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Mobydick

Where do baitfish move?

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Do they move like bass from season to season, or do they have their own patterns? Thanks!

                                                       Ian

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Hey Moby: I do not know how to do it but if you can do an on-site search in the General Fishing Forums last year some time MATT FLY and CATT did some excellent posting on this subjest! It was really in detail and very readable.

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Muddy, I couldn't get the search to work. I'm not very technologically advanced.

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well, if you think about it, the bass eat the baitfish, thus what ever the baitfish do or move dictates where the bass will be. fishing would be a lot harder if the bass had the baitfish in check. ;)

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well, if you think about it, the bass eat the baitfish, thus what ever the baitfish do or move dictates where the bass will be. fishing would be a lot harder if the bass had the baitfish in check. ;)

Yes, definately, but do the baitfish move deeper at certain times. I know the bass are with them, but see, if I cant find bass or baitfish at certain times of the year, is there any certain place that I should look?

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PM Matt Fly I am sure he can lead you to his piece, it was very informative and detailed

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well, in most impoundments these days, there are many more types of forage than just "baitfish" that bass will feed on. that probably explains why you can have fish on riprap that could be keying on crayfish, and on the other side of the lake have bass chasin schools of shad on flats.  but to what your talking about is open water baitfish, like shad and the like. im pretty much in the same boat with ya on that one.

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There should be a thread titled "Know Thy Shad".

I did search, but I couldn't find it.     I'm sure Catt probably has a copy somewhere as well.

  I think there was two parts as well.  

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Thanks Matt I do not know how to do a search like that I tried and it is just what Moby is looking for

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Moby,

        In the mean time,  try some of Raul's threads.    Great reads, and not your typical magazine write ups.

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The mouse for me is shad, shad is the dominate bait/forage in 90% of all Texas lakes.     There's so much you can say about shad and seasonal habits, gizzard or threadfin.

Gizzard shad often out grow bass that feed upon them.     Stripers were stocked in Texas lakes to control them since they grow 16-18 inches.   Appearance is silver to white with very distinct forked tails.    Threadfins tails have a yellowish tint of color to them, thus the reason we dip our baits with a little chartreuse dye of some type.   A threadfins jaw extends past the snout where a gizzard shad is more blunt nose.    Both have the dot on the shoulder behind the gill.

Threadfin shad live primarily on microscopic plant and animal life, phytoplankton and zooplankton, which are why they are often found around rock riprap, bridge and dock pilings, and areas with gentle current where algae grows or is washed into the system. They are more surface-oriented than gizzard shad, and frequently move in huge schools just under the surface, sometimes migrating for miles each day.

It is now well-established that massive concentrations of threadfin shad seek shoreline cover each night. This cover can take the form of grass and moss beds, logjams, or even standing timber and brush piles if that's all that's available. This cover provides them with some semblance of protection from predators like largemouth bass.

Early in the morning, generally shortly after dawn, the threadfin leave this shallow water cover for deeper haunts where they may disperse slightly for the balance of the midday period and early afternoon hours. The threadfin then re-group and return to the shallow water cover late in the afternoon, frequently by reversing the same exit route they used that morning.

Why is bass fishing good in shallow water early and late each day? The answer is because the shad have already moved in for the night, or have not left for the day. Why does the morning action frequently end just after the sun peeks over the trees? Because the shad have left and the bass are following, but not necessarily feeding on them.

Even more exciting, perhaps, is the knowledge or fact that if these "ambush points" can be identified, there's a good chance bass will attack them there again that evening when the threadfin migrate back through on their way back to the shallows.

What do you look for in a shad migration route? It's difficult to pinpoint anything precisely because much depends on the characteristics of the lake. Perhaps the best thing to do is immediately check any areas where you see and experience surface activity between bass and shad with a depth finder to determine what's on the bottom. The shad may be following a ditch, small creek channel, or some other specific terrain feature you may then be able to backtrack to their nightly hideout.

When do shad migrations take place? Again, the answer depends on the lake as well as on their temperature driven spawning cycle. Threadfin shad spawn in shallow water coves from late April into July, depending on the surface water temperature. The optimum spawning water temperature is 68 degrees.

Threadfin shad grow rapidly - life expectancy is two to three years - and the migrations from shallow cover to open water tend to occur from late spring throughout the summer and well into autumn. Again, much depends on the lake; the amount and location of phytoplankton and zooplankton, and water temperature. Threadfin shad cannot tolerate cold temperatures and actually begin dying (winter kill) when the water reaches approximately 45 degrees.

Hookem

Matt

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Shad do migrate to the shallows about the same time as a bass, but will spawn every 30-45 days throughout the summer.    If water warms up in the back of a creek before the main lake temps start to rise, shad will find the warmest water column on the lake.

The one of the most common baits used to mimic shad is the fluke or similar type bait.    Mature thread fin are on average 3-5 inches.    

The first shad to die will be the late spawn, the youngest in the school "if" the water gets down to that 45 degree mark.

Shad school up in tight bunches when predator's are near.     A quality graph will show you tight balls of shad with fish near by that feeding.

Sometimes the best fishing you can do is just using your graph, no rods.   The more you graph things you know, the more you learn to decipher.

Such as:    take your boat to the launch ramp, what does cement ramps look like on your graph.     Look at the thickness of the bottom line on the graph, is it real thin or wide,   what do rock dams look like on the graph.    What does Hydrilla or other vegetation look like on your screen?

When you parallel a bridge in passing, how long does it take the bridge piling to show up on screen as you pass them, and what do they look like extending up on screen?  Trees, brush?

Learn what the graph is showing you by going to areas you know what's down there.    What does muddy bottoms graph like.    Learning these simple things can make you an excellent tracker by using the graph to take guess work out of potentially good areas.

Vertical presentations can be utilized all year.    

The biggest advice on tracking shad at this time of the year.

What areas have been good in the morning and evening in the shallows?    There's something that draws the bass into the shallows, where it's a bream spawn, shad, or crawl dad hatch, or something.       Wind is one of my biggest keys in the summer.    

 Steady southern winds stacks the planktons up on wind blown points and humps and other areas of similar.  

This is key because it's what shad eat to survive.     We chase bass, bass chase shad; shad chase plankton, fairly simple food chain.   Planktons are controlled by wind currents.    Steady winds stack their food source up, and where there's bait, bass aren't far.

Hookem

Matt

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THAN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!There you go Moby I am storing these in my favorites for future ref. 8-)

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Not only am I storing these in my favorites, but I am printing them off and putting them into my big book of things to read over and over again. THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH!

                                                                     Thanks,

                                                                            Ian

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