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NJfishinGuy

fish movement?

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ok me and a buddy found a new fishing whole. its a old sand quary about 100acres with a max dept around 50ft. very clear water around 15ft visibility when its sunny.anyway we fished this place for the the first time and i came across a large offshore hump. 35ft on the outside and 11 was the highest point i found. probably a little smaller than a baseball feild. grass on the top and on some of the drops to about 20ft or so.  ok now you got the situation heres my question

we fished this hump for about 2 hours straight and caught about 30 bass off of it on about every other cast. we had a light wind. after the wind died the bite died off. went back later on and still no bite. we fishing the lake the next day and only hook into about 4 fish after fishing it for a few hours.  

where do fish move when they leave offshore humps like that? i havent found any more humps in the lake, theres are some large point which hold some fish but not in such a concentration like the first day.  i gotto find these fish!

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i fish a hump in a phosphate mine that is very similar just not as big.if the bait fish are on the top of it bass are there, when they move off so do the bass.i have had limited success fishin the deep water surrounding it but not often.i can tell you that the bass relate to the hump because of the bait,but where they go when the bait isnt there im not sure. i know they dont go far but getting them to bite is another thing.at times they move up and down the slope .depending on the water temp they may even suspend.

for two weeks strait we caught fish on a shell bed that was on the slope from 28' up to 16' at rodmans.fish moved ontp the shell bed all day long.last sat. in a tx. we pulled only two keepers off of it.go figure!

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If we all knew the answer we could sell 10 million books. They will move up, down, sideways, to the nearest cover, or out over deeper water to suspend for a while.

You just have to fish them and hope you stumble across them. Even if you find them you may not know it as they probably will be in a non feeding situation and you will never know that you went through them.

I would look for any unusual spot like a depression, underwater bar, or any brush or trash that you find in the deeper areas. Try fishing them at night. If you do, fish them like you did when you caught them the first day. Most fish will stay around that depth at night instead of going up shallow.

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I did some research this weekend waiting for my flights to and from New Orleans and reviewed  Al Linder's book, Largemouth Bass, to refresh my memory.

Al discusses tracking studies and he says that these studies show some generalizations:

Some bass rarely leave the shallows while others occupy middepths or deep water.

One group occupies a definite home while others constantly change locations.

Bass become active and hunt prey at a wide range of temperatures.

Bass rest most of the time, becoming active and seeking food at regular intervals, often around dusk and dawn.

Resting bass are not always in cover but usually spend time near small openings in cover or where two cover types meet.

Bass may also suspend at middepths and may feed on the surface in open water.

Bass know their way around a large body of water, making their own milk run during the day and by seasons.

Bass rarely go deeper than 15 feet.

Bass react to changing water quality involving oxygen, temperature and salinity by moving.

Now, with these observations, let's look at feeding strategy.

There are four basic feeding strategies:  1) running down food; 2) stalking; 3) habituation, and 4) ambush.

Habituation means that the bass swim with or hover over or around other species without giving off strike signals and then they swiftly strike at the prey.

You know about the other three feeding strategies so use techniques and presentations to improve the probability of having them hit your baits.

So what prey are in the quarry and in your opinion, which of the four methods will your quarry bass use to feed?

Now, your body of water and the bass.

Remember, WEEDGROWTH is your best place to find bass so look for weedgrowth that the bass can swim in, around, over and under plus travel to and from any other weedgrowth they can find.  Stumps, rocks and other structure on the bottom will also hold the bass after they leave the hump.

Remember the shallows?  As you know, bass like to feed in the shallows and like a fast run to the shallows and a rapid escape back to deeper water. So try to find drop-offs and points, especially the ones with grass on them.

Look for edges and other variations in the weedgrowth, plus any wood in the quarry.

Any flats around? Any flats around with weed clumps?  A flat on an underwater point is excellent and it will hold bass all day long.  And a hole near a drop-off is attractive to bass.

Are your quarry walls going straight down to the bottom?  If so, you will have to read about western fishing and how those guys catch bass off their rocky cliffs.

So with all of this wonderful information, you can now look at the bottom of your sand quarry and determine where the bass go when they leave the hump.

And don't forget that bass follow the baitfish. Baitfish like the weedgrowth to hide themselves from other predators.

The bass probably have a pattern so try to figure out when they visit the humpmorning, evening, cloud cover, bright sun, windy conditions, water temperature, after rain, etc. Then you can find them on the hump when conditions warrant.

But you also need to find out where they go to rest, in about 10 to 15 feet of water or in thick weeds or pads or by stumps/wood or shoreline undercuts, etc.

And why is the wind so important?  It helps introduce oxygen into the water; stirs up the baitfish; causes commotion on the surface which can get the bass excited; and it blows the baitfish and their food into an area which the bass will follow.

You need to do some research on your quarry to try to find the bottom structure; any cover and if there are any underground streams feeding the quarry, which will also attract the bass. Try to find a map, if possible.  Maybe your city or county has a map showing contour lines, etc. of the quarry.

What would be even better is to try to speak with any of the people who worked the quarry, if they are still alive, and they can give you some insight.

Now isn't this an easy answer to your question?????

Good luck and let us know what your research finds and where you think the bass go if they are not on the hump.  :)

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Sam, I agree with most of Linder's sayings but strongly disagree with the bass rarely go deeper than 15'. If you are going to consistantly catch the larger fish around here you better be deeper than that. Or in the heavy grass.

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Yes!

The heavy grass.

And I agree with what you are saying.  I know bass go deeper than 15 feet.

I think Linder meant on the average they do not go deeper than 15 feet.

But go tell the guys out west and on the Great Lakes and get their feedback.  :)

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Great stuff, Sam. Thanks for the synopsis.

Contrary to my usual tack, I'm going to go for a simple answer here. The bass didn't move. That hump will hold lots of bass all summer and well into fall, if not all winter.

My guess is that two things accounted for the difference in catch rate:

1). Wind ruffled the surface making it easier to present a lure without putting the bass down with the lure and line on the water. This can be an issue in clear water.

2). You had already stuck 30 bass, and probably pricked and tipped off  some more. After the wind died down you had a bunch of jaded bass (in very clear water) to deal with.

I would have done one more thing before I left: Go to a finesse rig -6lb or 4lb line and one of the many jig-worm (slider, shaky, flick-shake) or grub options out there. Maybe you'd pluck a few more from that hump.

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yeah i figured i just beat the hump that first day i thought id find some more stacked up the next day especially when a storm and wind picked up and started moving in.   we will see if i make it back this weekend

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sometime soon im going to try and go to the local country court house and try and find the blueprints or something from the place. maybe i can find some more great offhsore spots i havent come across yet

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Interesting discussion. Don't forget, the Lindner's original book is dated. Not outdated mind you, but it has to be taken with more scrutiny these days, in light of new, more current information and studies. Before I sold my collection a few months ago, I had all the original In'Fisherman magazines ((first 72 issues). Some of the "facts" they presented are humorous by our standards today. Some basics are non-changing, but even Al catches LM regularly in deep water.

Regardless, if you are hitting bass on a hump and they shut down, don't necessarily conclude they've moved. Underwater videos have shown that large quantities of bass will just sit there, on the bottom, not actively feeding (especially in rivers!).

I'd check to make sure that you can still see bait on the sonar. If so, the bass are probably still there. This is the time to change-up, down-size and experiment. But to do that effectively, you have to be convinced there are fish below you! Here's where an UW viewing system, like a Marcum, is invaluable.

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Okay, now im thinking alittle different on this topic. I dont think the fish moved. I think they are possible still there but they are just line shy. An more than likely you were using the same baits correct? When fish see the same bait over and over they slowly start getting the hint.

Many time you can fish a pond and hit it one day its severly good. Cast after cast fish on and fish on. But soon those bass that are caught get so line shy that they wont bite for a day possibly even a week.

Now what i suggest is that if you had such good luck there, than go back there about a week after and try using a different bait than usual. I feel you luck might just come back.

Also when your out there and you find a good school of bass. Try throwing a crank to get some reaction bites and hook up a few bass first. Than throw a jig but work it decently fast. This too will pick up some reaction strikes but will also be worked alittle slower than the crank and give the bass more time. Lastly throw a t-rigged plastic worm/lizard/tube. Let it sink to bottem and work it nice and slow. This will finally get most of the rest bass that are sitting there to hit. Careful these last few bites might be sensetive.

Hope this helps!

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When I suggested that "the bass are still there", that does not mean that they don't move in relation to that structure, or around that structure. Here are some things to think about as you ply that fish magnet you found:

When bass are feeding, they likely move onto the shallow areas of that hump, (where the food is), often onto the tops and edges. This is the type of situation we want to find: Active, aggressive, and relatively shallow, bass. They are not always doing this though.

Bass do rest, and sleep, awaiting the best opportunities to hunt. When they rest they either drop a bit deeper off the sides, particularly sharper inside turns in the wall, or, in some waters, they may suspend out away from the structure. This is more likely in very clear waters, those without much cover, and, as has been suggested by some anglers, those waters that are fished incessantly. In many waters, or locations, bass rest inside of heavy cover -like weeds.

Now, say you've found active fish and just caught a bunch off the top of that hump, then it starts slowing down. What should you do? Well, what are the bass doing? Do they turn off like a light switch? Sometimes it can happen that way. Often, I think, this is because we intervened in the interaction between predator and prey often by excited, sloppy casting. If I find a place where bass are feeding heavily, I am careful in my approach. I slip in quietly, cast from a distance, cast off to the side and retrieve in, doing my best not to disturb things too much. I first may try to pluck fish from the edges of the activity. And intermittently rest interior areas (not too long as you have to act when the gettin's good). I also may switch lures as I work the area as the bass will get jaded toward lures.

A good example of this is when I target bass that are targeting spawning bluegills. The carnage zone is often a pretty small area, and if I cast sloppily in the area I may catch only 1 to 3 bass before things suddenly get quiet.  I've learned to be careful about how invasive I get, or the way in which I get invasive on that spot. It pays.

After things get quiet, bass in many waters I've fished do something pretty specific in relation to a piece of structure; They move to the next safer location often the next piece of cover or depth break. (It may be a parallel movement along a contour, or deeper, depending on what the bass deem safer). I've actually watched this happen, in my clearer ponds. Bass holding, and feeding up on a shallow shelf or cover piece, get wind of me, then move slightly deeper and stop at the next cover piece. I follow. They get edgier, and move to the next, before finally dropping out of sight. So, when I return to that location another time, I have some pretty important information. I start (carefully and out of sight) at that shallow feeding shelf, catch two or three then, when it quiets, I move to the next break and carefully pluck another one, then to the next, before I lose them or put them completely off.

But this is not just specific localized information; It's a habit of bass I've seen repeated many times in many waters. Think about this when you're eyeing a piece of structure.

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