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Help Finding the Bucketmouths

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I am having a problem of catching quality bass, not quantity.  How do you get the bigger fish to bite before the shorts do?  It doesn't matter what I throw...the shorts hit it first, but can never get the big one to bite....What, if anything, am I doing wrong?

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I have thought about this recently as well.  It seems like the dinks are all hungry and will bite anything, but the lunkers are hanging back.  I have even thought the lunkers are waiting for the dinks to fatten up before eating them :o  I suppose you will get a lot of advice about throwing bigger baits, but I'm not convinced this is the best way to handle it.  I will be curious to see what other responses you get.

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I'm guessing youre still fishing the shallow water :-/, I have been having good success with carolina riggin the deepest rock points of off the main lake(usually 40 ft) and pitching a jig/pig into deep standing timber. The bankrunners are all thats left in the shallows around here,like you said youve been catching plenty of them :(

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Well, it is true that big fish generally want big meals...but I also think big fish tend to hit certain baits more than others. Buzz baits are big fish baits....7inch Senkos, Jigs, ect. What do you usually throw?

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big baits, deep water...altho my biggest bass(10lbs 1oz) was in 3' of water on a 5'' zipper worm...they do generally come in on bigger baits in deeper water. this is not sayin that the lil' feelas wont nail a 12'' worm...they might...but count on a nice bass. i  would take 12'' worms and cast them to deep structure/cover. or swimbaits fished deep.

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According to an article I read in Bass Times or Bassmaster bass will hang out with others that are close in size. So maybe you are only finding the schools full of small bass. Next time you catch a quality fish try working the area extra hard.

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I am working deep cranks, 5" stick baits, spinners, poppers, and buzz baits. Get hits on them all, in all areas of the water too. I think Will hit it on the nose for me, but I need to find the big ones first....lol

I will try C-Rig and some more jigs the next time out.

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According to an article I read in Bass Times or Bassmaster bass will hang out with others that are close in size. So maybe you are only finding the schools full of small bass. Next time you catch a quality fish try working the area extra hard.

that sounds like good advice too. i've noticed in lakes that there are places where you catch mostly smaller bass and other areas where there are more big bass.

i don't feel at all qualified to be giving advice to a pro (i assume by the triton shirt)

i doubt i'm telling you anything you don't know.

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Most any water that has smaller bass will have larger bass. To reliably, consistantly catch these fish, you must target different water and different baits than what catches the 2 pounders.

Larger, adult bass spend less time actively chasing food in shallow water than younger ones. They generally target different forage, larger bass eat less often, so when they do eat, it must be large enough to justify the energy spent to eat it. Larger bass have seen hundreds more shallow water lures thrown at them during prime fishing times than they have larger, slower lures fished in their deeper haunts when the sun is up.

Here in Georgia ponds I fish, the smaller fish target crawdads, small fry bream and catfish, small creek minnows. The larger fish mostly eat yearling bass,bream, and catfish, but they will eat whatever swims in their "kill zone" that they can get their mouths around.

Here in Georgia reservoirs I fish, finesse worms catch spots, magnum lizards and zoom old monsters  catch the adult bass.

The key to catching larger bass is:

1. Find deeper structure that provides the best "ambush points" and current blocking. Adult bass will be on the best, easiest deep water structure to feed on. They are "ambush predators". Unlike a schooling fish like a striper that relies on speed, endurance, and group hunting skills to chase down shad schools in open water, LM bass are "ambush predators" they use concealment, surprise, and a pre-selected "kill zone" where the topography chosen for the attack point gives the prey limited options for escape.

Stripers relate to shad schools. LM bass relate to prime structure where shad and other food may come by.

Most people I know that fish deep structure require shad be around that structure before they'll fish it. If  the structure has the best enviroment for a bass to ambush prey than the other structure nearby, I'll fish it whether baitfish are present or not.

For example, let's say one specific section of main lake has several humps close to the main channel. If one of those has stumps on top, and the others don't, that's the one.

Finding the deep structure that offers bass their best looking hunting enviroment is my number one priority when seeking adult bass.

The prime structure must also:

A. Be near current yet provide current blocking. (In larger lakes with shad)

B. Be within a reasonable distance of a shallow spawning/feeding ground. Large bass do like to feed shallow on occassion. And they won't hang out too far from the spawning ground.

2. Present a slower, larger, bait in the "kill zone" of these fish. The slower and bigger a bait is, the larger the "kill zone" is for a large bass, the circle where that bait must be placed. It's also very important for the bait to be traveling in the direction the bass are relating to, usually looking upcurrent.

If it doesn't look like a sure kill, easy, but filling meal, they ain't gonna eat it.

You must work productive deep structure slowly and  thoroughly from several different directions with a larger profile bait.

This type of fishing isn't a reliable technique for tournament fishing, but it is a high percentage technique for catching the bigger fish.

Once you find a productive spot, it should hold multiple fish and should remain consistant for most of the year.

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I know a lot of tournament guys who will chuck little bass as far as they can in order to get them out of the area. I even know dudes who (illegally) put dink bass in the livewell and then put them back just before they leave.

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my favorite way of finding big bass is to find where the little bass are, if there are alot of little bass holding tight to cover and the conditions permit fish to be cruising or suspedning then id try to fish more open water structure like maybe a submerged stump or a drop off, and then visa versa because i may be wrong but from what i've learned big bass and dink bass dont act the same

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Try a large plastic worm. like 7 or 8" with a 4/0 hook and t-rig it. the smaller bass will hit this but it will be at the tale and they arent big enough the get hooked, so only larger bass will get hooked by this.

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OK, If I may make ONE suggestion.  When you catch 2 smaller size bass, there just might be larger ones there with them BUT they will not most likely be in the heart of the smaller ones.  AFTER catching 2 smaller size bass, throw plastics  to the BACKSIDE of where you were throwing and work your bait forward.  Then cast to EACH side of that hole and work your plastice.  Then, REPOSITIION your boat so you can cast in FRONT of the hole.  The bigger bass will be on the OUTSIDE, away from the smaller bass waiting for an easy prey.  I hope I made this clear enough.  Best of luck to you.

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Nutt,

That might be one big problem I am having....I don't stay long enough to hit around the spot I caught the shorts in.  See what happens when you have a short season...you forget the basics...lol.

No I am no pro, just like the boat well enough to wear the shirt....lol

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I find them in drain pipes, the biggest tree in the patch of standing timber, along the creek channel where it has a short depth change (5,5,5,10,5,5,), where you have rocks that are away from the rock shore that form a small point, where two forms of cover meet (like rock and stump) Nothing banks that have some isolated structure, where the deep water meets shallow water, the first laydown at the mouth of a cover, the point that has the steepest angle. Find something different from the surrounding area and you will find them. I think location is key along with lure size and speed.

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Another post reminded me of something I want to share on this thread.

I just turned 39, and started bass fishing at 9.

About 10 years ago, I read an artricle in a local mag about becoming a better bass fisherman by actually learning about bass themselves, instead of reading fishing magazines. I went to the local library, and checked out a science book about freshwater fish.

That was the single biggest thing I've ever done that improved my fishing skills, and my ability to target larger bass.

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Well, I shall put all this info to work tonight and let ya all know how well we did.

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Sweetwater that was an excellent reply. I have been retired for the last 4 years & spend about 60% of my time fishing for bass. Doc here are a few things that I picked from OJT. 1- Largemouth tend to stay together by size. If I am catching "dinks" in an area I'll move deeper. Keep in mind it's all relative, 5' is deeper than 3'. If I am catching small fish on cypress trees in 3' of water  I'll move to cypress trees in 5' of water. I don't remember ever fishing for largemouth in 20' of water most of the bass I catch are in 10' or less. 2- I find the heavier the cover the bigger the fish. 3- If the the fish is a dark & green(real pretty) it lives in shallow water, look for cover just like that to find more. I have noticed the deeper I catch them the lighter there coloring. 4- Once you find the cover & the fish you will find them year round. 5- for big fish you MUST FISH SLOW!!!! When you think you are fishing slow, SLOW DOWN!! I catch 65% of my fish over 5# on a lunker lure or a spinner bait & 90% of them over 9#.  I use a 3:8 to 1 Curado & cup the blades on my buzz bait to slow it down. Rod length depends upon if I am fishing in the trees or grass but always the longest I can get by with. 6- I use bigger baits, If the cover is real heavy I'll start with a buzz bait & then a large worm with at least 1/4 oz weight (depends on depth). I soak the worm in vegetable oil to help keeping it from hanging up. If the cover is wood peg the weight. I am also sure the lake you fish is different than the one I fish, water temp, depth ect. That will make a difference. Example this past January & February the coldest water I noticed was only 45 degrees & that lasted only a couple of weeks. Well "Doc" I hope this gave you a couple of idea's.

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I'll second that! Sweetwater, that's an excellent post.

Deeper structure, a slower presentation and larger lures. It also helps a lot to fish rivers, lakes and ponds that actually have bigger fish. Not every water body qualifies.

You can't catch 'em if they ain't there!

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Just a couple additions on this post.  Enjoyed all I have read so far, good stuff.

There was an old man at the tackle shop growing up, and over half the pictures in the shop were of him with fish over 6 lbs. I bugged him enough, he took me over to his house to show me his boat.

He had a gorgeous 21' Ranger, and he had wired his 250 motor to go FAST.  Guess what, that isn't what he caught his big fish in, rather his 12 ft. jonboat with a 9.9 and little trolling motor.

His gig - he fished for one or two fish over HOURS of time, day after day.  He fished 10-12 inch worms, or HUGE baits, and slow and methodical enough to bore most to another hobby.

Quiet fishing, deep water, big baits, really SLOW.

I would agree.  I am in to trophy hunting when I know I am on water where they can be caught. If it is not the spawn, it is slow, deep, and slow again.

Carolina rigs and big worms/jigs on deeper structure is the ticket - from what I have learned.

If you can, buy the Larry Nixon BassProShop DVD/tape on Summer Bass Patterns.  It is a GREAT teaching piece.  He catches some summer fish, and all the big ones....deeper water structure, near even deeper water, on really big baits (think they were on a 12" worm).  He even does a bit of Carolina Rigging deeper water on the tape.

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Thanks for that reply Sweetwater.  That was about the best help I could receive from this question.  Everyone had good ideas too, but your was very informative for what my slow mind can handle right now.....lol

Thank you all.

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