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indy basser

Formulating a Pattern?

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Hey guys I am pretty new to bass fishing and 1 thing that amazes me is how in a post tourney interview a pro will say that they were hitting a blue tube in the second arm of coves off of willow laydowns or whatever.  When you guys go fishing how do you find and define your patterns? Too many times  when I go out I nver figure 'em out.  I was wondering how some of you "experinced guys" go about figuring them out?

Thanks guys, you are the best.  I have already learned so much about from this site. :)

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Key:  Attention to detail.  

Waiting to anaylze what you did until after the catch.  Pay attention to the depth of water you were positioned in (if in a boat) and the depth you feel you caught the fish at.

Was water clear, muddy, or slightly stained?  Different parts of a body of water have more off colored water than others and sometimes that can make a huge difference combined with cloud cover and/or sun.

What type of bait were you throwing?  Did you throw it next to a laydown, rip rap, stickups, stumps, weeds, etc.

After that you put all that together as well as get a feel for the type of location you are at on the body of water (point, cove, bay, etc) and try to mimic that in another spot that looks very similar or has similar features.

Sometimes you can identify more than one pattern on a body of water and that's really when you can start to whack em'.  I do best at pattern fishing on rivers, not so much on lakes (still learning).  Some of the other guys will probably emphasize other important factors.  This is just my foundation I go on.

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To establish a pattern, you have to start with a plan - what should the fish be doing right now - are they up shallow or staging? are they cruising or getting on beds? are they holding on deep brush piles or suspended?  Most of the good books and videos will give you a general idea and then you start eliminating what ain't working.  As soon as you catch a fish, try to put as many of the pieces of the puzzle together in your mind - Why was that fish there and why did I catch him?  Then try to reproduce that catch in another area?  If you are able to repeat that catch, you have the beginnings of a pattern.  The thing is, patterns can change - if it was cloudy when you caught him and the sun comes out, you have to think - what changes will the fish make and try to adjust.  A pattern is not a prescription, 'cause it is always changing - a pattern just gives you a clue as to what worked in that situation and can help you as you adjust.

Just my $.02

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Are you guys looking more for an area or a bait?  Do you typically move to diffrent areas with the same bait or stay in the same area and try diffrent baits?  I know it is a combo of the two but what is more important to you?

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I'm not a tournament fisherman and no expert by a long shot but maybe this example will help illustrate the principle. I fished with my son and daugter-in-law yesterday morning. We started before sun-up on a windblown bank with rocks and brush 6' deep or so. Our first fish came on topwater. The next on a blue pearl Senko. We rounded the point and started down a bluff wall where my son usually catches fish. We were then out of the wind and caught no fish. We continued around another point and into a cove where he has had good luck. Still no fish even though we saw shad flipping. After 30-40 minutes of this I convinced him to move to an area the wind could hit and we started catching fish again.

Our fish came on the senko, a drop-shot with a Tiny Fluke, and a texas rig finesse worm. We did not catch fish on a spinner bait, hard jerk bait, soft jerk bait(fished fast), or any more on topwater(sun came up). This told me the fish wanted a slow presentation which made sense since the wind was out of the NW and I guessed the barameter was rising. I gave the non-productive baits a good try off and on all morning even though I could catch fish on the drop shot. We also noticed most of our fish were coming from water 6'-10' deep near large rocks. We were catching spots.

Hope this illustration helps. Experience on a particular lake helps a great deal because you already have a good idea of what will work. It also helps to have more than one person in the boat so you can try different kinds of baits (hard/soft, fast/slow, shallow/deep, dark/light). Some days you never catch a fish so you are not able to develop a pattern(see my signature below :).

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Consistently finding bass is a process of elimination and duplication. Eliminate patterns and waters that are non-productive and duplicate places and patterns that are productive.

It's about locations not baits  ;)

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