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Are There Times When Fish Just Don't Bite?


KSanford33

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Are there any times when it would not be possible to get a bite on a body of water? Or is it just a matter of getting the right lure in front of the right fish?

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We all think so. But have you ever heard of a major tournament where no one caught a fish? I know people cheat at the lower levels. But they don't when there's a camera and/or an official in the boat.

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1 hour ago, KSanford33 said:

Are there any times when it would not be possible to get a bite on a body of water? Or is it just a matter of getting the right lure in front of the right fish?

Yes there is, every time I'm out. 

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Come fish one of our tidal waters like the Potomac or the Rappahonock and you will get your answer pretty quickly.  Both these rivers are tidal and although you may not get skunked the entire day, I have never seen fish shut off like they do when the tide is wrong.  Since the tide changes, you can either run up or down river to take advantage of the tide or you can wait it out for the natural tide change. 

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In every tournament I have ever fished, someone always finds fish.  I can't remember a time when this wasn't so.  That said, I have seen anglers win tournaments with a few small fish when everyone else caught nothing.  Here in Florida, cold fronts are the worst.  Before the front moves in, bass bite like there's no tomorrow.  It's during the calm high sky weather after the front that things get tough.  Normally, getting skunked is a matter of location, not a lack of fish activity.   Water and temperature fluctuations can cause fish to move where you can't reach them.  When this happens you feel like the lake has been poisoned.

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Our first trip to Pickwick was a couple of weeks ago. TVA had seven flood gates open.

I caught a nice green fish right off the bat and my partner caught a brown fish.  We 

fished from 8:00 until about 4:00. Those first fish were our only bites all day!

 

The only variable of note was shutting down four gates. Reduced the flow and completely

shut down the bite.

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Anything's possible.  But the odds of catching a fish on any given day will probably never be zero during your lifetime.  

 

That being said, there are definitely days where the strike zone shrinks so much, that it's not statistically likely that you will catch a fish.  

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I fish both fresh and salt and follow all of the local Facebook groups for the areas I fish as well as dockside chats and I am always amazed at the different results reported.

 

I truly believe you can always find a bite, sometimes it’s quicker than others and sometimes the day runs out before you find it. 

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2 hours ago, KSanford33 said:

Are there any times when it would not be possible to get a bite on a body of water? Or is it just a matter of getting the right lure in front of the right fish?

It's not an either or thing. There certainly are times when fish seem to be suicidal, and others where they seem mostly disinterested, but there are many factors that determine that, and they are usually some place in between those extremes.

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54 minutes ago, Captain Phil said:

In every tournament I have ever fished, someone always finds fish.  I can't remember a time when this wasn't so.  That said, I have seen anglers win tournaments with a few small fish when everyone else caught nothing.  Here in Florida, cold fronts are the worst.  Before the front moves in, bass bite like there's no tomorrow.  It's during the calm high sky weather after the front that things get tough.  Normally, getting skunked is a matter of location, not a lack of fish activity.   Water and temperature fluctuations can cause fish to move where you can't reach them.  When this happens you feel like the lake has been poisoned.

This is what interests me. Is it just a matter of luck in that case or are the anglers who catch something doing something the others aren't?

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1 hour ago, TOXIC said:

Come fish one of our tidal waters like the Potomac or the Rappahonock and you will get your answer pretty quickly.  Both these rivers are tidal and although you may not get skunked the entire day, I have never seen fish shut off like they do when the tide is wrong.  Since the tide changes, you can either run up or down river to take advantage of the tide or you can wait it out for the natural tide change. 

I’ve fished the tidal portion of the susky. The tide has a crazy effect on fish.

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I always take the blame when I don’t catch anything.   I never blame the fish.  My tournament experience has taught me that someone always catches fish.  There may be extremely rare exceptions to that rule but they’re too rare to matter.

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In my experience, bass bite in cycles, day or night, so it's just a matter of catching the cycle to start catching the fish. If nothing is happening, start moving around and eventually things will heat up regardless of most anything. The other day after a cold front blue bird sky I did actually that and eventfully caught an 8.5lb bass. She was hanging out between two clumps of sawgrass, ambushing smaller minnows. Moving around and casting and keeping that momentum has always produced for me.  

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16 hours ago, KSanford33 said:

This is what interests me. Is it just a matter of luck in that case or are the anglers who catch something doing something the others aren't?

 

What it comes down to is experience.  It takes many years of fishing to learn how to catch fish when other's don't.  Tournament fishing is very competitive.  No competitor will tell you "exactly" how they beat you.  When you are standing in line at a weigh-in next to someone with 32 pounds of bass and you have two small fish, you probably think that person got lucky.  That is until they do it over and over again.  Unless you fish competitively, you will never know how you stack up. I'm not talking about turning Pro.  Club and local tournaments will teach you all you need to know.  Your average weekend bass fisherman rarely discovers anything they haven't known before.

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1 hour ago, KSanford33 said:

This is what interests me. Is it just a matter of luck in that case or are the anglers who catch something doing something the others aren't?

Could be either, now if the same guys keep lucking into them, then it's both...

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Let me give you some small examples of what I am taking about.  The first tournament I ever fished was in South Florida.  It was in the dead of summer and very hot.  I rode around the lake all day jumping from spot to spot.  I kept passing a boat anchored near a pumping station.  He could have been cat fishing for all I knew.   Fishing was tough and I felt good to boat three keepers.  When I went to the weigh-in, that guy had 28 pounds of bass and he wasn't going to tell me how he did it.  What he was doing was fishing running water.  At that time I would have never thought of doing that.  If I had not seen what he did, I would not have learned that lesson.  Another time I followed Charlie Orm (Top Water Charlie) and watched him with binoculars.  He didn't know I was watching him.  Some people may think that was unsportsmanlike.  It may have been, but he wasn't going to post a YouTube video on how he won all those tournaments.   If you want to be a better bass fisherman, learn from one who is.  You can only learn so much about bass fishing while sitting in front of your computer.

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2 minutes ago, Captain Phil said:

Another time I followed Charlie Orm and watched him with binoculars.  He didn't know I was watching him.  Some people may think that was unsportsmanlike.  It may have been, but he wasn't going to post a YouTube video on how he catches bass.  If you want to be a better bass fisherman, learn from one who is. 

 

Excellent advice!

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When I get skunked I think to myself...... ain't no way another fisherman could have caught a fish today.

A very fitting song by The late John Denver 

" Some days are diamonds, some days are stone".

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3 hours ago, Craig P said:

I fish both fresh and salt and follow all of the local Facebook groups for the areas I fish as well as dockside chats and I am always amazed at the different results reported.

 

I truly believe you can always find a bite, sometimes it’s quicker than others and sometimes the day runs out before you find it. 

I went out yesterday and the conditions were less than favorable. I did manage a bite from a bass, which I totally missed and three crappie. I have my mini umbrella system started on my kayak.

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