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Snakemover

Catching bass during feeding

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Hi. I'm new to this board, but I've been reading it for a few weeks. A friend took me fishing last year and I got hooked. I'm still learning about bass. Reading the posts and articles here has helped a lot, but I had a strange experience the other day. I saw shad feeding at the surface and they would occasionally splash and change direction. I'm guessing there was a bass under them. I tried using a top popper with no luck. I tried a 1/2 oz rat-L-trap and a Rappala DT-10 shad with no luck either. I even threw a plastic worm and got nothing. I'm fishing in Mt. Ilse Lake in NC. It an 80 year old reservoir with clear water and no grass. I was in a cove with the water ranging down to 25 feet. I would throw the lure past the bait school and reel it back through them. I tried different speeds and depths and had no luck. Can anyone tell me what I was doing wrong? Or better yet, how to do it right? I don't have the depth finder mounted yet, so I'm using a topo map and looking for structure and other things you folks talk about here. Thanks for the help.

Dennis

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SnakeMover,    first off, Welcome to the forum.      Are you sure it was shad on top of the surface?

HOOkem

Matt

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Yes, the school came close to the boat a few times. Little silver guys about 1.5 - 2 inches long.

Also, I keep hearing about fishing deep for bass during the heat. How deep is deep? The lake I fish is 60 feet at its deepest. What depth is the best to catch bass during a really hot day?

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Welcome Snake!  Can't really help you as far as boat fishing, as I'm a bank fisherman....  :(

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Look on your topo for steep drop offs or points. Fish will usually rest on these. Say at one point it is 5 feet of water then the next topo line you see is 25, go there! Always look for structure and skipping a plastic worm under docks can be very procutive during hot days.

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You said that there were shad playing on the surface. The fact that they are changing direction is just shad being shad. There might not have been any bass feeding on them at that time or there might have only been a few bass and just by coincidence everytime you  casted your lure you might have missed where they were at. But your best chance of catching bass feeding on shad is a lure that is as close to the color, size and speed of the shad.

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Welcome to the boards SnakeMover!

If there were bass under the shad, two baits come to mind. One would be a shad colored 4" Senko (wacky rigged) and the other would be a white or smoke colored 3-4" tube (rigged weightless). I'd throw either bait right into the middle of the shad and just let it sink down through them. If there's bass under them, they maybe waiting for something to trigger a feed and seeing an injured shad float down through them. If the water really start erupt then go to more active baits like the popper or RatLTrap. Hope this helps!

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I've struggled with this situation myself. Through the years I've found that sometimes I can hook a good bass way underneath the school for some reason. It just depends on how deep the water is where the shad are located. I've generally had best results with any lure resembling an injured shad such as a twitching and dropping a Slugo or similar soft pastic finesse baits like that. If the shad are located above deep water, I usually have caught the smaller bass shallow and the best ones at least 6-15 feet under the surface. Earlier this year, we did well casting all around the shad with spinners and pork trailers. My buddy caught a 9 pounder in a big school of shad that way, but they were only in about 4 feet of water.

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Welcome aboard!

I suggest focusing on lake points. This is the predominant structure that bass will key on, especially if your lake lacks natural cover (vegetation). Fishing for suspending bass is what I would consider an advanced technique that is not often productive. Your time and effort is better spent working baits and lures on areas that generally attract baitfish and predators: steeply sloped points surrounded by deeper water.

Spend some time in the BassResource Library, especially the beginners section. There is a lot to learn and this is the best place to start. Once you have an overview, ask anything you like on the board, our members are very helpful.

Good luck.

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