

I know there's been times when ive been in a hurry and fished too fast. Also I know I've tried to force feed them a jig or big worm when I should've been dropshotting. Ive also fished shallow when I shouldve been deep and vice versa. 

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11 minutes ago, jimmyjoe said:

   I think it's the wrong lure or the wrong speed. Here's why: On the very, very precious few days I fished clearer water in the Mississippi, I saw bass follow and bump, or follow and turn away from a lure at the last split second. This was with spinners, spoons or crankbaits.  So 1) They were there. 2) They could sense the lure. 3) They were interested. Interested enough to seek the lure out from a distance. 4) They found the lure attractive enough to follow. BUT ..... at extreme close quarters, they saw something they didn't like. Probably a case of wrong lure. The reason I say that it might also be wrong speed is that cranks and spinnerbaits can get fish by speeding up the retrieve ..... sometimes. And that works for buzzbaits, too. If they short strike, speed up the lure. Then the fish have less time to decide, and they commit.      jj

I have had many instances where I switched from a spinner bait to a shallow running crankbait and vastly improved my catch rate.  

I have also had instances where I caught them only on very specific patterns but it didn’t seem to matter what lure I used (within reason) as long as I fished the pattern, for example, rip rap, grassy points,  brush piles or beaver damns, and so on.

I guess to me it’s a lot like deer hunting, sometimes it’s one thing, sometimes it’s many things and sometimes you just can’t tell.

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I agree with all of the above but don’t overlook that you may be fishing “history”. We often try what worked in the past but sometimes changing location/lure/speed will do the trick.

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12 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Could be any of the following ~

 

Wrong Place (or Depth)

Wrong Time

Wrong Technique

 

Individually or perhaps a combination of one, two or even all three.

We call that 'The Trifecta'.

 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

The right answer, and it comes from one of the best. Listen to this. 

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50 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

Could be any of the following ~

 

Wrong Place (or Depth)

Wrong Time

Wrong Technique

 

Individually or perhaps a combination of one, two or even all three.

We call that 'The Trifecta'.

 

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

Add to those, poor boat positioning 😉

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Right now? Six inches of ice on my favorite lakes.

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30 minutes ago, GrumpyOlPhartte said:

Right now? Six inches of ice on my favorite lakes.

And the rivers being open is meaningless when they're extremely flooded. Feels. 

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The bass might be in an inactive state. Consider that you've just had a great meal with generous portions and someone presents a plate of world class lasagna in front of you. Even though it's your favorite dish, odds are you're gonna pass on the lasagna (unless you're a bluefish).....

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It could be a combination of anything listed above.  Wind is a big problem for me.  I've spent days where I've fought the wind more than I fished.

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All of the above. 

That's why it's called fishin. 

 

 

 

 

Mike

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Eyes were opened when I first got a graph. That help answer at least the ‘are we alone’ question. 

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1 hour ago, Mike L said:

All of the above. 

That's why it's called fishin. 

 

 

 

 

Mike

this is it...…..and everything else mentioned...………...

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More often than not, the reason for not catching fish is not being in the right location. If you can locate the fish, generally you can catch at least one or two, even if you aren't throwing exactly what they want. 

 

More often than not in my area, the issue isn't locating the fish, it's actually getting them to bite because they're so pressured. 1-3k acre lakes with 3-5 tournaments a week on them. There's only so many places for them to hide and they see everything under the sun, every day of the week.

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Clearly all of reasons mentioned contribute to not catching fish.   The OP ask what is the most common reason for someone with reasonably good ability not catching fish. 

 

I think the most common reason is not fishing in the right location.  Looking at my logs,  my success rate is much higher in areas I know very well.  I don't think it's because I know what lures to use in these locations.  It's because I know lots of spots at different depths that have produced in the past.   I would add that the difference between a good location and a bad one might just be a few feet.

 

I will disagree with one reason listed.   Some days are clearly better than others but "fish just not biting good that day" is rarely the reason we don't catch fish.    Look at the results of any tournament,  someone always has a good day and someone always has a bad day.  You can't blame the day. 😝

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24 minutes ago, Tennessee Boy said:

Clearly all of reasons mentioned contribute to not catching fish.   The OP ask what is the most common reason for someone with reasonably good ability not catching fish. 

 

I think the most common reason is not fishing in the right location.  Looking at my logs,  my success rate is much higher in areas I know very well.  I don't think it's because I know what lures to use in these locations.  It's because I know lots of spots at different depths that have produced in the past.   I would add that the difference between a good location and a bad one might just be a few feet.

 

I will disagree with one reason listed.   Some days are clearly better than others but "fish just not biting good that day" is rarely the reason we don't catch fish.    Look at the results of any tournament,  someone always has a good day and someone always has a bad day.  You can't blame the day. 😝

I will take friendly exception to your last paragraph. 

 

I’m in Florida and cold fronts can really have an impact. Sure a pro might scratch some out but probably not us guys on this site.

 

I vividly remember a club tournament from the early 70’s when I had just started fishing tournaments. It was a 2 day affair. Now remember, we are just working stiffs, having a good time but still fishing hard.

 

On Saturday 18 of 22 boats had at least one 8 pounder. One fellow caught 3 over 9. If you didn’t have at least 20 pounds you were embarrassed to go to the scales.

 

Saturday night a cold front came thru.

 

Sunday, a total of ONE 12 inch bass was caught !

 

Convinced me in no uncertain terms that some days they just ain’t bitting.

 

These cold front impacts may be limited to Florida, but that’s my world.

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There are way too many variables that could cause you not to  get a bite so you have to go back to the proximate cause theory.

 

The proximate cause is the root problem that started a chain reaction that led to the problem.  For instance, your house burns down and you say it was caused by a fire. Right, but what was the root cause of the fire? Bad electrical wiring; toaster shorting out; cigarette; candles allowed to stay lit in the bedroom; a combination of a number of things going wrong at the same time? What actually started the chain of events to the final outcome?

 

In bass fishing, the proximate cause can be anything. From water clarity; water temperature; wind; sun; rocks; structure; chop on the water; depth; time of year; type of bottom; time of season; time of day; weather; cold fronts; spawn; baits, colors, techniques, line test; line type; hooks; noise; vibrations; chemicals in the water; lack of sufficient oxygen in specific areas; baitfish to eat; crawfish to eat; minnows to eat; and the list goes on and on as penned above in previous posts.

 

So how do you find the proximate cause?

 

By keeping a log about your day fishing you can start to build a case for the proximate cause of getting or not getting a bite. Check out the Free Fishing Logs in Tools at the top of this page and start keeping a log for every time you fish. After 25 to 30 completed logs you will start to see the pattern for your body of water under specific conditions. Additional logs will continue to give you information to find the proximate cause of why the fish bite your baits and under what conditions and techniques.

 

Have fun and let us know what you find out.

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10 hours ago, Glaucus said:

And the rivers being open is meaningless when they're extremely flooded. Feels. 

Yep. I'm in Alabama so the pond I usually fish is flooded.

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No one has stated the obvious answer to the original question. What is the main reason for not catching bass? Not holding your mouth right. Duh. 

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Assuming that you are fishing under at least near ideal fishing conditions I would say that the most common reason for not catching bass is not casting in the right spot. That could mean your lure isn't at the correct depth or maybe you cast 10 feet to the right of where you should have cast.

 

Following a close second would be choosing the right lure for that moment you are fishing in that location.

 

The other reasons have their validity for any given moment, but if you're talking about getting shut out for a length of time on the water on a particular day I'm sticking to my answer.

 

The reason for that is simple - I've watched MLF and I see some of the best anglers in the world get shut out for a period or two while other guys are catching 40 pounds of bass. These guys carry 50x the tackle I do along with a dozen rods that allow them the optimum presentation for any bait and yet they still come up blank.

 

 

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15 hours ago, mheichelbech said:

What do you all think is the most common reason (or combination of reasons) for a fisherman of reasonably good ability not catching fish on larger lakes

Missing breakfast 

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