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Whopper Stopper

How do I fish this lake?

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Me and a buddy of mine started fishing this lake last year in June. It is crystal clear, and deeep. It's almost straight down from the sides. It's big enough to fish out of a boat, but still small enough to effectively fish from the bank. It has fallen trees in it everywhere. It looks like the perfect bass lake. We always see huge bass cruising the bank.

There is just one problem, we don't catch anything. It has very little fishing pressure; so that isn't the problem. We have tried everything short of dynamite. This is unlike any lake I have ever fished. I understand that clear water can be difficult, but this is ridiculous. Every time we go there we think we've got them bass figured out; but then we just wind up going home with our tail tucked between our legs!

We have probably caught six bass between us. All of them were a pound or under. We always see a ton of bass, and frequently see 2 and 3 pounders crusing the bank; sometimes bigger. What's worse is that sometimes a big bass will chase the bait to the bank, but won't hit it. If you stop or slow the lure down they lose interest. They follow it without hitting until you pull the lure out of the water. Then they head for deeper water. In my opinion, this is the most frustrating thing that can happen.

We have tried everything. We've fished early in the morning, evening, Once, we even fished until midnight.

You would think that throwing a soft plastic worm into one of those sunken trees and just slowly inching it along would do the trick, but it doesn't. I always make sure that I use light line when doing this so that they won't see it.

So is there anything that we might be missing out on? I know these bass are eating something. I have even tried live minnows and crawfish. How would you guys fish this lake?

Any advice is appreciated.

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Texas rig a senko and fish all the laydowns.

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I have fished a very similar lake in Helen, Ga. It was crystal clear and you could see 10 lb bass cruising the banks saying "catch me if you can." Well, I couldnt. I fished for 6 hr. Throwing absolutly everything in the tacklebox. I didnt get any bites. However, my friend was extra quiet and fished a worm wacky style and hooked an 8lber. But the day before he didnt want to spend $40 on a decent rod and decided to use his kmart special and the rod and line broke and he lost the fish. I would just suggest being very very quiet and stay low because the fish are probly very jumpy. Also you might want to trying fishing a senko wacky style. Good luck.

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I would make sure I knew their majors food source and offer them something different.For example if they feed primarily on baitfish I would try a craw presentation.I know bass can be hard to figure out at times but you can do it,that's bassfishing!

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However, my friend was extra quiet and fished a worm wacky style and hooked an 8lber...... I would just suggest being very very quiet and stay low because the fish are probly very jumpy. Also you might want to trying fishing a senko wacky style.

Fishing wacky style is one thing I haven't tried.

Also, I always try to stay low and as far from the bank as I can. Sometimes, I even wear camo. If it's clear enough for me to see the bass then they can see me.

 Also, there are huge bluegill in there. We catch them with a small rapala, which is also how we caught the smaller bass.

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Theres a lake like that near my house and they wont bite any lures because the water is so clear.  Only way we were able to catch bass eventually was using nightcrawlers to catch small sunfish, then hooking them live as bait.  Was great soon as we threw that sucker in the water 4-5 large bass just cruised up on it and one of the bass crashed it, probably the neatest thing i've seen.

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I have a lake like that hat i fish on, a guy one a small tournament by Throwing a wacky rigged senko and letting it Flutter down to 50 feet and he came i  with a huge sack. With these kinds of lakes i would say focus your attentions on dropshotting, jigging spoons, DT Hula Grubs on jigheads and Wacky rigged senkos down deep. Then if you see a big fish throw a wacky rigged senko or even better a Slug-Go, it has alot better action for cruising fish.   Also, most of the time Big Bass when Cruising arent looking for food, they are moving to a different piece of structure to be able to ambush their prey. So which ver way the bass is heading. Fins that Laydown and FISH IT HARD, it pays off!

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As stated earlier, wacky rigged senko's. Scale down your line size if possible. I know it's tough because of the cover.

Another thing, try fishing the lake at night or only very early morning or at dusk. I'd also plan on fishing the lake if it's windy putting a chop on the water to break the bass's ability to see you on the bank.  Also plan on fishing that sucker in the rain or on foggy, misty days.  Throw a fast moving spinnerbait then.

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I live on Bull Shoals in north central Arkansas and your description fits the lake. Try loooong casts. If the fish see you they most likely will not bite. I even have a 9' 6" steelhead St. Croix Avid spinning rod for just such a thing. Such lakes are known for frustrating even the pros so keep trying and pump all the local old salts for all they are worth. Yes you will have to sift through a lot but what is left is pure gold.

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Well, soft plastics are always the place I would start, but it sounds like you "been there, done that." As Paparock noted, your lake sounds a lot like Bull Shoals. On that lake I have had my best days fishing two types of lures:

#1 Jerkbaits on a loooooooooooong cast.

#2 3 1/2" Mizmo tubes, baby diaper yellow (squash green or Kent's Classic), inserted jig head, exposed hook.

Although the baits are obviously completely different, what they have in common is that the fish that I have caught were all on a FEEDING strike, not a reaction strike. The bass EAT these lures! In clear water color can be VERY important. So, with the jerkbaits, try different natural patterns and colors.  I suggest starting with Clear, White, Black & Silver, Green and Blue. On the right day, one of these colors is usually working, but oddly, sometimes that is the ONLY color that works!

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When you are talking clear water what is your visibility? Everybody has a different perspective of what clear is. I fish a lkae for smallmouth and visibilty is about 26 feet. The key to this lake for both large and smallmouth are super long casts and 3 inch melon pepper tubes. If a fish is spotted and is on a piece of structure or cover remember where it is and leave it alone. Return inb 20 inutes or so and stay away making long casts to the structure. Works everytime for me.

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If your gonna try swimbaits matt lures may be too expensive of swimbaits to test, so walmart carries storm wildeye bluegill swimbaits. its like 3 for $3.60 or somthin cheap. Owwwww, I was just bit by the bait monkey. I must go to walmart. Best of luck.

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Me and my grandfather fish a lake like that in NJ our bass club holds a torny there every year and two years in a row we have been the only team to bring in a limit in fact both tomes we caught over 15 keepers.......our secret a 3 inch senko fished wacky with no weight.    We use ultra light rods and reels with 10 pound power pro and a 4 foot 10 pound florocarbon leader.

Give it a try youd be suprised the size of fish those little 3 inch worms pull up.

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There is a lake behind my house exactly like that , and we used evrything there was and FINALLY figured it out. Try a T-Rigged trickworm but this is the key to clear water. JUNEBUG color. it seem like that is the only thing they will bite. Good Luck!

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There is a lake behind my house exactly like that , and we used evrything there was and FINALLY figured it out. Try a T-Rigged trickworm but this is the key to clear water. JUNEBUG color. it seem like that is the only thing they will bite. Good Luck!

Great idea. One of my favorites. Also I dont use a weight.

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I have already tried most of these methods mentioned. We started fishing it last year after the spawn, and just before the heat set in. Around here heat can have a lot to do with it. The only thing that I haven't tried is fishing soft plastics wacky style.

I have fished that lake at night a few times until midnight, as well as early morning. I haven't tried fishing this lake when it is windy. I think that could definitely help solve the problem of being spotted by the fish.

As I said in my first post, I have had big bass follow my lure to the bank. The only lures that they've done this for have been a deep crankbait and a spinnerbait. They look like they're going to hit it, and will follow it right up until I pull it out of the water, but if I stop or slow down the lure, they lose interest. It's almost like if I had a couple of extra feet before I hit bank that they would take it.

When I say this lake is clear, I mean it is crystal clear. It is like looking into a goldfish tank. It is also at least fifty feet deep and almost straight down from the sides. One side is covered with riprap. On the rest of the lake, the bottom is just littered with fallen trees. The brush is so thick every where else that we had to cut places to fish. This lake is located between two gun ranges; one is shotgun and the other is rifle. The shotgun is about 30yds from the bank that is covered in riprap. I think this may have to do with why the fish are so weary, but these are private gun clubs that are usually empty when we go there. There are also old 50 gal oil drums on the bottom on the same side of the shotgun range. I have spent a lot of time dangling a jig in front of them with no luck.

This year we are starting to fish it early. We may do some good when the bass start to bed. I also think that a wacky worm could be the thing to use, I can't believe I haven't thought of that.

Thanks for the replies.

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sight fish, sight fish, and by the way one more thing sight fish it is the key at a place like that. t-rig a zoom u-tail worm without a weight a slowly swim it infront of the fish guranteed results

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Man, that's all I do is sight fish.  I even where polarized sunglasses when it's cloudy.  I feel lost with out them. It drives me crazy when I forget to wear them because I can't see into the water.

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I forgot to add a couple other things to try.  Downsize your baits, like a 1/8 or 1/4 oz spinnerbait or the 1/4 oz Rattletrap and burn the sucker past the obstruction.  Instead of enticing the fish by s-l-o-w-l-y fishing your baits in front of them, which merely gives them more time to look over your offering,  rip that sucker past the edges of the cover. Those fish have a choice, attack this thing, AND NOW, or it's gone for good, or ignore it.  Just another thought.

I'd also suggest using flourocarbon line if you're not already.

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Later this month or next month, when the water warms up a little, fish the Fat Ika. If what you are seeing are really bass, you WILL catch a few with this lure, guaranteed!

I'll also restate one of my previous suggestions: Fish a jekbait EXCLUSIVELY for awhile in low light, early and late. Sweep your rod twice and let the lure suspend, motionless, for an EXTENDED period of time, then repeat again and again. The right cadence varies from day to day, but start here. Although I personally prefer big lures, I'll suggest you try some smaller suspending jerkbaits: Rapala X-Rap (XR8, 3 1/8", 1/4 oz, color 001) or Lucky Craft Pointer (SP series) 65, 78 or 100 (American Shad and/ or Original Tennessee Shad).

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some ppl will say to down size to a smaller soft bait. in clear water move the bait a bit faster so the fish don't get such a good look at the lure. i have had really good luck with a banjo minnow in clear water with a open faced reel becasue the you can cast it a long way. just something to make them want to strike at it. try going before it rains and while it is raining. Good luck

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If you are in a boat and can see the fish they see you so get back way back. If you are shore fishing get back way back. Or keep a tree behind you or lean agains a tree. This is hunting leave your bright cloths at home don't make noise don't make shaddows. Just ease up decide a tree and wait 5 minutes before casting.

Basically be a trout fisherman.

Garnet

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Crystal clear water is tough to fish.

I don't agree with sight-fishing though, because if you see them, they see you.

Instead, I would back-off to where the bass are out of my vista, then use long casts.

Thin diameter line is important, but not because of line-visibility but to assure a natural delivery.

Scaling down the size of the lure can also make a big difference,

because in clear water the larger the lure the more conspicuous are its flaws.

In clear water it's also wise to stick with conservative colors rather than gaudy colors.

Roger

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