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FatBoy

what makes a pattern?

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How many fish do you have to catch before you can call it a pattern?  For example, say you catch one bass on a shad-colored rapala DT-10 along a ledge.  That fish could have just been passing by.  Or he may have hit a bright colored bait just as readily.  Or he might have gone after a totally different bait, like a senko, in the same spot.  So one fish can't make a pattern.  Do two fish make a pattern?  Or three?

And once you catch one fish, how long do you keep throwing the same lure in similar areas before you figure out whether that one fish was the start of a pattern or just a fluke?  

I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't what to be a junk fisherman.  But it seems like I usually catch one fish, then nothing on that "pattern" for a while, so I change up my lure or place.  Then I'll eventually catch another, but then change up again...etc., etc., etc.  

How long should I stay with a given lure/location to try to establish a pattern?  How often do YOU switch.  

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First I start by rigging up the night before with lures that according to the weather conditions, should work well on the water the next day. After I catch one bass with a certain lure, I will look at how I was fishing the lure, and were the fish was when he hit it. If the same retrieve was used in a similar place to where the first fish was, and I catch another fish, then I know I have established a pattern. Usually if you catch two fish the same way, you can almost bet that you will get some other fish with the same lure. Unless the pattern changes due to weather or water conditions.

An example would be if I was throwing a black spinnerbait into the "Y" of a submerged tree, and retrieve at a med pace and hook a bass. If the same thing can be done repeatedly, one of the current patterns would be throwing a black spinnerbait with a colorado blade into the "Y" or next to a submerged tree and retreiving at a med pace. Not just throwing a spinnerbait as some anglers believe the pattern would be.

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Just as it's definition suggests.

a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies,(specific bait, retrieve, location) , forming a consistent arrangement or characteristic (fish in the boat)

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First ones luck, second one is coincidence, third one is a pattern, whether it be lure, lure color, depth, speed, type of cover,.For instance if you catch 3 different fish all on different lures, but they came out of 6fow along a rocky shoreline, you have a pattern on depth and structure but not lure choice.Now if that was me, I'd fish them rocks at that depth for a while trying different lures and retreives.I can't tell ya the exact time I would spend on that peice of structure.It all depends on how long it takes to try several different presentations.

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First, a pattern does not start with the lure, but rather a location. When you rely on the lure to do your searching for location you will be generally headed for a poor day of fishing. Establish where you will be fishing first based on season. Next establish a more specific location based on structure or cover. Then look for fish located on that structure based on wind, sun, etc. If, for example you find that you have fish on the lee or windward side of structure or cover you have discovered a pattern within the seasonal pattern. You then want to refine that if you can by bait choice, meaning the fish's bait choice. If you are able to do that you have established the ultimate pattern within the patterns.

Seasonal pattern; locational pattern; positional pattern, and choice bait.

For example:

It is early spring: (pre planning)

Seasonal - the fish are pre-spawn and should be staging outside of known or likely spawning area.

Locational - (pre planning) outside the spawning areas chosen to try, there are some humps, creek channels, stumps, or other distinctive differences.

Positional - you fish the windward side of a point and catch nothing, however as you work the lee side you catch a fish almost immediately.

Bait - you have found the fish: now see if you can establish a bait that works better than the rest.

Put this all together and you have established the complete picture.

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Merci Beau Coup George   ;)

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When people see a fish or a picture of a fish you caught, the first question is almost always "What were you using?" That question is followed by ""What color(s) was working?" As George points out, structure/ cover, depth and presentation are (almost) always more important than the specific lure. First and foremost, you have to find the fish.

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First, a pattern does not start with the lure, but rather a location. When you rely on the lure to do your searching for location you will be generally headed for a poor day of fishing. Establish where you will be fishing first based on season. Next establish a more specific location based on structure or cover. Then look for fish located on that structure based on wind, sun, etc. If, for example you find that you have fish on the lee or windward side of structure or cover you have discovered a pattern within the seasonal pattern. You then want to refine that if you can by bait choice, meaning the fish's bait choice. If you are able to do that you have established the ultimate pattern within the patterns.

Seasonal pattern; locational pattern; positional pattern, and choice bait.

For example:

It is early spring: (pre planning)

Seasonal - the fish are pre-spawn and should be staging outside of known or likely spawning area.

Locational - (pre planning) outside the spawning areas chosen to try, there are some humps, creek channels, stumps, or other distinctive differences.

Positional - you fish the windward side of a point and catch nothing, however as you work the lee side you catch a fish almost immediately.

Bait - you have found the fish: now see if you can establish a bait that works better than the rest.

Put this all together and you have established the complete picture.

Excellent, succinct explanation, George.  What more can be said?

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Seasonal pattern; locational pattern; positional pattern, and choice bait.

Great stuff, GW!!!  I'm going to put that to good use.

BUT, when you're working on establishing the location and position patterns, you've got to choose SOME KIND of bait, right?  So, in your example, I'm not catching anything on the windward side of that point, how do I know if the fish aren't there or if I've got the wrong lure?  Or maybe a better way to ask it is how long do I fish that windward side and how many different types of lures do I try before moving over to the leeward side?  

Fill me with your wisdom, brothers!!!

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Fish the entire water column top, med depth, & bottom

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Guest avid

I have read alot of fishing articles over the years.

I have never seen a more simple, direct, and clearly understandable explanation of how to establish a pattern than George's

It's a formula that can be followed anywhere, anytime, by anyone

I   to you GW

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Thanks George, truly an exceptional explanation.

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FB,

To adequately answer your question would take a lot of writing, however, be slow to change baits. Work more than one similar location with the same bait, then change up and come back through. If no success, move on to something different in location type. Most often it's not the bait, it's the location.

Remember, at this point you are trying to establish a population on a location, and if you are using baits that have proven themselves in similar situations previously, then they should work now.

If at any time working a location you get hit, then it's time to look for something possibly better in the arsenal.

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George, That was a perfect explanation.

Well done,

GK

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FB,

To adequately answer your question would take a lot of writing, however, be slow to change baits. Work more than one similar location with the same bait, then change up and come back through. If no success, move on to something different in location type. Most often it's not the bait, it's the location.

Remember, at this point you are trying to establish a population on a location, and if you are using baits that have proven themselves in similar situations previously, then they should work now.

If at any time working a location you get hit, then it's time to look for something possibly better in the arsenal.

Alrighty.  So what you're saying is to pick a starting bait based on some rules of thumb about what should be good for the given conditions and structure/cover you're targeting then go from there (ie, try something different once you've caught at least one fish).  

I should have picked up on this before, but I think the most important thing I've learned from this thread is that location matters more than the bait.  Is that right?  

I usually spend a lot time fishing one spot (or at least a small area) while running through different baits looking for the "right" one.  But if I understand you correctly, what I should be doing is spending more time trying different locations with the same bait (or switching baits only as appropriate for the given structure/cover).  I've been going about this BASS ACKWARDS (pun intended)!!!

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When establishing, or attemtpting to establish a pattern I keep in mind that there are many fish in many different locations willing to take a swipe at many different baits at any one time. I lean towrd attempting to clue in on the most productive pattern  such that the catching part of fishing is maximized. To take what GW a step further, I break it down methodically as such:

Initially starting out with seasonal pattern for location, and then location for potential species and bait type.

In less than 15ft of water i break the H2O column into 2 parts; Bottum (cover) relating fish, and non-bottum (structure or suspended) relating fish.

Pick the two most "prime" areas, and cover them thoroughly using high reaction type baits I am comfortable with, and then less reaction type baits I am comfortable with.

If you dont pick up multiple fish by one or more of the 4 techniques in the two areas either you are off on your seasonal pattern, or an environmental factor has caused a very negative "bite response".

Keep in mind, that if you catch a fish, there was a reason that fish was there. That fish has found a way to make a living due to some factor associated with that particular spot. Replicate the spot, and you will more than likely replicate the result.

As for the time investment, when attempting to "establish" a pattern, I give each technique 30 min. per spot. This ends up taking 2 hrs per spot to cover 2 fast moving lures and two slower moving lures. During a tournament I generally reduce this to 15min, and reduce the techniques down to 1 technique slightly slower than mid and 1 slightly faster than mid.

If I do pick up fish using the aforementioned set of guidelines, but they are not the quality or quantity I need in order to produce the desired results, I either explore deeper water, or check out the niche type possibilities you may encounter associated with certain seasonal movement patterns, ie find schoolers, or isolated deep structure fish realting to transient bait schools.

Just my 2

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