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Needemp

Your most effective way of catching suspenders

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I fish a lot of pressured lakes, and I know one thing you can do is to target shallow structure. They are suppose to be easier to catch. But everybody is targeting those fish. I believe that after a little while those bass in the shallows become even harder to catch, especially quality fish due to the pressure.

I have heard that catching suspended bass is from difficult to impossible. For some reason I don't want to totally believe that. In your experiences, what is your most productive way of catching these suspendies? Please include times of year(especially summer) and conditions (if possible) and if you have several techniques. Or let me know if you have spent a lot of time targeting suspendies without any luck. I would definately appriciate it!

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I have seen suspenders in a lake that I know has NO Stripers and they were busting on the surface.  I could even see the streaks on my Graph.  But.......I didn't get one bite.  I generally say that if they are completely unrelated to some form of structure, skip it.  I will make the exception if they are feed directly on shad at the surface.  In that situation, the surface becomes some what of an edge and they are catchable.  Sorry.

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Guest the_muddy_man

Thjeres a little silver clasp on the end of them just clip it onto your pants

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When fish are suspended they are normally in a neutral to negative feeding mood.Quality fish can sometimes be impossible to catch while suspended.Pressure due to boat traffic and fishing pressure will cause them to suspend.Lack of current will make them suspend on my home lake which is a river resevoir.Mature fish spend a majority of their time during daylight hours suspended over deep water.They are very tough to catch.

I think there are couple ways to draw a strike from a suspended fish.A reaction strike or a finesse presentation.Jigging spoons,dropshot,jig worms,and jigs are what I use to "try"to catch suspended fish.

Stroking or popping a jig off the bottom is the best way on the waters I often fish to catch suspenders.I let the jig hit the bottom then lift it high off the bottom then let it fall on a slack line.You may try the same with a jig worm.

You may keep in mind that suspended fish aren't always in a negative mood.They may be suspended in a resting stage(these fish are definately not in the mood to bite).They may be suspended in or around cover,structure,or just below baitfish and ready to eat.Fish suspend for more than one reason.

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Sorry man... I don't really agree with that. I've caught quite a few fish while they were suspending. You have better luck catching these "suspedies," as you put them, on cloudy days... but they're not impossible to catch on sunny days. I'm from Missouri, and even on the hottest days here, you can still pull decent fish out of the water.

First off, most fish come UP for food. Not too many go down, unless their sitting close to the bottom. I believe that the conditions of that day determine how far a fish will actually come up for the bait. Fish don't like the sun, especially on those hot summer days we all love. When the suns out and beaming down, thats when you fish lower (4-5 feet under surface.) On cloudy days, I don't care if they're suspended or not, throw topwater. Thats why you get those explosive strikes 30 feet out from the bank. They're coming up from suspended waters and hitting it hard.

My most affective ways of pullin them out while suspsending is either a black booyah 3/8 buzzbait, a nice looking rattle trap or a jewel 1/2 "jolt" spinnerbait (single colorado blade is huge, lots of vibration.) Rattle Trap on those sunny days, and buzzbait or spinnerbait (prefer buzz) ran about 4-5 feet under the surface on cloudy days all kill. Best technique for all is just to run them slower than usual, but not too slow.

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Your most effective way of catching suspenders

-With my shoulders.  I'm short but this still works for me on most days.  :)

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Okay,I'll try to make this more clear.First I was posting about Largemouth,which are ambushers more often than chasers.I would say it would be hard for them to ambush while suspended without cover.I believe they come up to feed on the surface and to the water column holding the baitfish.Like I posted,fish suspend for more than one reason.A largemouths habits are going to vary from lake to lake.I should have also mentioned that I was refering to deep fish(10-30 ft. deep).I was also talking about post-spawn and summertime patterns.Sorry my post was a little wild.It was a long day. CJ

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CJ, I understand what your saying. How often do you target the suspenders? And how long do you fish and how many, on average, do you catch in that time frame? I do believe that most of them are in a nuetral state, but on days that they are not hitting anywhere else due to pressure, etc., I want to target structure like you said in 10 to 30 feet of water. I am starting to realize that bass may be on certain structure, say that is in 30 feet of water, but be suspended 10, maybe 20 feet above it. Those are the goobers that I want to catch.

BassSnatcher, I also am a fellow Missourian. What do you mean by decent fish? Over 3 pounds? 2 pounds? Where do you fish? Does the water clarity play a factor?

Thanx guys!

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Needemp,How often do I target suspenders?Not to be a smartie but,when the fish are suspended.I try not to target suspenders.I never target fish suspended at 10 in 30 ft. of water cause I can't catch them often,although I did catch a 5 lber just yesturday suspended in 20 ft. on a jigworm(I think it was luck).I mainly try to target fish that are feeding no matter what their position.The fish on my lake usually suspend in the deeper water and move to the shallower ledge or hump to feed.I usually wait on them to move up to feed.I refer to suspended fish as fish that are inactive(not chasing bait at the surface)and suspended in deep water,not close to the bottom.As I mentioned,largemouth like to ambush their prey.Spotted bass and smallmouth are not as adequite feeders,they are chasers.They may be suspended yet in a very positive feeding mood.From what I have learned on Tablerock,jigging spoons and dropshots may be your answer?

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CJ, I know your not being a smart a**, just having a healthy discussion. But I do believe that bass will eat while suspended. It may not be a huge portion of them, but at times I believe that might be the best way to catch quality bass. Like I said before, I am talking about  pressured lakes that are 100 acres or less. At Tablerock, Kentucky Lake, Lake Ozarks, big resevoirs I know it is easier to fish text book areas, but small lakes that have been pounded to death, the only unfished areas on Sunday afternoon that aren't pressured are open water areas. If you havent had this situation too much, then I appreciate what you can offer, but I was kind of hoping to find someone who has experienced this and been successful. I do know about targeting structure that has baitfish, that has cover and all the right situations, but when those areas are non-productive, thats when I want to try to catch suspenders (and no- I don't mean Dockers brand either. I don't have any idea what they eat. Ha Ha!)

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Well, the bottom line, which has already been mentioned, is that suspending fish in open water are the hardest to catch. I'm not saying that you can't catch them, just that "targeting" them is a long shot. Now, if we include "suspending" fish on structure or cover, that's a differnt ballgame. Those fish are waiting on easy pickin's. Lures fished at the correct depth can efffectively trigger a strike. Crankbaits are one option, vetical jigging (spoons or jigs) is another.

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Roadwarrior, when you say suspending fish on cover, what do you mean exactly? This is an area that I am having trouble visualizing.

Is this an example of what you mean; a ledge that is in, lets say, 30 feet of water peaks at about 5 feet. That leaves the top of the ledge in 25 feet of water. Are you saying bass that are over that ledge, but are suspending 10 feet above that ledge, (which actually puts the bass in 15 feet of water) are relating to it? Is that one senerio of a bass relating to structure? Is that the kind of thing you are talking about? I really want to fully understand this concept and up to this point I do not.

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The bass were suspending on what looked to be old standing timber that was 5-6 ft high.I was fishing in water 12 ft deep(which is deep for my lake).

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Roadwarrior, when you say suspending fish on cover, what do you mean exactly? This is an area that I am having trouble visualizing.

Is this an example of what you mean; a ledge that is in, lets say, 30 feet of water peaks at about 5 feet. That leaves the top of the ledge in 25 feet of water. Are you saying bass that are over that ledge, but are suspending 10 feet above that ledge, (which actually puts the bass in 15 feet of water) are relating to it? Is that one senerio of a bass relating to structure? Is that the kind of thing you are talking about? I really want to fully understand this concept and up to this point I do not.

I can remember pre-fishing for tourney's and then on Friday before the big day, whammo, a front comes through and all my fish pulled off feeding patterns along structure and/or cover and were suddenly just sitting in open water off that structure (usually).  You could see them on the graph.  I'd use various methods of trying to put a bait in front of them to no avail.  

John Hope did a pretty extensive study in the late 80's on big bass that included radio tagging, scuba diving to actually verify where those radio tagged bass were at and also attempting to recatch those fish.  Most large bass have a home base, usually off points and very close to the nest site where they were initially hatched from. They'll have pretty specific cruising patterns when they're in a feeding mode.  That feeding mode usually involves the fish cruising banks around that home area in 5 - 12 feet of water. They move up shallower when they detect something of interest like a possible prey source.  The rest of the time they generally suspend on their home area.  Hope determined by visual observation while scuba diving and watching as an angler above dropped various baits in front of their nose, that these fish were virtually impossible to catch.  They were in a complete negative feeding mode.

Now, a smaller minority of large bass spend most of their life in shallow water. These fish rarely venture into deeper water.  These fish are harder to catch than the deep water fish since they're exposed to more lures throughout the year but they can be caught.

As for your idea.  If you're thinking that you'll tap into these suspended bass and fill the livewell while other anglers flog the bank and or structure without success I'm afraid it just won't happen.  Yes, suspended fish can be caught but not easily and in most cases, not at all.  I'd be spending my time finding different ways of coaxing bass relating to structure or cover into biting by offering up different baits or presentations.  

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Needemp,

In a river, smallmouth will suspend near anything that creates a current break. Those fish I target. In a lake, Kentucky bass will often suspend at the thermocline on structure that attracts baitfish. Those bass can be caught with a vertical presentation.

The bass that are so hard to catch are largemouth suspending in deep water. As has already been noted, these fish just "live there". They have no interest in feeding. Still, if you can put a lure or bait right on their nose, sometimes you can get a strike. Specifically, in one of my ponds I have tremendous success along a ledge. The bass stage there and occasionally come in to hunt bluegill and other baitfish on the shallow ledge. I fish deep, off the drop and cast parallel to this structure. Even though the bass may not be active, they often strike. This, I believe, is why I am able to catch big bass during the middle of the day.

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Very interesting subject. I don't use fancy electronic equipment because I fish a fairly small lake. In my lake, I consider a "suspended" bass to be one that's hanging out in depths of at least 10 feet and not by any particular structure that I can actually feel. I've seen the lake when it was about 15 feet low, so I have a good understanding of what is and isn't down there.  On July 4th this year, I caught two 5.25 lb bass, a 4 lb, and a 3.75 lb on a jig-n-pig jigging up and down very slowly. All were hanging out in water at least 10-15 feet deep. I know the lake well enough to confidently say that they were not on any structure at all other than a slow declination in depth.  The many dinks we boated that morning were all shallow(less than 6 feet in this case). Oh, my partner caught a 5.25 lber also which made three of the exact same weight that day. Don't worry, they're all still there, lol.

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Try a Smithwick suspending jerkbait (silver with a blue back and orange belly)

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Find where the thermocline intersects bottom structure.  In my lake, thats at 30 to 35 feet.  Deep points can be hot spots.  Fish slow

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Guest ouachitabassangler

From about June 20 until a fall cool-down I spend most of my time on deep schools, suspended around structure, over a plain bottom, regardless. They suspend motionless digesting food this season. Bass are gluttonous, greedy critters that will always take one more mouthful if it's easy to get, even with shad tails poking out their mouths and trying to swallow them. Their metabolism is peaked, and they are feeding heavily, digesting meals much faster than any other season. They might not bite good for the first hour after feeding, but the most aggressive will feed sooner. Keep in mind the biggest bass are mostly loners with some roamers, but rarely if ever attracted to large schools. Younger bass school up and appear on the sonar screen as a large group. Those bass are much more likely to grab most baits presented close and slow enough. Large loner bass are a lot harder to get to bite whether suspended or ambushing. That makes for some bass to grow large, not eating everything they could eat. You need a more natural appearing lure for those fish, and the lure needs to come by them while they are in their hiding place waiting for an easy meal.

My main approach is to locate them then try to bang their snout with a vertical jigging presentation, or a slow rolled in their face meal. Dangling a lure like a spoon, in-line spinner jerked erratically, or other deep fishing lure is something that gets their attention and often arouses them from a negative mood. Dragging a large long billed crankbait on the bottom will often draw them down a few feet is suspended close to bottom. Lures right above them are more likely to be bit, but if they are ON bottom then jigs, C-rigs, or anything else fished on bottom works well if fished slowly enough to aggravate them into biting when not hungry.

I look for deep humps in summer, those on the edge of a channel they use to migrate to feeding areas nights. Suspending bass often prefer to suspend close to a large structure like that, not holding out around typical smaller feeding structures. The ideal place is where such a hump, ledge, or ridge is close to a vegetated feeding flat that has ditches/cuts leading directly into a channel. They feed there and won't swim way off to suspend, stopping at the first handy rest stop.

Stripers are often the species you see ganged up way out in open water, suspending after chasing open water schools of shad. Largemouths are more opportunistic, scavengers, ambushers, while those big schools of large fish are baitfish vacuum cleaners on a large scale. I avoid fishing large suspended fish that appear to be large individuals unless taking someone striper fishing. They don't much bother with eating little LMB lures. You need 7" and larger lures or over-sized live shad for those.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I just noticed Mudcatwilly's post. That's true. Our thermocline starts at 17 feet as of yesterday. That'll change so it requires frequent monitoring. Any bottom contour at or above 17 feet is eligible bassing territory. They won't be found suspending deeper.

I think it's a good practice to watch pros fishing if your lake has one visiting often enough to spot him or her. I always try to imitate what Mark Davis does on Ouachita. You won't find him lined up taking a turn at shallow water where the bass are spooked, used fish. He'll get away from the crowd and go after bass that spend their days deeper than the shallow roamers. I'm a strong believer most big bass mostly come into 10 feet of water or less to spawn. They will feed mostly where few anglers fish, around deeper structure where baitfish will pass on their way to open water. Baitfish, unlike bass fry and shore minnows, don't hang out around shallow water because they are bothered too much there, so they head out ASAP to the deep to get lost in the vast expanses of water following clouds of plankton swept by wind or other current. Big bass have learned to just wait next to a regular travel route used by baitfish. Those bass will also seek out deep schools of bream which leave the shallow areas once their monthly spawn is done. However, they tend to suspend deeper than bass are willing to stay, but when they do come up to feed shallow they become easy targets.

Jim

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I like your response ouachitabassangler. You bring up some good points

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