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Amazing sight


Koz

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Long story short, I'm living at my hotel for a little while so I've been fishing off of our docks at night. I had been renting a cottage on a farm, but the owners sold it quickly and moved to Colorado. There are very few rentals out this way and the market is tight on homes for sale with interest rates climbing. It looks like I'll have to move 50-60 miles from work to find something affordable that meets my needs. It really stinks that houses are so overvalued and interest rates are high. It will cost me $1k more a MONTH for the same loan amount I should have taken 2 years ago - and I get less house for it. I think I'll rent and wait this one out. The housing bubble should burst in the next few years.

 

Anyway, my kayak and trailer are put away in storage right now so I've been fishing off of our docks in the evenings. The fishing has been decent for our stretch of Oconee so I've been happy with that.

 

Tonight I headed out around sunset and our entire creek channel was filled with thousands upon thousands of minnows. There were bait balls on the surface everywhere, but if you casted between them the baitfish would still pop and scatter. I watched wads of them swim right along the front of our docks. If I had a bait net I could have scooped up hundreds.

 

So of course, I'm thinking that it's going to be a good evening of fishing. I was wrong. There was not a predator to be found. Normally you'll see the baitfish pop and scatter when being chased of see catfish or bass feasting on them. But tonight, nothing. I don't have a lot of gear since most of it is in storage, but I tossed some spinnerbaits, Keitechs on an underspin, small buzzbaits, poppers, and some trick worms and Senkos and nothing. But I did a great job of scattering the bait.

 

I've seen bait balls and a lot of baitfish before, but this was as far as they eye could see throughout the entire creek channel. There was no wind tonight and almost no boat traffic in our area, so the water was calm. While I didn't catch anything, it was an amazing sight.

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In August, some nights I'd be out there in a thunderstorm, and every time the thunder erupted, you could see what looked like millions of threadfins ripple the surface with the corresponding thunder, one of the coolest things I've witnessed.  

 

To me fishing at night is so foreign from day fishing that it's hard to compare the two.   It's downright magical at night.      

 

Nothing like watching hundreds of Green Tunas launch themselves in the air after bait during the day, that season is coming soon.   August night fishing VS. winter day fishing........hard to pick a favorite.  

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I envy both of you. I just don't see bait in Maine. Maine bass are fat, so there's plenty of bait, but I see nothing. I have seen smallmouth rocketing out of the water to eat dragonflies, but that's it. 

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12 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

I envy both of you. I just don't see bait in Maine. Maine bass are fat, so there's plenty of bait, but I see nothing. I have seen smallmouth rocketing out of the water to eat dragonflies, but that's it. 

That's odd that you don't see any bait, but agreed that your Bass aren't skipping any meals ?

 

To me the mysteries I want to unlock the most in LGM Bass are the stomach contents, and my theory that certain Bass know and prefer certain prey items over others.  I think there are Threadfin eaters, Gizzard eaters, Bluegill/Crappie eaters, and finally opportunistic eaters in my home lake.    I think they all start on the Threadfins, but I think once many of them reach the 17.5" size range, they switch over to either Gizzards or Sunfish.   

 

The fact that so many sampled Bass have empty stomachs is another perplexing thing I'd like to understand, especially considering you'll catch them when they are puking up bait they are gorging themselves so heavily.   


 

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2 minutes ago, AlabamaSpothunter said:

To me the mysteries I want to unlock the most in LGM Bass are the stomach contents, and my theory that certain Bass know and prefer certain prey items over others.  I think there are Threadfin eaters, Gizzard eaters, Bluegill/Crappie eaters, and finally opportunistic eaters in my home lake.    I think they all start on the Threadfins, but I think once many of them reach the 17.5" size range, they switch over to either Gizzards or Sunfish.   

 

You'd make a great scientist, Alex. 

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Pretty cool, thanks for sharing. I see baitfish schools on the surface at my local lake, but I am not sure what they are. Is there any way to determine what they are other than catch some of them?

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16 hours ago, AlabamaSpothunter said:

In August, some nights I'd be out there in a thunderstorm, and every time the thunder erupted, you could see what looked like millions of threadfins ripple the surface with the corresponding thunder, one of the coolest things I've witnessed.  

 

To me fishing at night is so foreign from day fishing that it's hard to compare the two.   It's downright magical at night.      

 

Nothing like watching hundreds of Green Tunas launch themselves in the air after bait during the day, that season is coming soon.   August night fishing VS. winter day fishing........hard to pick a favorite.  

Alex, what are you doing on the water during a thunderstorm? I may have to report you to Gimruis. That is a violation. Now I'm going to be stressing every thunderstorm at night wondering if you are safe!

14 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

 

You'd make a great scientist, Alex. 

Just not a safe one! ?

This topic makes me want to jump in......splash!

 

     Yesterday, on a local mid-state reservoir with water clarity of only 12" due to heavy phytoplankton, there were skads and gobs and zillions of schools of Shad all around and I noticed one thing of super-importance. Those of us that use trolling motors need to be aware they are not stealthy at all. The Shad could not see me but they heard/felt me coming from a distance. My livescope would clearly show the huge schools in the top of the water column dash for safety as I approached. The movement would begin as far as 10-15' ft out. What this means for me, and possibly others, is we are not sneaking up on fish when we troll. The few fish that I did catch close to the boat were aware of the trolling motor disturbance but ate my offering anyway! I'll certainly try to use the motor less when I imagine I'm sneaking up on them!

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15 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

I envy both of you. I just don't see bait in Maine. Maine bass are fat, so there's plenty of bait, but I see nothing. I have seen smallmouth rocketing out of the water to eat dragonflies, but that's it. 

Katie, calling Maine bass fat is like calling Usain Bolt fast, Rodney Dangerfield funny, or The Marine Corps tough! Maine Bass are obese not merely fat!

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16 hours ago, Koz said:

Tonight I headed out around sunset and our entire creek channel was filled with thousands upon thousands of minnows. [...] So of course, I'm thinking that it's going to be a good evening of fishing. I was wrong.

 

1 hour ago, TnRiver46 said:

Sounds like every night around here, you can walk across shad . And I never catch anything haha 

 

For whatever it's worth, I can't think of a single time I've had a good catching day when I see the bait that active.

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56 minutes ago, Blue Raider Bob said:

Alex, what are you doing on the water during a thunderstorm? I may have to report you to Gimruis. That is a violation. Now I'm going to be stressing every thunderstorm at night wondering if you are safe!

Just not a safe one! ?

This topic makes me want to jump in......splash!

 

     Yesterday, on a local mid-state reservoir with water clarity of only 12" due to heavy phytoplankton, there were skads and gobs and zillions of schools of Shad all around and I noticed one thing of super-importance. Those of us that use trolling motors need to be aware they are not stealthy at all. The Shad could not see me but they heard/felt me coming from a distance. My livescope would clearly show the huge schools in the top of the water column dash for safety as I approached. The movement would begin as far as 10-15' ft out. What this means for me, and possibly others, is we are not sneaking up on fish when we troll. The few fish that I did catch close to the boat were aware of the trolling motor disturbance but ate my offering anyway! I'll certainly try to use the motor less when I imagine I'm sneaking up on them!

Haha, wasn't trying to do it but you know how the storms work down here.   That night it wasn't even raining where I was at, but in the back drop you could see the storm rolling across.    

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only 2 lures have worked for me when the shad are doing that and its a Spook or spinnerbait around the size of the baitfish. cast past a more active bait ball and twitch it into the bait ball usually gets a strike or 2 (got my first double catch this way). Spinner I slow roll to around where I think the bottom of the bait ball would be, again casting past the targeted ball and pulling it through at the target depth. 

 

Very tough condition though when that happens. 

 

I'm also with @AlabamaSpothunter and finding out what they eat. One of the best things as a kid when we used to eat bass was cutting open the stomachs to find out what they had been eating. When I lived north the majority of the time you would find a crawfish or 2 shoved in there and occasionally a shad. Only ever seen bluegill in pickerel. 

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I saw a lot of bass chasing shad last night and I cast at many of them, dropping surface lures a yard or so beyond the swirls, and I didn't catch a single one. I also didn't get a single bite. I had the same thing happen in the spring. In northwestern Ontario, if a smallie feeds on the surface and you land a lure near that dapple, it's fish on.

 

On 9/22/2023 at 2:15 PM, AlabamaSpothunter said:

Those of us that use trolling motors need to be aware they are not stealthy at all.

 

Agreed. Any prop thumps/swishes/swirls the water. Even when I paddle, I try to slip my paddle into the water like an Olympic diver slipping into the water at the conclusion of a dive. Bob, may I quote you for an article?

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Well, doesn't your 'ultimate' employer have their hands in every little aspect of people's lives? Kinda fits.

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8 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

I saw a lot of bass chasing shad last night and I cast at many of them, dropping surface lures a yard or so beyond the swirls, and I didn't catch a single one. I also didn't get a single bite. I had the same thing happen in the spring. In northwestern Ontario, if a smallie feeds on the surface and you land a lure near that dapple, it's fish on.

 

When I was lagoon fishing back in SC, whenever I saw a bait ball I'd throw a buzzbait out there and more often than not a bass would smash it.

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