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BASSMAN1301599783

The Hardest Question

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There is just 1 flaw with my bass fishing ability.  1 MAJOR Flaw that is.  

Maybe someone can help me.

When your bass fishing, say for the first time in 2 weeks.  You go down to the lake, and you start out with one lure.  You have no success.  You change your pattern, again no success.  How long to you stick with a certian thing before you give up on it?  And when you give up on it, do you try it randomly throughout the day, or just leave it be.

EX.  I am fishing a spinner bait in the mid morning.  Fast and slow, stop and go, retrieves.  No success.  Do I continue to use the same retrieves and look for just totally different types of cover and areas, or do you try the same area with a new lure, presentation, size, color?

HELP!  I used to think that I was in good shape, when it came to bass fishing.  I would consistantly catch keeper fish, 15in, and some really nice ones.  But as soon as I joined the Jr. Pro Circuit, my fishing ability went down the drain. Or maybe the fish have just changed themselves.

So, what do you do when you can't get a fish to bite on anything, any presentation, any color, at any location you go to?

THANKS A MILLION

-BASSMAN

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Bassman, if you figure out how to fix that flaw, let me know ;) ;D. You present two possibilities: Stay with the same lure and change locations, or stay in the same location and change lures. What I try to do is both. For example, if I am fishing an area I know has fish either in or around it, I will change baits to see what they want. I usually have 2-3 rods rigged with something different that I can try at different times to see if I can find what they want at that time. On the flip side, a few weeks back I found the bait early-they were hitting baby bass/pearl swirl Tiki Sticks. However, the only place I could get bit was in areas where hydrilla and cattails met, right next to the cattails-a foot away and no hits-they wanted it right at the base of the cattails. Doesn't really answer your question, though. I try to give each bait and each location a fair chance, but if I feel I have worked a bait long enough I chnage and if I feel I have worked an area hard enough I move. There really aren't any hard and fast rules-just work a lure or fish a location enough to feel satisfied you need to try something else or move to another location, and don't be afraid to change.

But as soon as I joined the Jr. Pro Circuit, my fishing ability went down the drain

No it didn't.  You are just getting caught up in what other people are doing-you see somneone doing something different and start doubting your ability.  Fish YOUR way, not somebody else's.  Not always easy to do, believe me.  You know what will work and won't work in just about every situation you see on the water, so play to your strengths.  I'll give you an example:  I have a buddy who is a crankbaiter.  Head to head he will stomp me into the mud with a crankbait, but give him  a soft plastic bait like a Tiki Stick or a Fluke and guess who gets stomped?  Fish your way, but keep an open mind-change and experiment if you need to. My goal is to become a better crankbaiter this year, and my buddy is working on soft plastics.  We both are working to be more versatile.  Good Luck!

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You go to the lake and what you do first ?

tie a bait ? ,

why did you tie that bait ?,

what told you to tie that bait ?,

what makes you think that your selection was the adequate ?

What you should do is:

to take a look around,

check the color of the water,

check the turbidity of the water,

check the temperature of the water,

check the baitfish activity,

check in which direction the wind is blowing and how strong it is,

check the sky to see if there are clouds and what kind of clouds are present

check how stable the present conditions have been, a day ? a couple of days ? the entire week ?

weeds ? what kind of weeds ?

recreational water activity ? how many boats, how many fishermen ? water skiers ? swimmers ?

All those elements will give you a general idea of where the fish will be holding troughout the day, at what depth the fish will be holding, with which baits and techniques you can catch them  then tie your baits.

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Raul for us less knowledgable fisherman would you please explain yourself further as in what those various circumstances could mean...

HP

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what i'll usually do to find fish if they're not biting anything is throw out a texas rig worm of some sort, and small at that.  also, look for baitfish, if there are baitfish around, chances are there's a bass around waiting to ambush.  when the water temp rises during postspawn, look for any kind of cover, i.e. fallen timber, standing timber, weeds, lilly pads, docks, things like that.  once the water temp warms up to the upper 70's, the bass will move down deep where the water is cooler.  in terms of colors, any natural looking colors will work great.  pay attention to the color of the water, color of the lake floor and the color of any type of vegetation around, and match your worm to that color.  in most cases, pumpkinseed/charteuse works well, watermelon seed, basically any natural looking color will work very well.

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With pleasure ! I 'm not here to brag on how knowleadgeable I am, on the contrary, I 'm here to express my opinion and what I have learned throughout the years and nothing could cause me greater pleasure than knowing that my opinion resulted benefitial.

Color of the water.

Many people mix up the color of the water with the turbidity and they have different origins, the color of the water is caused by chemicals leached into the water and that dye it, for example, in lakes with a lot of submerged trees tanins and oils in the wood leach into the water giving it a brownish color. This affects the way fish see your bait, to understand it put on a pair of polarized glasses and look at your baits, the color of the bait changes. The same thing happens in water rich in tanins.

Turbidity of the water.

It is caused not by dissolved chemicals, it is caused by organic and inorganic particles suspended in the water. Organic particles have an organic origin, decaying vegetation and plankton are examples of it. Inorganic particles have an inorganic origin and are created normally as part of the erosive events that take place on the terrain that surrounds the lake and by the bottom composition of the lake. In our particular case silt and clay are the most important ones because due to it 's tiny size remain suspended for a longer period time than sand, sand grains being heavier settle to the bottom faster.

The turbidity is very important because in first place it tells you how much food is available, pea soup water means that there 's a lot of planktonic life, plankton is the base of the food chain, it also tells you the visibility, the less turbidity the more the fish will be able to see, it also gives you an indication of the light penetration, the less turbidity the deeper the light penetrates.

So applied to fishing, the more turbidity you have the noisier and the brighter or darker your lures should be, they can 't see them very well but they can hear them, hot or very dark colors stand out against the background.

The Temperature of the water

Fish are not "cold" blooded, fish have exactly the same temperature of the water that surrounds them, but because of that their methabolic rate depends exclusively on the temperature of the water, the warmer the water, the higher the methabolic rate, the higher the methabolic rate the more active the fish will be, the opposite happens when the temperature of the water drops. Cold fronts affect the behavior of the fish, not because the air temperature drops, it 's because the light penetration increases.

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The baitfish activity

The pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, bass feed on other creatures, mainly baitfish and crawfish, baitfish ( shads, shiners, minnows, bluegills ) feed on ........plankton or in other forms of life that feed on plankton, since plankton can 't "move" it is subject to the wind, wind drifts plankton concentrating it, baitfish will take advantage of the situation and will be in places where the wind has drifted the plakton, where baitfish are bass are. Crawfish are predatory and necrophagic creatures, they feed on dead animals or hunt for their food, a school of minnows is an open invitation for lunch.

Wind

Wind not also drifts the plankton, it also stirs the bottom, the areas where the wind is blowing are murkier than the rest, murky = decreased light penetration = less visibility, bass can 't differentiate between a bunch of minnows and your lure beacuse they don 't see it very well but he can hear it and feel it, and if you are skillful, those signals feel and sound like " hey, I 'm wonded " and hey I 'm wounded means an easy meal to mr. or mrs. bass, too bad that the easy meal has hooks on it.

Also the strenght and the speed is important, too strong and BYE, BYE cloud cover.

Clouds

Low puffy clouds mean good cloud cover, less light and possibly rain, high clouds or no clouds at all means sunny day, which do you prefer ? what bothers you less ? unless you are one of those sun lovers in search for a good tan I prefer cloudy days.

In fishing, cloudy days, the fish will be shallower, sunny days the fish will be deeper. In sunny days look for shade, strong sunlight doesn 't affect bass, it does not hurt their eyes like many believe, bass see like we do with polarized glasses, but bass do not like sun because their prey can see them as well as they can see their prey, bass prefer to hide in the shade because their preay can 't see them. To make an analogy, you are outside then you come into a room, what happens ?........you are momentarily blinded, if a predator is inside the room those seconds are the ideal opportunity to pounce on you.

Weeds

Not all weeds and weed beds are created equal, some are productive and others aren 't, some offer protection and sahde others don 't, some grow only at a certain depth, others grow deeper. They also tell you the structure of the bottom, a huge expanse of weeds like an alfalfa field means that they are growing on a flat, isolated patches of weeds tell you that the bottom is irregular and that it has shallow and deep areas, weeds like hydrilla only grow as deep as they can get enough sunlight, cattails only grow on shallow silty bottom.

In fishing, a huge expanse of weeds is not a good place to cast your baits, there is nobody there, isolated or irregular weed beds are where you want your bait to be. Also where two type of weeds meet is another place where you want your baits, it creates an edge and bass like egdes.

Recreational water activity

We all hate skiers, water skiers, picnickers, in other words, we hate anybody who uses the water except for fishing ( I don 't know who gave them those ideas ) and why we hate them, they are noisy and scare the fish away, but do they really scare the fish ? not really, fish don 't get scared, fish get cautios and bury in cover or go to the depths.

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thanks Raul, the plankton and baitfish is something I had never thought of. I guess thats why we fish wind blown shores!!

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What i know that helps is do not think about anything but the fish and your bait, have confidence in what you are doing and visualize yourself hooking a fish,also imagine underwater what it looks like and how the fish is hitting the bait. This helps me alot on tough days an in tournaments, It actually helps me catch fish. As for baits got to go with a reaction bait: crank, spinnerbait,buzzbait, jerkbait. Or if you prefer just fish what you like the most, the bait that you have tried and true confidence bait. it really works.

Good Luck

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Fish are not "cold" blooded, fish have exactly the same temperature of the water that surrounds them,

Raul, how'd that "not" slip in there?

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Great thread and excellent thoughts gentlemen. I think we have all been in situatiions where everything seems perfect and we still can't get a bite. So what are we to do?

I suggest we go back to fundamentals: No matter what we do, we can't catch fish if there are no fish where we are. At that point we need to rely more on our electronics.  Even if you can't actually identify bass on your screen, find the bait fish. This may not solve the problem every time, but it's a step in the right direction.

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Hey Roadwarrior,

About electronics. I use my quite often to locate underwater structure, and sometimes baitfish. The problem I run into on Texoma is that most of the time if I'm trying to fish open deep water, I'll mark fish and baitfish but 99.9% of the time I'm getting eat up by stripers. Which is fine for that but not when I'm bass fishing. Do you run into this problem any? If so what are some of the things that you try and do to distinguish between what should be largemouths, and smallmouths and what should be stripers?

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Our stripers are river fish and concentrate at the dam. There are little stripers than infest the entire river system, but they are generally bank runners. I was really referring to lake fishing because the bait is generally schooled and concentrated at specific spots. This is NEVER the case on the river. We have baitfish throughout the system and they seem to always be on the run. We only use the depthfinder for depth, structure and temperature.

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That's the main reason I use them on this lake. Use them to find deep structure such as ledges, humps, brush piles, etc.. and for the water temp. Now on other lakes that don't have the schooling fish such as stripers, hybrids, and sand bass (White bass) I'll use my electronics to locate fish as well as baitfish.

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The only problem that I see with electronics is.........that most of the people that have them don 't know how to use and/or read them ! Schooling fish like stripers, white bass, carp and baitfish like RW said are easy to locate but LMBs rarely form large schools they are more related to cover and structure, actually I don 't use my finder to locate fish, I use my finder to locate the structure or to find out if what I see above the water level continues beneath the water level and for how much it extends. The first step to identify structure is by looking at the surrounding terrain, what you see above water level is most likely to continue underwater, once you have located the structural features then look for cover features, the best ones are cover ON or very near structure. Let me show a couple of pics that can help us. This pics are from one of my favorite lakes, the lake is stocked with carp, tilapia, bluegills, catfish and LMB minnows are abundant and so is crawfish, this lake has monster bass in it.

IM000512.JPG?dc=4675516839419366920

IM000510.JPG?dc=4675516839315295090

The conditions on that day were:

Air temperature 90°

Water Temperature 68°

Sunny, not a single cloud in the sky

Water color: clear

Water turbidity: origin.- a mix of clay ( the water level is dropping ) and plakton that gives you that greenish milky hue you can see. Clarity.- 5 ft

Water depth: 9-20 ft

Weeds.- non existant

Cover.- Standing timber and some laydows right on the bank.

What would you throw ?

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I'm going to start out with a black and blue, or green pumpkin, or even a brown jig. I would say topwaters if it were overcast skys. Along with the jigs I'll probably throw a 10 inch T-rigged worms with a pegged wait. That way I can use the jig and worm to pick apart all the brush. Would also throw a spinnerbait around all the structure, and considering the depths I'd vary depths quite often with the spinnerbait. Steep bank like that I'm betting you could parallel the bank with different depth running crankbaits also.

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Well Raul, a jig is probably the right answer, but the conditions you describe are EXACTLY the same as those facing me on the days I have caught my big bass. I know 10 lbs is not that big of a deal to you, but here in Tennessee it is!

So, I would be throwing a 6" Senko. Next, a Fat Ika and then a jig with a double tailed grub trailer. If none of that works, I'm back to the Senko until I have to go home.

Oh! BTW, if I'm fishing with you, I'll throw whatever you recommend!

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Skeeter you got "A" ! ;D

I would skip the black and blue jig, the reason I tell you this is because black and blue are simply ignored by the fish, crawfish in that lake in this time of the year are greenish-brownish all over the body so your selection of pumpkinseed and brown is correct, add watermelon and black& charteuse and you have all the hues cover for a crawfish immitator. As you said crankbaits casted and retrieved PARALLEL to the bank, you appreciation of the steepness of the bank is correct, but casting a medium diver  or a topwater is a waste of time, the water clarity is high and the light penetration is also high, there 's not a single cloud in the sky so you will need a deep or extra deep diver because the fish will be deep, what pattern ? the forage base is formed by carp ( perch color immitates extremely well mirror carp which is the most common species of carp in Mexico ), bluegill ( bluegill pattern ), tilapia ( blue and silver mimics the color pattern of tilapia ) and shad ( it mimics the kind of minnows that we have ).

Where to make your casts ? look at the fisrt picture, at the left down into the cove you will notice several very interesting features, there 's a boulder, underneath and in front of it there 's  a submerged tree and very important there 's shade behind the boulder, that place screams "BASS ARE HERE" , looking to the right there 's a vertical wall  with two limbs on the water but if you look closely before that wall there 's an accumulation of rocks created by a landslide that 's another place that screams "bass are here" , on the second picture you can see another vertical wall and a tree, most anglers the first thing they would do is to cast to the tree, well the tree stands on a flat surface with nothing else but a flat bottom, if you look at the pic, to the right tou see the vertical wall but there 's a change in the composition of the terrain as you move to the left scattered rocks and boulders begin to appear, the area between the tree and the bank is covered with those same rocks and boulders, that area has also written "bass" all over.  From the entire cove the only places that produced fish were those that I mentioned.

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Well Raul, a jig is probably the right answer, but the conditions you describe are EXACTLY the same as those facing me on the days I have caught my big bass. I know 10 lbs is not that big of a deal to you, but here in Tennessee it is!

So, I would be throwing a 6" Senko. Next, a Fat Ika and then a jig with a double tailed grub trailer. If none of that works, I'm back to the Senko until I have to go home.

Oh! BTW, if I'm fishing with you, I'll throw whatever you recommend!

Buddy you just hammered it on the head. Senkos work very well but the bank is so steep that it takes a looooooong time before they hit the bottom, you can cast, light a cigarrette, smoke it and by the time you have finished it your bait will be on the bottom, jigs are the most appropiate bait for the place and yes I did catch a couple of nice fish ( 5 and 7 pounds ) and lost a big momma ( just out of pure stupidity ) . You also got "A" in your evaluation.

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Man, thanks for the "A". Something I like about fishing Senkos, besides catching fish, is having a smoke. It's not easy when your throwing a Rat-L Trap!

You'll probably find this odd, but I never fish Senkos with weight. If I need weight I'll use a Kut-Tail, Gitzit, lizard or jig.

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Gitzit!  :o  Do you realize how many people in this world will look at ya funny when you tell them to try a Gitzit. I remember my dad and his buddies talking about them all the time, but now no one knows what they are. I've called them Gitzits all of my life and my buddies just look at me funny!

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first thing i'd throw out there is a texas rigged worm so i can see if there is any more structure under the water that cannot be seen above.  once i find other structure, i may keep fishing with the worm or i'll throw a spinnerbait in there.  water of that color, i'd throw out a white/red/brown spinnerbait with gold blades. for the worm i'd throw out a 7 inch curly tailed or u-tailed pumpkinseed worm.  that would be the very first thing i would use in terms of color.  since you said there are a lot of crawfish in there, i'd throw out either a blue/black jig with a blue craw trailer, or a pumpkinseed jig with a pumpkinseed craw trailer... i'd use anywhere from 1/4 oz. to 5/8 oz. jig.

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Gitzit! :o Do you realize how many people in this world will look at ya funny when you tell them to try a Gitzit. I remember my dad and his buddies talking about them all the time, but now no one knows what they are. I've called them Gitzits all of my life and my buddies just look at me funny!

Well that has a reason Skeeter, the first tubes that appeared in the market were the Fat Gitzit back in the late 80's  ( geez, I sound like my dad and grandad, I 'm getting old ! ), the only problem with tubes is that you can 't cast an exposed hook into there, it 's going to hang up faster than you can imagine, T rigging could be a good option but it 's going to kill a lot of the action of the bait, besides the lake has a lot of bluegills and by the time you finish retieving your tube is going to come out as bald as Telly Savalas.

RW man too bad I quited smoking, then we could have a smoke while we wait for that senko to drop to the bottom, I even gave up my cuban cigars that I smoked while fishing.

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