Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Catt

How To Handle Slumps

Recommended Posts

Slumps are something we all deal with; I've found through the years the best way to handle them is to get back to basics. I know what my strengths are and fish towards them; I suggest you should do the same. If you are good at Flipping/Pitching, Texas Rigs, Cranks, Spinners, or what ever consecrate on those techniques. If you are good at shallow water, deep water, grass consecrate on those areas.

I've learned to down size my tackle to just the basics, it is extremely hard to be a master of all the available techniques. I'm very good at Jig-N-Craws, Texas Rigs, & Spinner baits so I fish where I can maximize these strengths. I'm not that great with Crank baits so I don't waste tournament time fishing them. I don't try new techniques either when tournament fishing, I do this when I'm play fishing.

I use quality equipment, I consider them tools of my trade and therefore I want the best. My personal chooses is just that; if you are comfortable with yours don't change. If you don't have a problem hitting your target when flipping, casting, or pitching why change. I stick on an average of 90% of the bites I get (landing 95%); if you are sticking/landing less than 75% consider changing.

The most common mistake I see my students make is with the hook set. They are not sure if they had a bite & so they use somewhat of a lazy hook set. I cannot over stress the importance of a solid hook set; speed is the key not strength. If you are a smaller person or woman use a heavier rod to gain the power needed, if you are a larger person use a medium heavy rod to limit pulling the bait away from the fish.

With Crank baits or Spinner baits it easy because the fish is hitting moving bait. With Jigs, Tube Bait, Texas Rig, Carolina Rig, or Wacky Rig it is a little harder for a beginners to feel. I completely believe in the 3 tap theory I learned years ago from Shaw Grigsby. Shaw put it like this The first tap the fish has inhaled your bait, the second tap the fish has exhaled your bait, & the third tap I'm tapping you on the shoulder asking you why you didn't set hook? I teach when you feel a bite immediately drop the rod, reel the slack, & set the hook! It's free so when in doubt set the hook!

So when in a slump I would look for small things to change, like timing of the hook set, speed of the hook set. My favorite buddy & I have been fishing together for about twenty five years & we don't hesitate telling the other when he is not on top of his game. It is not a major change that is usually needed when you are not getting bite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Catt

Wow, an excellent post.  My Bass IQ just went up exponentially!  Thank you for the insight.  Especially since I have been in a slump for a few weeks until this last Saturday, but I do not consider 1 good day a slump breaker.... Need to string several good trips together to consider the slump over for me......

Thanks again  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent thread.

I find that the best cure for a slump is fishing different water. A different lake or pond if possible, otherwise alternative structure, cover or depth. At certain times of year it may just be the class of lures. Although I fish soft plastics year around, this time of year the focus seems to switch to baitfish and I seem to have better luck with minnow type lures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well put

When I'm in my slumps I do start using lures and techniques that I am not confident with and it only makes the slump worse.  You are definitely right that you should go back to what you are comfortable wiht.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in one now that's been going on for 3 weeks... trouble is that I've tried at least 6 different bodies of water, different lures and gone back to basics. Even the pan fish aren't hitting things that they normally NEVER pass up...

Worse, I'm not the only one. Every time I see anyone fishing, I ask how it's going and they all say the same things. They either say "Nothing at all" or "only a few tiny ones all day". I've asked at least ten people.

The only ones reporting any luck are all using live bait. Either minnows, which they use in specific fishing holes, or worms. Word is that green night crawlers are still producing but I haven't tried that so I can't confirm it.

One person even said that they thought the reservoir they were in today had no fish... despite the fact that I looked out and saw half a dozen spots that fry were swarming around at any given time. There are LOTS of tiny fry all over the area, in all bodies of water.

Might this be a clue? I'm too re-new at fishing to know. (I used to fish 25 years ago and just picked it back up again).

Vorlin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My philosophy:  When in slump, fish texas rigged worm and throw it everywhere that looks fishy.  The senko and roboworm are my slumpbusters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vorlin, could you give us a little more information about the area of the country you're fishing. I know from your profile that you're from Fredericksburg; VA is this where you're fishing or another area. The name of the lakes would be helpful, just maybe someone here has knowledge on the lake.

In the fall it's not uncommon to see huge school of baitfish every where especially in the back of creeks. It's my belief that sometimes when bass are feeding on these huge schools of baitfish they'll eat nothing but real baits rather alive or dead.

Based on what you wrote I would throw minnow type baits i.e. small hard or soft jerk baits, small wacky worms, small lipless crank baits, or small crank baits.

I know this is old but match the hatch   ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been trying, even clear tube jigs with silver sparkles are passed up. The only thing they even seemed to notice was when small bass would follow a tiny red-devil spoon in chrome but they only followed it and no amount of stop/go or playing with it would entice a bite.

Fishing spots that went dry include:

Rappahannock around the Rt. 1 bridge (just upstream of it)...

Lake of the Woods main dock...

Abel Reservoir (Stafford Co., I understand that it's *always* tough there)...

Several small ponds including some off the Ni river and a few in Massapannox...

"Preddy's Camp", a local name for the area of the Rappahannock west of Bragg Rd. but East of Motts landing (the roadside pull off point on River Rd.).

Someone who fishes this area a lot said that he never has noticed any good fishing in the fall... it's as if the bass just go straight from the summer bite to hunkered down for winter but that can't possibly be true. One thing is for sure, they're off the summer pattern. Question is, what are they eating now and where did they go?

From the posts on the General forum, it looks as if I'm not the only one who has seen his fishing dry up over the past 3 weeks. It must be some reaction to the weather pattern but fish have to eat at some point and they didn't disappear into thin air so they have to be somewhere.

Thanks guys, any tips are appreciated.

Vorlin / Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest avid

Regarding slumps it is very important to realize that it will pass so do not attempt to kill yourself.  That will only result in a hospital stay, and enourmous medical bills that will affect your ability to fish and further aggravate your slump.  

After personally acquiring the aforementioned wisdom ;)  I decided on a different approach.

#1.  Go to familiar water

#2.  Use confidence lures

#3.  Slow down

#4.  When the above fails use nightcrawlers and minnows.  This will remind you that "yes, there are fish in the lake, and yes I can catch them."

If all the above fail, re-read the opening paragraph.  8-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vorlin / Scott

A slump is usually when fish are being caught but you aint the one doing the catching!   :'(

What you are experiencing appears to have nothing to do with you, the fish just aint biting.   :(

That's why it's called fishing and not catching, all I can say is keep chunking they gotta eat   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Regarding slumps it is very important to realize that it will pass so do not attempt to kill yourself.  That will only result in a hospital stay, and enourmous medical bills that will affect your ability to fish and further aggravate your slump.  

After personally acquiring the aforementioned wisdom ;)  I decided on a different approach.

#1.  Go to familiar water

#2.  Use confidence lures

#3.  Slow down

#4.  When the above fails use nightcrawlers and minnows.  This will remind you that "yes, there are fish in the lake, and yes I can catch them."

If all the above fail, re-read the opening paragraph.  8-)

Avid, you hit it dead on, with #4.  I have actually broke out the light gear, a float and the worms or crickets to catch A FISH.  After I catch a few, then I go back to bass fishing.  It does seem to work most of the time,, it clears the cobwebs and most of the doubts out of the attic.  (it does nothing for the bats in the belfry though) ;D ;D ;D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the thread about the fish being in transition hit the nail on the head. The entire middle and south east coast is messed up right now but, hopefully, it will pass within the next week or two.

Vorlin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bass are relating to bait. It throws a lot of people for a loop even a bunch of crankbait fishermen because they tend to like to keep the crankbait on the bottom to make contact. The fish are not feeding down they are feeding up where the schools of bait is. You might get lucky and stumble onto an ambush point or a bottle neck that funnels the bait but most of the time it is just hunt and peck. The problem with the match your hatch idea is that if your lure is just like the thousands of little bait fish what is going to help the fish pick out your lure from the bunch. Bass pick out the weak and injured and with a plentiful supply of bait if your lure acts like the rest they are less inclined to move to strike. Even if you use a live minnow your bait still doesn't act like a free and uninjured baitfish. The bait will swim slower because it is hauling a bobber, hook and line. It also will not make a mad dash out of the way of the bass which gives the bass a huge sign saying easy target. It is the Bass's nature to pick out the weak and injured at first opportunity.  This is what you need to exploit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am also in a slump right now.  I am in Maryland and fishing the rivers around the bay.  I see bass jumping everywhere around me and it teases me constantly and I get frustrated.  I just get out there as much as I can before the weather totally makes it impossible and continue doing what I know works.  One of these days my slump will break.  I fish mostly senko's because I am comfortable with it and watermelon color is my favorite.  I will not bring myself to the point of using live bait.  It just goes against my instincts, to me if I catch a fish like that it doesn't mean anything to me.  So I will just continue to be patient and wait for my break.  It's all part of the joy of fishing I guess.  Some days we win some days we loose.  What can I say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm near the end of one of my worst years fishing in quite awhile.  Some of it has to do with the local drought and low water levels, some with experimenting with new baits and lastly I've been fishing newer waters I'm less familiar with (an attempt to break the slump I suppose).  This has happened in the past, next year will be better.  Everyone has them, often it's mis-timing and hitting lakes week after week at the wrong time for that particular body of water.  Chasing good fishing reports is also a bad idea.  Don't pressure yourself, enjoy the few fish you're catching and remember the fishing will get better.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest avid
I will not bring myself to the point of using live bait.  It just goes against my instincts, to me if I catch a fish like that it doesn't mean anything to me.  

I fully understand your reluctance to use live bait.  I only fish with shiners or nightcrawlers once or twice a year.  But don't be mislead into thinking that shiner fishing is without sport or enjoyment.  There is a technique to fishing shiners just like anything else.  As far as fun and excitement.  Seeing that bobber starting to go crazy means that a big ole bass in eyeing your offering and the minnow is struggling to escape.  This can really get the juices flowing, You KNOW the bass is there and this momemt can be one of the more thrilling and challenging times on the lake.  

Shiner fishig requires skill.  It is a valid method that deserves it's proper  place in the bass fishing spectrum.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

womanangler1971,

Welcome aboard!

I fish live bait quite a bit. One of those fish in my avatar is my, PB, the other one weighed just over 7 lbs.  Although I fish artificials almost exclusively for largemouth bass, I don't find fishing live bait any less exciting. Nearly all of my biggest smallmouth and all of my striper have been caught on live bait.

When people are in a slump, I think the most important thing they can do... is get out of it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I will not bring myself to the point of using live bait.  It just goes against my instincts, to me if I catch a fish like that it doesn't mean anything to me.  

Maybe I was not clear, when I go after fish with live bait, it is bream, crappie, trout, etc......

It is something that you can use to guarantee yourself a few bites.  Plus, that is the only way I can get my wife to go with me!  :o

When it comes to bass fishing, I use artificial only.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To the person who is in a slump on the Maryland Chesapeke tributaries: I'm in VA working the Potomac and Rappahannock tributaries (of the Chesapeke) and having the same sort of luck... but this may change soon. Read on...

I've been looking into keeping and using live crawfish for bait and one thing I learned is that there is no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to fishing, even with live bait.

The fact is that most of our lures are just fine, if fish hit them sometimes and not others, the problem isn't the lure because it's proved to be effective.

The most significant advice I've ever seen came from a website for a bait manufacturer, it was Fishin' Strips. They weren't even giving advice. Rather, they were talking about the fact that their bait was as good as natural cut bait but they didn't want people to have unrealistic expectations so they had a few disclaimers. This was their #1:

"#1) To catch fish you MUST put the bait where the fish are... and 6 feet DOES make a difference."

It's one of those things in life that struck me as being so true that I memorized it instantly... and I beleive that this is more responsible than other factors when it comes to why many of us, yours truly included, are not catching right now even though we were hammering out full stringers a few weeks ago.

Live bait, cut bait, Fishin' Strips, tubes, plastics, cranks, spinners and all other baits will FAIL MISERABLY is we don't put them where the fish are feeding... and they've moved!!!!!!!

The only person I know who is still catching consistently is a crappie fisherman at my workplace. I spoke to him at length about this slump yesterday and this is what he recommended:

A small (1/16th of an ounce) tube jig on a bobber is what he uses for crappie. It's suspended off the bottom but still kept rather deep. The surface disturbances cause the bobber to "bob", which gives the bait it's action. His opinion is that bass keep interrupting his crappie fishing and he finds them to be annoying.

Then it hit me: He's jigging at the depth that the bass are schooling for shad and they're eathing his bait because it's in their path!!!!!!!!!

Hey, call the crappie a bonus and give it a shot. Nothing else seems to be working worth anything for us lately so there's nothing to loose by trying!

Scott / Vorlin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talk about slumps ! I'm in the middle of the slump from hell, right now ! Five trips in a row without a single Striper ! That's like 50 plus hours ! Of course I'm using a big fish technique, and not expecting 'numbers'.... But still, it's been getting pretty rough.

Anyway, my best way of dealing with slumps, is that I will ususally just switch up to some other species for a while. {I'm just so hung up on sticking a 40 lb Striper right now.....}

Check out this "slump story"...

I once threw a swimbait, for 3 days a week, 8 to 10 hours a day, for 5 weeks without a single fish ! Yes, like more than 125 fishless hours ! No telling how many times I threw that darn 6 oz swimbait, but certainly several thousands....

So, just when I was about to throw myself off of a tall building, I decided to relax, and fish for some big Channel cats on my micro-light (on the same lake). A couple hours into my first Catfish trip, while using a wad of smashed nightcrawlers, I stuck a ........ drumroll please..... 13.0 lb Largemouth Bass !!! Yeeehaaa ! :-)

79c4a080.jpg

I ended up sticking a few good cats, up to 14 lbs, in the next couple trips..... but now that I was feeling better about myself, and not really considering the "tall building leap" anymore, I decided to get back to chucking my swimbait. On the first trip back, POW ! I get blasted on my swimbait.... and this thing is freaking ripping like a freight train ! Ofcourse I'm thinking WRB ! But it ends up being a 21.2 Channel cat, which ate my swimbait ! Go figure :-)

79268f00.jpg

Bottom line is, even when things are brutal tough, as long as you have a line in the water, anythings possible :-)

So anyway, please excuse me, as I need to get right back out there to work on this slump of my own :-)

Peace,

Fish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was fishing for about 90 minutes today (I worked 12 hours too). I had 3 good hits but I've become so ancy that I took it away from them too fast. That's one big problem with slumps... you start trying to do a lot of thing differently in an attempt to break the slump and when you do start to get fish then you mess things up!

I'm not big on catfish but that may be an idea. I'm also considering live bait and going for *anyting* that will hit it.... sunnys and cats included. Any sort of action at all can build into momentum and then I can worry about trying for a specific species after I'm getting action.

Someone in a similar thread talked about excuses... and I could see that if it weren't for the fact that over a dozen people in the mid-atlantic area have hit the same sort of slump at the same time. And I am out there with a line in the water, even during my lunch breaks. I do appliance repair and keep my gear in the van. I fish on breaks and on the way home from work.

Vorlin / Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • fishing forum

    fishing

    fishing rods

    fishing reels

    fishing forum

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass
    fish

×