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army46r

Taking it to the next level

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First of all, this isn't a clear-cut question so I don't expect a specific answer.  I've been fishing off and on for 15+ years and seriously for 2.  I got my boat last year and am starting to learn the use of a fish finder.  It seems like every year I start out hot (during spawn and post-spawn) and then tail off as the summer goes on up here in northern NY.  It also seems like I always resort back to the same old spinnerbait instead of going out of my comfort zone.  What do I need to do to take it to the next level because there are no answers once I leave and am on the water?

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I found that reading.... alot..... about the seasonal movements of bass really opened my eyes. I then took what I read, applied it to the lakes I fish, and really had success. I went the lake with the mindset that I WAS going to catch them differently then I was used to doing or comfortable with.

Best example I can remember, I was same as you, hot early in the year then seemed like the bottom fell out and struggled. I quit bringing the equipment that I commonly used and only brought deeper stuff like carolina rig, deep cranks, drop shot. I had come to the conclusion that (after reading several things from this site actually) the bass had moved off shore into a summer pattern. I targeted channel breaks and swings, humps, any kind of off shore structure I could locate.

What I achieved was vastly improving my confidence in fishing those different ways by catching a few, which in turn gave me incentive to work harder to get better.

You are right that there probably no set answer, but this is what helped me.

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The bass haven't moved offshore, that's where they live!

To take it to the next level, focus on soft plastics and jigs ONLY. Fish deeper structure, for example, primary points.

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When I first started bass fishing in my early teens, I used to catch more bass by accident

during the springtime, than I caught the rest of the year on purpose.

Bass are shallow water creatures, that's their niche, but I think you may be fishing "too" shallow.

I've done some bass fishing in upper New York, chiefly Black Lake and the St Lawrence River.

After the bedding season, the bass abandon the shallow flats. But even so, the deepest

"largemouth" bass I've ever caught in northern New York (dog days of August) was 15 feet deep.

That's not the rule though, in fact it was caught accidentally on a jig & minnow while pike fishing.

For what it's worth, here's what you might want to try.

Using a lake chart, pinpoint the areas that display the most rapid depth change (convergent depthlines)

in the 5 to 10 feet depth range. When you're on the water, concentrate on the trial sites

with the richest weedbeds (in NY: cabomba, underwater cabbage and vallisnaria).

It's not possible to keep doing this without breaking luck :)

Roger

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Since you have a boat now,gather yourself some brushpiles,anchor them real well,go to any main channel points you know of,get on the ends of the points,drop your piles in,mark your point on GPS and BAM!......you're on some fish in the summertime.Larger plastics and jigs will be best to fish your piles with but if you want a real challenge,back off the piles and hit 'em with a deep crankbait.

Making your own brushpiles is an easy way to learn where the bass will be in the summer.Those brushpiles are the basses "summer home",sort of like a condo. ;)

Sink the piles deep enough so that they cant be easily seen without electronics and if you know at what depth your lake stratifies (thermocline) sink them around that depth or slightly deeper.

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I agree with what's been said.Don't forget another hot Summer pattern.If you'll be on the lake a little before daybreak,you'll have a chance to catch a lunker.Big bass move up into the shallows very early to feed before they slide back into deeper structure as the sun gets up.I use topwaters(especially floating j-baits),shallow running c-baits,and downsized spinnerbaits.This is a proven method for me.I'd find a shallow flat with wood and/or grass.The flat should be close to deeper water,as the bass will want a quick escape route once the sun gets up.

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Great information from everyone so far, Rattlinrogue suggested early morning summer topwater and that is one of my favorite techniques as well as one of the most exciting ways to catch a bass so you really should give it a try.  All the lures suggested are good choices but my go to bait for that purpose is a black buzzbait.

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Great information from everyone so far, Rattlinrogue suggested early morning summer topwater and that is one of my favorite techniques as well as one of the most exciting ways to catch a bass so you really should give it a try. All the lures suggested are good choices but my go to bait for that purpose is a black buzzbait.

I'm with ya on that.I like a black buzzbait with a splash of red in it.Some explosive strikes!

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The best way I have learned new baits and techniques is not bringing the lures you are comfortable with along.  Last year for two days in a row I focused on fishing just with a jig.  Now it is one of my "go to lures".  

I did the same thing the year before with soft plastics.  I wasnt confident using any plastic before.  I spent a day or two focusing on the plastics only and became more familiar with the lures.  

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What do I need to do to take it to the next level because there are no answers once I leave and am on the water?

I agree with a lot of the above info as far as techniques... but I would like to suggest that it takes a commitment, first and foremost. You have to be willing to go a day or two or even three without your comforts... and possibly without success. Like in the beginning, it's another learning curve.

Learn to:

-fish deeper (you have to learn to detect subtle bites on worms, jigs, etc.)

-fish more structure (not cover)

-trust your electronics

Summer doesn't always mean go deep. Don't be afraid to fish shallow in the summer time... here in Tx, we fish many summer days in the 100's and can still catch shallow fish even in the mid day heat.

There are lots of good articles on summer fishing and deep water fishing. You should definitely read some of them.

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