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jb_adams

Cold fronts and fish patterns

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I read somewhere here that you can almost always bet on fishing the 3rd day after a cold front, a good rain, or a full moon......or something like that.  Some people swear by this.

What do you guys think?

Also, a cold front come through here yesterday and dropped the temperature down into the low 40's with rain, wind, & overcast.  Today was about the same without the rain until late afternoon the clouds broke up a bit.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny.  Saturday is supposed to be sunny, lows in the 40's with high winds up to 20mph. and a high of 70.

Will this 3rd day after front theory produce good fishing weather based on the forcast above??

What do you think??  Opinions welcome!

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He is the way I look at it and this is from fishing in good and bad weather. I am not a fair weather fishermen by far I love bad weather. The three day idea that people go by is it takes about 3 days for a bass to adjust to a front or bad conditions. When a cold front passes through the bass tend to head for deep cover. They will be in the middle of the stuff not on the edge or above it.  Deep water bass are less effected by fronts. Some articles that I have read say that the front messes with the bass's swim bladder. When you see them under water they have a hard time staying upright. It is like they are drunk or something. Is it true or not I don't know but I do know that the strike zone gets real small and the fish will be in the thickest cover you can find. They will be hugging the bottom and will hit a jig if fished real slow. A mild front will not effect the bass as much and can be good fishing. I don't find that fishing during a front is hard it is after the front has passed that gets interesting. What you don't want to do is start thinking well here is a front I better stay home. Understand that the strike zone is small the fish are not in a feeding mood and you can either slow down and fish deep cover or use reaction techniques to get the fish to bite. As slow as the fishing might be because the front forces the fish into the cover as an instinct response it also makes it easier to find big fish. It is just a matter of picking it apart to dig the fish out of the cover.

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This often confuses me at times. Around here in South Jersey we have small 100 acre lakes, most have a max depth of around like 10-15 feet. If you say theese bass head for deep cover, than where can they be found? Not EVERY fish in the lake is going to be in that one little tiny hole of 10-15 feet range. So where do theese fish go? are they suspending in 6 feet of water or what? most of the time the mean depth is like 4-5 feet.

Please respond, thanks -WM

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Let me explain it like this. Most of your shallow fish will tight to shallow cover and if there is anything that is thick they will be in it. The bass that where relating to the cover either above it to feed or next to it for ambush or comfort will now be in the middle of it for protection. Deep fish will be acting like business as usual because the front will not have a big impact on them. You don't have a mass migration to deep water but if the fish where hanging on a drop they might drop down or suspend deeper along the drop where they are less effected. If no cover is available they will just hug the bottom or hang tight to any bottom structure and become inactive while waiting for conditions to be more favorable. The front does effect the bass to a degree so they will not be actively swimming around looking for forage. The bass will be in an inactive state waiting for conditions to change. It is like a survival response more or less.

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i think the 3 day rule is in general..right.but the pros dont have that luxury in tx.and they dont seem to have problems catching fish.

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I like your explanation Chris.  That seems to agree with many other things I've read.  I just couldn't remember what the 3 day rule was.  I guess I could see how it affects the fish physically.  They may or maynot swim drunk but I can imagine that it would definitely shut em down into a defense or survival mode.

With hunting, the three day rule doesn't apply.  Before and after the front moves through, everything becomes somewhat super active.  Deer and other wildlife will go crazy foraging for food before the front and settle down during only to stay close to their bedding areas until the front leaves or something forces them to another location.  Once the front moves through they go back to normal business and they are usually more active.

With fish being of a totally different type of species and classification, (plus they live in water), I can easily see how fish would be affected by water temp, surface temperature, wind conditions, etc.

Thanks for the tips!

OK, now for my next question.  What do you suggest for really windy days on the lake?  Around 20mph winds, etc.?  I was thinking spinnerbaits buzzed below the surface of the water to imitate erratic shad but I'm thinking deep diving cranks along main points (blocking the wind), or plastic finesse worms around structure and cover.

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On lakes & reservoirs main lake deep water bass are less affected by frontal movements than shallow water bass. During or after a front I'll target deep water structure regardless of time of year

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Let me also add that fish that live in running water are also less effected by a front.

OK, now for my next question. What do you suggest for really windy days on the lake? Around 20mph winds, etc.? I was thinking spinnerbaits buzzed below the surface of the water to imitate erratic shad but I[ch8217]m thinking deep diving cranks along main points (blocking the wind), or plastic finesse worms around structure and cover.

rattletrap-Why reaction strike you can burn it and rip it and force the fish to bite.

wood crankbaits-Why because you can crank it real slow and still have tons of action more than a plastic lure. You also have direct contact with the lure so even in heavy wind you can still feel the strike.

spinnerbaits-Why you can slow roll the lure and put the bait in sticky areas without fear of loosing it and you have direct contact with the lure. You can also shake and rip it for a reaction or make short roll casts to cover for reaction strikes.

heavy jigs-Why reaction strike and you can get it deep in the cover. You can fish the bottom zone and deep water while staying in contact with the lure.

Carolina rig- Why you have a heavy weight that will help feel in heavy wind.

Heavy dropshot- Why you can feel the weight in heavy wind.

Countdown rapala-Why you can count the lure down to any suspending fish and fish the zone they are hanging at.(same with a rattletrap when slow rolled)

Jigging spoon- Why you can fish right above deep fish and the fish kinda hook themselves.

swimming jig-slow moving you have direct contact with the lure.

suspended spoon bill jerkbait- fish it like a worm real slow with short sweeps with the rod

Suspended crankbait- fished like a worm ...drag pause drag pause.

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My fishing partner would love going fishing with you Chris, he says I swap baits too much as it is!  (ha ha)

You just re-assured my suspicions on what to throw.  I was already planning on using a fire tiger rattle trap burned under the surface close to structure, using the spinnerbait, using jigging spoons for deep suspended bass, and a c-rig for the when the wind gets bad.

Now I need to get past the curse of lost rattle traps.  I buy em' & loose em' next trip out......every time!!

If I can use a rattletrap without loosing one and catch a fish, I will stock up on them.  Somehow, I always have bad luck with them.  I've gone through about 6 this year.  None of which have been used and lasted over two trips.  All other baits are not as big of a problem except for lipped cranks.  I still don't loose them as bad as rattletraps.  Not my fishing method, just bad luck!

I think the baitmonkey has a rattletrap fettish! :D

Thanks again Chris! ;D

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Many years back the In-Fisherman published their findings regarding cold-front bass (i.e. findings not theory).

I no longer have access to that article, so I'll relate what they stated in my own words:

Cold-fronts are unquestionably a tough time to fish, not much different from the fall-turnover.

Of course, bass can be caught during cold-fronts and during fall-turnovers, but barnburners are few and far between.

The In-Fisherman staff was surprised to find that during a cold-front, bass do not move laterally,

but move down within the same water column, and sink to the bottom of the heaviest cover.

They are "litterally nose-down, tail-up and in a torpor". Bass do not have to move laterally to be in the heaviest cover,

because that's where they are normally found.

      Two or three days later, depending on the severity of the front, bass will begin to loft above the bottom.

Though many anglers cling to the notion that bass feed best during a falling barometer, In-Fisherman states otherwise (Hannon too).

With successive days of stable weather and a steady barometer, bass will move progressively higher in the weed bed,

and after several days of stable weather they'll be situated "above" the weed bed in an aggressive mood.

I personally have never encountered a situation that refutes any of the above findings.

Roger

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Thanks for the tips guys.  Rolo, I like your information you gave.  Thanks!  That seems to fall into what we experienced in our trip today.

Between me and my partner, I caught the only fish of the day out of 11hrs.  (you're thinking.....WHAT?)

Yep, 11 hours of searching casting, searching, casting, searching, etc.  We had the hardest time finding fish.  When we actually had one cross the Lowrance depth finder, they were usually scattered and relatively small.  The larger fish were by themselves and scattered far apart.

We saw the best groups early this morning when the skies were sunny.  The water temp was around 65.5 and the one fish was caught in sunken tree structure in about 12-20ft.  The water is clear to about 8ft. with a greenish tint.  The air temp. was low 40's and warmed to about 50 then after the clouds rolled in a few hours later, the temp dropped back to the mid 40's and the wind came too.

After many hours of searching deep water, shallow water, feeder creeks, etc.   No fish.

We'll keep trying.  

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OK, I asked a local guy that knows the lake really well and he said that we should have tried the dropshot when the cold front moved in.  My partner and I have never tried this technique before because we have heard that it is extremely boring and very challenging.  The bass we found were anywhere around 30ft. on drops to 45ft hanging tight to structure (trees).  Anything else was at the very bottom around 60ft and I don't think it was bass.  We couldn't even find fish in 8ft. of water.  The wind drove them into deeper water.

Is this a must have technique for cold front fishing?

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JB, were you fishing Beaver Lake?  For any of the deep, clear lakes on the White River, you need to learn how to drop shot, even when there isn't a cold front.  From post-spawn through early October, all of the fishing reports for Table Rock stated that the bass were deep, all the way down to 40 feet.  I only fished the lake once this year but the reports proved to be true.  I assume Beaver is going to fish similar to Table Rock.  If you're going to catch fish on these lakes consistently, carolina rigging and drop shotting is the way to go.  I'm not a big drop shot fanatic either, but I realize I better become one for these lakes.  

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Dropshot was on the list above ::) Small lure fished in one spot for a long time that is easy to eat yeah it fits the mood of the bass in a front. You can do more with a dropshot then you might think and it has gained a place in my bag of tricks when conditions turn tough. I dropshot a bunch in the fall through winter and some in the summer and spring time bed fishing. Is it a must know technique sure because it will expand you fishing bag of tricks and will put fish in the boat when other techniques fail.

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Small lure fished in one spot for a long time that is easy to eat yeah it fits the mood of the bass in a front.

Chris said a mouthful, it's very true that the best delivery during a cold-front usually means "small", "one spot" and a "long time"

One day during a nasty cold-front on Farrington Lake, NJ, my wife and I were marking time. It was one of those days

when you couldn't buy a strike, but finally after several hours I did manage to boat one "small" bass and lose another small bass.

Funny thing, I felt better about 1½ runts then I might've felt catching a limit of bass on an easy day.

Strange but true, this was the only approach that worked that day, and I've used it many times since with decent results:

The lure was a 4" T-rigged jelly worm behind a 1/16 oz bullet sinker. Without casting the worm, I lowered the rig to the bottom,

virtually under the boat. After the worm was laying on the bottom, I lifted it about an inch or two off the bottom,

then moved the rod-tip horizontally about 1-foot to the side, then held the rod in place. I waited while the lure swung

like a very slow pendulum (tip-top guide acting as the fulcrum). When the line was finally vertical (lure under the rod-top)

the lure stopped gliding and I'd move the rod-tip back to its original position, then hold it motionless in that position.

Again, I'd wait as the line glided slowly back to the vertical position like a slow pendulum.

It was the lazy, slooow back-&-forth motion of the worm that triggered the strikes, although the hits were mushy and indistinct.

Needless to say, this approach is most effective on familiar lakes, where you know the exact holding sites of bass.

Roger

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