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Chris

Weightless plastics

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This is something I use a lot in the summer in areas that is full of vegetation. I know most people like flukes and floating worms which both work great. Here is the situation. I was fishing a lake that had weeds that where not topped out and when I pitched a weighted lizard the fish would stop and look at it then swim off. I tried spinnerbaits and noticed the fish could hear the bait but where slow to react or swim towards it. I even tried to stop the spinnerbait and let it fall to the bottom and the fish would just sit there looking at it. I would shake it and hop it and they would swim off. Scratching my head it accured to me that the water might be hot enough to shut them down much like a cold front. I then tied on a weightless lizard and tried again. My first bass was a 3lb fish. I thought wow now I am on to something. I switched around baits and colors and ended up catching 7 bass. Two bass fell victim to the fat ika. Sometimes when you watch how fish react to your bait you can learn how to change what your doing to make it work. When water temps get up there the bass's metabolism slows down and they feed less often during the day and opt to feed more at night. Try to keep that in mind when you fish sluggish bass. They want something slow moving and easy to catch and weightless plastics fit that bill.

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A weightless lure will hang in the water column longer and fall horizontal position. It falls super slow and for that day anything fished any faster would not get bites. They didn't want it on the bottom and they didn't want it on top. They also wouldn't hit something running through the water column. They where not in a chasing mood. On that day several other fishermen came up empty fishing jerkbaits, jigs, soft jerkbaits, rattletraps, and topwater scum frogs. I talked to another local who fished the same lake the day before and he said the bass would just sit there and look at his crankbaits without moving. He also said that one small bass hit his crankbait as it floated up. I would say that the fish where feeding on the spring hatch and the baitfish and bass where not active because of the water temp. I saw a school of 6 bass running around the bank that would just stop and look at the bait on the bottom and would swim off. I guess they didn't want something fast.

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Do not think that just because the water temperatures have climbed, that the bass's metabolism has slowed down.  That is simply not true.  With warm water, even the act of swimming around will burn out the food that they have ate.  It is, in fact, true that as the water temperature climbs, the metabolism of the bass rises, and they have to eat more in order to function and stay alive.  However, in the higher water temperatures, they are not going to chase something to eat it, thus, saving what food they have, and stabilizing their metabolism.

I would honestly like to know how the jerkbaits were fishing, and if they were suspending versions.  During this time of the year, when the bass are in a non-aggressive mood, as you described, I can usually get a lot of fish when I fish a suspending jerkbait.  You have to let the bait sit in place longer than during other times of the year.

However, you analysis is great, and it seems that you are understanding what is going on.  Keep your insights coming.   :D

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Lets put this in human terms your out fishing all day in 90 degree or 100 degree heat. Mid afternoon is the first thing on your mind eating a big steak? Or is it hanging out in the shade drinking some cold water? During hot days eating is the last thing on my mind. In terms of a bass's side of things high temps mean low oxygen levels. Hot water low oxygen means bass become inactive. Its true that a bass needs to eat to live but it takes 12 hours to digest food less with higher water temps. Activity levels drop off when the water temp climbs. Bass become neutral or inactive in really hot water.  Peak activity level is around 73 degrees. Metabolism was the wrong word I was looking for. I think activity level would be a better choice. Sorry I don't catch all my boo boo's ;D

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Chris scores with the Fat Ika! I haven't been...

It's soooooooooo hot here, the bass are generally deeper than I like to fish weightless soft plastics. If I'm fishing deeper than 12' I have been using weighted presentations fished very slow. The exact profile and action seems to vary from day to day. For most of the summer the Gitzit, T-rigged has been my most productive bait, but some days it's the Kut-Tail or Kreature. Last weekend I fished a Roboworm for the first time and it was killer or at least I caught a few small fish over a short period of time.

Chris wrote about fishing 'em slow. Well, a couple of big bass and a monster catfish I've caught recently on the tube picked it up while I was deadsticking. Slow means letting the lure sit for a minute or two and just lifting it off the bottom. One long cast, if you think you're in the zone, can take five or ten minutes. Do you have the patience for that? It takes concentration, too. Bites occur when you least expect it.

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RW, is right once again.  I am only using platics right now.  I am throwing some other things occasionaly, just to keep myself and the fish honest, but plastics or working for me and it's hard to put that away when it's catching fish, including a 6lber a couple weeks ago.  I use the weightless when fishing around docks, when the fish are suspended there.  I also am doing most of my fishing at night.  Slow is the key, or what I like to say Coaxing.  Coaxing the fish in to biting.  I have confidence they are there and I am trying to make them bite.  Example I pulled up to a brush pile the other night, I have gotten many fish off of this, I stayed for 20 minutes on this brush pile, making repeated casts until I finally coaxed one to bite my worm.    

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