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FatBoy

baitfish - good or bad?

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I fished a new lake tonight.  Looked really promising with lots of brush, blowdowns, and grass near shore.  I only caught bluegill (on 7" Berkley powerbait worms!), but that's another story.  Anyway, I saw lots of smaller baitfish and bluegill (like 1-3") near shore.  Would you consider that a good thing or a bad thing for the presence of bass?

I can see it both ways.  In one way it seems good since there's food there to attract the bass.  On the other hand, given that there were lots of them swimming around happily with seeminly no worries  ;) it could mean that they know they're safe because there are no predators (bass) around.

So how do you see it?

Thanks!

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If you didn't see bass chasing baitfish shallow, it could mean the bass were deep due to water temperature or sunlight or they just were not in the mood to feed.  It could also mean that there are very few bass there.  An abundance of small bluegill can indicate that a lake is overpopulated with bream, but it would probably take a fisheries biologist to determine that.  I'd keep trying different times of the day and different depths and bait presentations before I gave up on a piece of water a beautiful as what you described.  

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I"ve been in similar situations.  I've seen dozens of bluegill swimming around the surface and some 2 to 3 pound bass swimming right next to them.  Bass will definitely eat bluegill.  There may have been bass in the area, but not in the mood to feed.  When I saw the bass near the bluegill, I tossed a few lures their way, but they wanted nothing to do with my offerings.  This time of year, the bass are going to be more active in the deeper, cooler water.  They may come up shallow to feed, but usually in the early moring before the sun hits the water or in the late evening or at night.  Try that spot again at like 5 am or at night and I bet you will get bit.  The conditions will be low light, so I would add some brass and glass or a rattle.  In low light, a black spinner bait with big thumping colorado blades is a killer too.  Some scent wouldn't hurt either. I like Pautzke's gel krill.  Just smear it on your bait and sinker.  With that stuff, you can almost dead stick it and it will attract fish.  Good luck and let us know how you do.

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Bass and bluegill come from the same family scientifically speaking, so were you find bluegill 99% of the time you will find bass.  It could be that the bass population is low and the bluegill population is overpopulated.  It also could be that the bass are deep just as clipper said.

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Thanks for the tips.  This lake is unfortunately not one I'll get to fish often since it's a bit far.  But it looked promising enough to make the effort.  

Spinnerbaits, huh?  Man, I've lost more spinners on snags than I've caught fish on em.  I guess I need some more practice.

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Ive been fortunate enough to observe large bass in clear water near bluegills and other bait.Something Ive noticed is that big bass occasionally come in from the deeper water into coves etc.and swim in close proximity to the bait.There is no panic in the baits attitude.Then the bass will exhibit a strange behavior and start flexing their jaws as if stretching,the bait starts becoming scarce,and in these clear waters ,thats when my shiner will get blasted.I only get to fish once a week  usually when I go, but I fish at least 8 to 10 hrs solid in trophy waters.That will put you in touch with a feeding cycle of the big girls.

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A very similiar thing happens on my ponds.............at least this one. I was out on it saterday for some recon, I thouht the bass populaton was getting low, and the bluegills were getting out of hand, I certainly was catching lots of small 4-6" bluegills, BUT upon further reveiw, I don't think I have a problem. I noticed the bluegills schooled up by size, so naturally the smallest bluegills would be the most abundant and in the largest school, bigger bluegills were in smaller schools and related more to cover than the small ones that just swam about the pond, suspending in 4-5' over various depths. Now the really bigbass in this pond just lay up under some cover and wait for the small gills to swim by, but the aggressive 1.5 - 3lb bass swam directly underneeth this bluegill school, no doubt to nab a few stragglers, or for the occasional raid.

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