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Needemp

Reaching balls of shad in 17 to 25 feet of water

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Last saturday I went fishing with cart7 and we located balls of shad in 1 to 10 feet of water. These bass were very picky about size of lure, color, and retrieval speed. I started cathing them on a rapala diver that dives about 6 to 8 feet deep. It matched the size of the shad and the color. I also tried throwing a deep diving crank that did not match the size or color and caught no fish. Cart7 tried a chartruese lipless with no fish, and a rapala almost exactly like mine with the exception that it was dark blue on top and caught no fish. He then tied on a smaller version of my lure that was the same shad color that I used and started catching them.

With the pickyness of these bass, my question is how do we target those bass that are feeding on schools of shad that are 17 to 25 feet deep, usually 5 to 10 feet off the bottom? Its likely that they will be that picky about our lures down that deep as well. What lure besides a swim bait will match the 2 to 3 inch size of these shad and look like one of them? How do I get that deep with a small crankbait? I need help!!!!

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There are lots of ways to get shad colored cranks down that deep.

A chome and blue ratl-trap or a Norman DD22 will both go deep.

You can even buy sticky weights that attach right to your crankbait, or try carolina rigging a crankbait.

I'll bet if you experiment, you'll find something that works.

Keep us posted.

Dan

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A grub on a jighead can work well with schooling fish, but I have never had very much luck with fish that deep if they are suspended. I have tried jigging spoons with very little success. Good luck.

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Sounds like you need to troll some umbrella rigs...J/K ;D

Norman DD22 on some 6 or 8 lb diameter or smaller braided line, prollie wouldnt hurt to put some suspend strips on it.....Also a drop shot with Zoom's "The Fluke."

C-rig with a floating bait, Deep diving jerkbaits in the right color and right retrive can also get some great hookups. just some ideas.

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you might want to try a drop shot rig with a sluggo or a soft jerk bait!  This will keep the bait in the strike zone and the action sometimes bass can not refuse to bite.

Good luck

Todd

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I like the c-rig a crankbait idea, drop shotting might not work because they were nailing a fast retrieve. In fact, as I was reeling it in I could feel it bumping off the shad and the shad bumping it. When that happened, thats when those bass would crush it. I have been finding lately that the most realistic looking lures are the most productive. LighteningRods idea was a good one, but I wonder how well it matches the shad. I could be crazy or it could be just luck, but they seem to destroy realistic cranks and swimbaits.

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Mike, I don't know if you saw it on your depthfinder in back but I could clearly see bass suspended off the bottom about 4-5 feet on a couple of those deeper aerators.  On a couple occasions when we were just sitting there a fish clearly came up from the bottom into 4-5feet before it disappeared off the screen. Had I  thought about it I would have brought the dreaded Hopkins jigging spoon and vertically jigged for those fish down closer to the bottom.  I'll probably go back and try that as soon as this broken finger I just got last weekend mends. It's kinda hard to cast right now with one of those metal splints on your casting hand.  :-X

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perryco6ql.jpg

Here's a googled image of the lake we were fishing. Those whitish dots in the middle of the lake are actually aerator boils.  In an effort to boost crappie production, The MO. conservation department installed about 3 punp stations along the bank which pump air through pvc piping out to aerator heads.  This allows the lake to maintain a good oxygen level from top to bottom. It also prevents the lake from stratifying in the summer as well.  Shad congregate around these boils.  I've never had the kind of success that Mike and I had last week fishing those even though the conservation department always says they're good spots in their fishing prospectives.  Most of those are in 18 - 28 feet of water.

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Hey Glen, that sucks about your finger. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with. Give me a buzz when you can go again. It was definately a good time.

To be honest with you, I am not that experienced with depth finders so I had not noticed bass. When you pointed out the balls of shad near that aerator and on that hump, I only noticed the forage and some structure. I just need to learn how to read one better. As far as the spoon, I thought that was pretty much a cold water lure. If that would work, I might give it a try on Sunday. Joe and I are going to fish it in the morning.

You know, if had a really nice wife, she could cast for you and then you real it in ;) I'm sure she would love  6 hours of that ;D

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I tried flippin a worm at that one aerator that had all the tree tops around it.  Figured the bass might be suspended in the trees and coming out to feed on the shad.  Jigging spoons can be used in winter or summer.  I've caught fish with them but they're not a favorite bait.  If you can find some I'd suggest waiting till those shad are tight in those aerators and looking for the fish down below them.  I'd drop that spoon down and just raise it and let it flutter back down like a dying shad.  

As for the finger, I had a large tree branch come down in the backyard on Sunday night.  Was out chainsawing and got it slammed between branches. I figure I'll be ready to go back out next weekend.

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Thats good you'll be able to get back at it that soon. Joe and I are going to fish all the points, structure and cover and try to stay away from the aerators unless we cant locate anything. We are going to fish it in a way that will help us in tournaments down the road. The deep structure and cover around those aerators ought to be pretty productive. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow evening.

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