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jaskoh

Pattern Criteria

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When you discover a pattern I was curious how many similar traits do you need to feel comfortable that another spot on the lake fits the criteria enough to produce.  Such as having the same water temp, water clarity, type of cover, bottom contour, ect...  I know ideally we would like to have as many as possible but in general how many traits do you need to gain confidence in the new spot.

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That all depends on the pattern discovered.    One on some days, and multiple pieces of info to unlock the puzzle on others.

Matt

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The main two I look for are depth and structure/cover.  I classify everything else accordingly, but those tend to play the biggest roles in my experiences

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Some days are diamonds, some days are stones, some days I'm better off never leaving home.

It usually takes about 3 or 4 bass then I'm on pattern  ;)

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It varies from time to time. Deep water is always a factor, wind comes into play, water clarity, shade and sunlight, bottom content and specific cover i.e. docks, buck brush, rocks, stumps, laydowns, standing timber, etc. I have had several times that there are 4 common traits and I have had other times that there are only 2. One definite ingredient 100% of the time, and this is huge, there has always been water present. I start there most of the time

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The two things I look for first are depth and cover/structure.  Wind direction is a close third.  I fish from the bank 75% of the time, so the first thing I do is throw out a jig or t-rig to get a mental picture of what is on the bottom.  After I get an idea of what's in front of me and how deep it is I'll try to position myself so that the wind is blowing across the spot I want to fish and toward me.

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If you are fishing 200 boat docks on a lake, first off, lots of lakes have building criteria on certain bodies of water.

Like using steel pole for corners, or Wood.      If you are flipping docks and you catch a bass on the shaded cormer on a coupel of  dock, what more do you need to attack all shaded corners.

   In Texas, we havent had the brutal cold front to drop most lake temps, but when it does happen, one of the first places I check on one lake is the walkway pilings going to the boat dock.    These would be the wooden poles that are shallow and heat up faster.      I have noticed on Cedar Creek, that bigger bass like to move from under boat docks around 10ish on sunny days to warm up in shallow water.   kicker is, its the docks with beech sand in the shallow.     The softness asorbs heat and warms faster.     So once I find one big girl sunning, then its on like Donkey Kong.

Matt

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Depth and structure are obviously key as mentioned by others in this thread, but depending on the season, sometimes one factor can be big.  In the fall on the lakes I fish, if you can't find shad you stand a big chance of catching very little.  Watching for birds feeding and shad movements is a big part of my fall fishing.  

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Diving Birds has been good pattern also.     Cheapest fish finders on the market.

I try to employ the birds as often as I can.      

Funny story, I had a few boats follow us a few years back, we were targeting the late fall open water schoolers.      

You know the drill, if they are busting the surface, a stealthy approach may keep them on top longer and we have had the same two boats come running up on them two days in a row.

On the third day about the normal times, we saw them coming out of the marina, so on this day, I brought a tube of crackers and crushed them and scattered them on the water.

The birds came, so did the boats as fast as they could, and we slide out went up into a creek.    WE lost them using an old trick I had seen striper guide use on locals who did the same when the big show was going on!!!!

Matt

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The first thing you need to ask is what is the difference between fishing spots verses a pattern? Spots are spots or known areas that hold fish seasonally and making a milk run from spot to stop isn't a pattern. A pattern is when the bass are relating to specific prey on the same type of cover or structure. It is not unusual for larger reservoirs to have several patterns occuring at the same time. For example during the fall transtion period it is common for lakes with threadfin shad to have bass targeting the shad in brush located near deep water breaks, then the sun rises and the shad move off shore and school. You are fishing a pattern when going from one brushy area to another and catching bass using shad type reaction lures early during low light hours, then switching to targeting school bass later in the day. You would be pattern fishing if you watched the shad school approach a major point and went there and started to catch bass feeding on the shad school as it approached the point. If you ran from point to point and hoped the bass were their feeding and fished every point until you caught bass, then you are spot fishing because you have no idea why the bass are on some points and not others.

Locating the thermocline at 20' for example, then metering under water structure that intersected 20' and seeing fish on that type of structure would also be a pattern, if the next structure at 20' held bass.

It's not uncommon during the fall period for bass to be targeting crawdads migrating from shallow cover areas to deeper areas with rock, wood and clay. You could located points with rocky clay and some brush and find bass feeding on crawdads at 8 feet, then find similar locations and catch bass at 8 feet on crawdads type lures. These are examples of patterns. Fishing a row of boat docks isn't a pattern unless a specific type of dock held bass and others didn't and if you can determine why, then fish that one type of dock and repeat a pattern.

WRB

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... These are examples of patterns. Fishing a row of boat docks isn't a pattern unless a specific type of dock held bass and others didn't and if you can determine why, then fish that one type of dock and repeat a pattern.

WRB

Good reply WRB, but I think you described pretty much what we consider a pattern to be. At least Jaskoh and I. I can't speak for others but most answers seem to agree with that. And as for the row of boat docks, I agree. There are a lot of fisherman that fish every dock on a bank. That can be good if it falls in a pattern AND there is good structure and cover related to every dock, but I very rarely have seen that. In fact, when I fish docks, I rarely have more than 3 in a row. And true, they have to fit the criteria of a pattern otherwise I am looking elsewhere. Also check out a this topic dealing with spots and patterns. http://www.bassresource.com/bass_fishing_forums/YaBB.pl?num=1193199836

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Truth be said, my inital reply was to simplly say some times they can be that simple and one piece of info is all that is needed.    This topic has barely been scratched.       Visible known targets are easier, but what about the open water, no visible clues?

My philosphy is to always find the food source, which for my lakes is shad primarily, and I find it alot easier to pattern the shad at certailn times of the year instead of trying to figure what the bass are doing.

Theres more than one way to skin a cat!!!!

Matt

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True, Mattfly, shad can be easier, but there are times when imitating crawdads produce bigger bass. This is my preferred pattern. Also there are times that you find the shad but they are not as compressed together, indicating nothing is feeding on them. Yes there might be some bass close by in ambush, but that often times is more difficult for me. Don't get me wrong, I target shad when I need to, but the crawdad is my bread and butter.  :o

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