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Brian_Reeves

Conventional vs. Unconventional

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When you're out on the lake and conditions are tough, how long does it take you to slip into unconventional tactics?  Like shallow cranks in 50ft of water, 20+ft crankbaits in 4ft of water or soft plastics in the middle of the water column looking for suspended lockjawed bass?

I've been comparing some of my fishing tactics and techniques with a lot of other people's on this site and I realize I'm a completely off the wall fisherman.  I start off with unconventional tactics and I hardly ever throw a bait the way it was designed to be thrown.  I'll dig cranks, rip rattle traps, swim ikas, crawl jigs, and hop carolina rigs before I even try the "proper" way to fish these baits.  My chaotic tactics pay off more times than not and when they don't, I slip into more conventional and finesse styles of fishing.  How often do you catch yourself trying crazy stuff?  How often does it work?  Are you conventional or unconventional?

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Truth be told, I'm too conventional.  I tend to use lures only in the manner in which they are designed to be used.  I could definately benefit from some out of the box thinking.  It's not that I don't have some of those ideas, it's just that I can't bring myself to do something that I have no confidence in.

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I would consider myself more of a conventional fisherman. I have been known to try some crazy stuff from time to time. But more often than not, I can find a more conventional bait or presentation to get mah feesh.

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When you're out on the lake and conditions are tough, how long does it take you to slip into unconventional tactics? Like shallow cranks in 50ft of water, 20+ft crankbaits in 4ft of water or soft plastics in the middle of the water column looking for suspended lockjawed bass?

I've been comparing some of my fishing tactics and techniques with a lot of other people's on this site and I realize I'm a completely off the wall fisherman. I start off with unconventional tactics and I hardly ever throw a bait the way it was designed to be thrown. I'll dig cranks, rip rattle traps, swim ikas, crawl jigs, and hop carolina rigs before I even try the "proper" way to fish these baits. My chaotic tactics pay off more times than not and when they don't, I slip into more conventional and finesse styles of fishing. How often do you catch yourself trying crazy stuff? How often does it work? Are you conventional or unconventional?

I guess this would be considered "chaotic junk fishing" Hey I just made up a new name for a fishing technique! I usually start with the tried and true baits fished as they are supposed to be fished and if I don't get on a pattern in 3-4 hours you will find me slinging all kinds of baits around with reckless abandon until I figure something out or wear myself out.

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I don't do things in reckless abandomnemt. I do things like this because of 3 reasons. Either it's worked for me in the past, I have an idea going that I think might work, or I'm too lazy to change baits. ;D 9 times outta 10 There is a method to my madness and most of the time I have this kinda psychosis planned before I even hit the water.

I  agree that at any given time, a more conventional style will always catch fish.  I don't like to throw everything in the tacklebox at them til they bite though.  I want them to bite what I want them to bite on.  That's why I use so many different styles and presentations and I try weird, and new things to get them to bite.  Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not.  But everytime I try something 'crazy' there is usually a reason behind it and I always have faith in what I'm trying might be the trick.  Afterall, I am trying to replicate something I'm seeing (like a feeding mood of bluegill or a crawfish going for a morning jog by running along the bottem)  

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Good question.

Frustration usually gets me to try other types of baits fished in different manners.

Like slow rolling a spinnerbait; throwing a Chatterbait; going Wacky Worm deep; going with a deep crankbait in shallow water to stir up the bottom; trying a Carolina rig with a plastic lizzard; trying a frog or a topwater; throwing a spoon; going to a buzzbait during the day; and anything else I think will work.

I also will go deep off the bank with a drop shot rig when I was fishing shallow; fish deep with a crankbait, Rat-L-Trap or spinnerbait when I was fishing shallow; or even try a plastic worm, especially a Gulp! product either deep or shallow.  

I like using the Gulp! products as they attract bream and I think if the bream are in the area then there is a possibilty a bass is swimming with them or thinking about eating them.

Do these changes work? Usually, no.  But it is something different to do before I go back to the baits I like to use and the methods that have proven to catch fish in the past.

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Never.

Nope, I'm not kidding, never.

If I'm not catching fish, the fish aren't biting. That happens occasionally, but not often. The chances of catching fish, even when it's slow, is much better if you maintain focus and fish the way the you know consistantly works.

As an example, last weekend I fished a local pond that is very productive for me, but fishing was slow. I fished a Micro Munch Tackle jig with a GYCB Fat Baby Craw for ten hours, on and off, both days. I only got three bites, but I caught three very nice bass. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

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I'm with RW.  I'll fish what I know works even if the bite is slow.  Going 3 hours without a bite is worth it if in the 4th hour I get a better than average bite.

I'm a firm believer in "you can catch fish on any given day if you've got confidence in what you are throwing."  Unless of course you choose to fish where there are no fish!  ;)

I have a plan laid out prior to any day on the lake even if it's fun fishing and I stick to it.

I'll only fish something I dont have confidence in if I've put my mind to it ahead of time to learn it.

B

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I hardly  call some of those presentations uncoventional.  

Traps being ripped is pretty standard retrieve, hopping or dragging any baits is just method of retrieve.    Sometimes bass want it dragged, sometimes lifted off the bottom.

Adjusting speed, presentation or method are adjustments that veristile fishermen do to get bit.

Is it unconventional to catch bass by ripping traps?   Not hardly.

Is it unconventional to catch bass hopping a jig or worm or spoon off the bottom?

Nope.

Making those subtle changes is what good fishermen do to get bit.

Unconventional to me is using a crappie jig to catch bass.    Fishing a 7" ribbon tailed worm with a flyrod.    Pitching and punching grass with heavy jigs on a spinning rod.

Sorry aitn't Texan, I think you are becoming versatile, a better fishermen by changing up retrieves and presentations, hopefullly it doesn't take all day to make those changes.

Matt.

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thats why i like to fish by myself,i can get on a point or a cut that i know holds fish and wait em out.there are only short periods of the day that bass are active feeders.about as unconventional as i am is w/ a trick worm,i'll rig it every which i can to entice a bite.weighted, unweighted,t-rig,c-rig and drop shot it,swim it, jerk it,wacky,dead stik it,ive even put a nail in the tail to get it to fall different...all in the same spot .when the bite gets slow or tough i slow down,hunker down and wait em out.NOW...in tx. i dont do that im always moving and throwing every thing i got untill i find fish then try and slow down but most times that dont work.if a bite is on then i may try some un things to solicite another bite but if its not its usually by the book.

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Matt Fly,

Agreed.

I didn't mean to imply that I never change my presentation or lure for that matter. I mostly fish soft plastics, especially this time of year, but the bass sometimes prefer one profile over another. I basically fish Senkos, Fat Ika and tubes with identical presentations: slow, 6-12" sweeps. With a tube I sometimes try an elongated hop. In deeper water, I always fish a weighted bait which for me usually means a worm or tube. There is nothing "unconventional" about this approach.

What I was thinking, and maybe the point of your post, was that I don't switch to topwater in the middle of the day or fish a pink lizard! Now, I'm not saying those won't ever work for other fishermen, just that this isn't the way I fish.

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Just going to follow RW around.  No holding hands though.  :P

His response to Matt is my response.  

B

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Guest the_muddy_man

Im the other way around.When the fishing is tough I try to stay with time proven stuff

 When Im catching fish with ease is when I start trying new stuff. This is usually with a lure or presentation Im not famialr or good with. The other thing I like to do is carry some old,beat up lures with me.When the fishing is good Ill pull one out and mess with the Bill, The Eye something that will change its action and have some fun with it and try to catch fish this way A few of these alterations have now become part of my daily arsenal 8-)

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hmmm...a good question.

I would have to say I am somewhat unconventional. I am pretty conventional when it comes to plastics, but cranks, top water, and other hard baits I usually do not fish them as they were intended. I do the deep diving crank in water more shallow than its rating all the time. I also throw cranks into some places my partner thinks I am nuts and use combo's that do not typically go together...put weird things on the ends of jigs and the like. I am also one of the few guys in our club who throws things like sonic spoons, weedless spoons etc etc...but I think that is just our club since it seems I have heard about guys on here who throw those lures.

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Matt Fly is correct.  These are just different presentations and there is nothing really unconventional about them.  Now, if you want to talk about unconventional, how many of you texas rig a crankbait with a bullet weight? ;)  Now that's unconventional, and to be honest, I don't think it would be useful in hardly any situations. (But it is an example of being unconventional.)  So I would consider myself to be conventional, but versatile.  

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I am definatley an u unconventional fisher. I don't believe that just because some baits are good for certain things that there not going to work in another.  I rarely use anything but worms no matter where I am and I always seem to pull out more fish then my buddies.

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Guest the_muddy_man

I think I want to add another point here This may be more weird than unconventional.

 This year I have taken to spending some time minniow and shad watching I pick a place high on shore and I have been watching schools of both bait fish This is especially when there is a maurding young bass or 2 around I watch the baitfish and try to figure out why the bass eat the ones that they do When they are in schools together there are always a few sick or hurt bait fish acting differently from the others and a lot of times they wind up to be dinner

 Then I try to get my lures to act like those fish that were erratic and eatin. I dont know if this is overkill but iI even have taken to working baits in my bath tub to try to mimic what I see  ;)

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AT, it sounds like you're a versatile guy, who likes to expermiment. That's what this game is all about. Keep it up and let us know what's working for you.

You want unconventional, try a carolina rigged buzzbait :-/

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Guest the_muddy_man

Hey Gohiti I kid you not. I was fishing at a river and a guy was carolina rigging hot dogs for catfish!!!!!!! :D  What a waste of good doggies ::)

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Hey Gohiti I kid you not. I was fishing at a river and a guy was carolina rigging hot dogs for catfish!!!!!!! :D What a waste of good doggies ::)

That's what I said about the chinese food place down the road :-/

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Guest the_muddy_man

That's what I said about the chinese food place down the road

That is definitely BOUNCE WORTHY!!!!!!!!!

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Guest avid

I love to experiment and will often be fishing with lures, colors, or in places that many others wouldn't do in the same circumstances.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  But I can tell you that there are a few things that I will fall back on when times are tough

the method is go shallow, go slow, go plastic.   It seems to me no matter how tough fishing is on any lake If you rig up your favorite plastic worm, fish it in the shallows looking for obvious fish holding cover like weeds, logs etc and fish very slowly, well I feel confident that I can catch a fish or two.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

"Unconventional" means to me simply doing something bass don't see much compared to seeing a rain of plastic worms dredging through a hydrilla flat all day every day. I can find out what is currently conventional by just observing the hundreds of straight trails cut through topped out vegetation along a shoreline. Anglers are lined up tossing buzzbaits and frogs from insdie to outside. Those trails can be just an inch apart, each boater adding another parallel trail every few feet. What do the bass think about that? Old hat. You aintagonna catch me lining up to add another trail! "But everybody's doing it!" I don't care what they are doing unless they are catching. Most of those guys rarely get bit doing that. It worked earlier in the season, but not now. It's used water, like buying an old NYC Yellow Cab on auction. If I don't see anyone fishing the deepest edge of the hydrilla, that's where I'll fish my spinnerbait or jig or C-rig, or whatever reaches that depth and stays there in a strike zone longest.

I fish according to the thermocline. "THERMOCLINE? Is that like the hole in the ozone layer?" Of the whole a very small percentage of fishermen use the internet or read books, most not having a clue about that. If just 10% were on the web we couldn't get a word in edgewise. "Server busy, try again." Not knowing is conventional. Knowing such things is unconventional.

Unconventional draws laughter or shaking heads here sometimes, but not when it produces. That's when jaws drop. I tied a white buch-haired Arkie style 1/2 oz jig 18" below a clear Spook at noon a couple days ago, my partner almost falling out of the boat laughing. I quickly became the only bass catcher we'd hit on. Reluctantly another similar rig was hitting the water over that main lake point, in wind and choppy water. We just let them ride the waves. Sometimes bass hit the jig, other times went for the Spook. That partner has been catching walleyes and stripers on that rig from the bank below the dam since then. What was rediculously unconventional is now conventional for him.

A boater and his buddy came up to see what we were using. "Been watching ya'll do pretty good. Any size? Whatcha usin?" "Why, that's the craziest thing I ever saw." They left laughing, witnessing its effectiveness. But my bet was once out of sight they tried that ;D

Jim

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I was about to be unconventional today and cast a full oz saltwater topwater bait at this boat that kept trying to cut us off from some schooler action that we found.  They ran in on top of us and then kept cutting us off over and over again.  I was about to start fishing out of their livewell.  I hate it when people have no common courtesy.

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