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BassinBoy

09 Big Bass Hunt

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I caught a lot of bass this past year so I mainly focused on quanity.  This coming year I really want to try to catch a lot more quality fish, even if it means not as many.  Quanity eventually gets boring so I want to catch those couple monsters on each body of water I fish.  

Can anyone give me some baits or techniques that will increase my chances.  I know with any lure I will still catch dinks I just need something that may give me a better chance of catching those hogs.  Thanks guys

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my biggest bass of this past year have come on crankbaits and spinnerbaits.

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That's easy. Try these:

Jig

Large worm

Swimbait

totally agree.  i would also add big, noisy topwater baits and live bait to this list if you are so inclined.

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try this: 1/2 single black colorado blade spinnerbait + lake fork swimbait as trailer.It works for me very well.Not to much,but quality ones.

Adam

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Pounding one or two lakes on multiple trips(even better if it is everyday), especially in spring. If you do this you can catch big bass with a 4 inch worm. Persistence and patience are good techniques. ;)

More than once I have sat on a shallow spawning area for 3-4 days during spring catching buck bass. Only to have a few girls move up ;D

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^^^Bingo!

That's what I plan on doing to one of my places starting in late January.  I caught a 7-8 there last year but I know of one caught and released there last year over 10lbs!  My turn!

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That's easy. Try these:

Jig

Large worm

Swimbait

#1 Find the structure  

#2 Find the bait

#3 In no particular order the above mentioned lures

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I'd also like to include the spro frog with vegetation as a big bass pattern!

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That's easy. Try these:

Jig

Large worm

Swimbait

Hmm...

As paul said, the only addition to this list is live bait.

8-)

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#1 Find the structure

#2 Find the bait

#3 In no particular order the above mentioned lures

Agree completely! It's not a lure thing. Catching bigger bass is much more than that. If it were that easy, then we could just throw away all the tackle we have except the "big fish" lures.

Case-in-point: my PB (9.1 oz) was caught on a 3/4oz spinnerbait. And a lot of different baits have been mentioned here already.

Catching big bass has a lot more to do with location, location, location than any lure. Point being, find the big bass and what they're feeding on, present a lure that mimicks the forage, and you're likely to catch one. There's no "magic" big bass lure.

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Catching big bass has a lot more to do with location, location, location than any lure.

Exactly!!

As evidenced by so many big fish coming on drop shots, finesse worms, minnows (TX state record) and a variety of other small baits.

Big baits do catch big fish but only when you are fishing where big fish swim.

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Big baits do catch big fish but only when you are fishing where big fish swim.

In response:

Little baits do catch big fish but only once in awhile when you are where big fish swim. ;D

Besides every big fish I have caught on the d-shot and shakey heads, I just consider it luck. Now when its on a big bait, most of the time, THATS ON PURPOSE  ;D

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Zara Super Spook and a chatter bait with a large trailer accounted for 9 over 5 lbs and 2 over 8 lbs this year.

I agree that location is very important but I still think you need to throw a big bait.

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Zara Super Spook and a chatter bait with a large trailer accounted for 9 over 5 lbs and 2 over 8 lbs this year.

Yes, only in FL, TX & CA cause its warm year round. ::)

Agree with Catt & Glenn. Location!

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I caught a lot of bass this past year so I mainly focused on quanity. This coming year I really want to try to catch a lot more quality fish, even if it means not as many. Quanity eventually gets boring so I want to catch those couple monsters on each body of water I fish.

Can anyone give me some baits or techniques that will increase my chances. I know with any lure I will still catch dinks I just need something that may give me a better chance of catching those hogs. Thanks guys

Since I know your fishing some of the same water as me, here's my advice.

About 7-8 years ago I was in the same boat as you. Alot of quantity, not much quality. Like already mentioned, a combination of LOCATION and the RIGHT BAIT and PRESENTATION is key. Spend more time learning about the seasonal movements of bass and what kind of structure, cover, the bass will be using given the time of year.

In a recent PM you asked me about a local lake, I'll use that lake as an example. I used to struggle there, just like you are now. I could catch 2 pound or less fish till I was tired of catching them. I would see guys bring in limits exceeding 18 lbs, it drove me nuts.

My response......I totally quit doing my normal thing, beating the bank. I would go there with only a few rods, and only fish offshore structure. I had trips there where I would do far more idling and studying electronics and looking than fishing.

That was AFTER I studied what bass do seasonally.

The result.....much larger fish. It also enabed me to further refine my bait choices and presentation styles to catch those fish.

Hang in there.....spend as much time as you can on the water....once it starts to click you can apply what your learning to other bodies of water around here.

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i have caught my biggest fish of 08' on white spinner bait with 4/12 willow blade chrome and gold colorado blade. last thursday...i followed my idol's advise KVD on bassmaster magazine, slowly cranking that sucka!!!!!! 11.1lbs..

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Find structure, a good amount of bait, and cover. Don't be afraid to go to what you think will be "to big"  bass have eye bigger than their stomachs.

A couple of baits good for big bass:

Jig

Big worm

Swimbait

Laege spinnerbaits (bass and musky spinners)  

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Don't be afraid to go to what you think will be "to big"  bass have eye bigger than their stomachs.

im 100% behind this statement. specially large spinner baits.

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location, location than any lure.

i have caught big bass and 14" fish in the same water, but only rarely. usually if im on 14" fish im in the wrong neighborhood.

i do like big baits though, and i think the big bass do to. you want to make that 3lber hesitate on your bait if its swimming w/ the 8lber.

try this one as an alternative to a toad if you are in the situation:

tikiman%20anaconda%20spp%20thumbnail.gif

tiki anaconda, and hold on.

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I thought about this thread when I was reading this article last night.  Ya might find this informative even the article is 3 yrs. old.

Bass that go beep'

One angler's research sheds light in the darkness that is big bass behavior

By Matt Williams - 02.Dec.2005

Every bassin' buff has a theory on what makes big fish tick. But for John Hope, the proof is in the pudding.

Hope was a fishing guide at Houston County Lake in East Texas in the late 1980s and 1990s. He hauled in his share of lunker largemouths during that period and watched as many others were reeled in from the rear deck of his bass boat.

As Hope's big-bass prowess became sharper, he became increasingly curious about their mysterious behavior patterns. The guide eventually became so obsessed with big bass that he began equipping them with electronic transmitters, so he could monitor their daily routines.

Between 1986 and 1994, Hope surgically implanted thumb-sized electronic transmitters inside 57 bass ranging in size from 6 pounds to more than 15 pounds.

A handful of the study fish where ShareLunkers 13-pound-plus bass caught from Texas lakes and donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for use in its well-known spawning and genetics research program.

Using high-tech, radio-telemetry tracking gear, Hope monitored beeping fish in 15 different lakes ranging in size from 100 acres to 114,000 acres. He funded the studies entirely with money from his own pocket.

The transmitters cost him $150 each. He went through three sets of tracking gear, which cost $3,000 each.

Most of Hope's research lakes were in Texas, but he also tracked fish at Truman Reservoir in Missouri. The ShareLunker candidates included a 15-pounder from Lake Fork, a 14-pounder from Lake Murvaul and a 13-pounder from Sam Rayburn. Hope also planted a transmitter inside a 13-pounder at Houston County and a 7-pound smallmouth at Lake Whitney. At the time, the bronzeback was the No. 2 fish on Texas's top-50 list for that species.

John Hope spent countless hours during the day and night on numerous lakes tracking selected bass.Hope worked on the project with the diligence of a man on a mission. He once spent five-consecutive days and nights with his earphones on at Houston County, a 1,500-acre reservoir near Crockett, Texas.

The guide slept in the bottom of his boat in a sleeping bag, waking periodically to document the movements of his finny subjects. He came to shore once a day to eat and bathe.

Hope took his tracking study to the next level at Lake Amistad, a 60,000-acre lake on the Texas/Mexico border. He lived in a motel for a full year. Clad in scuba gear, he trailed along behind four different bass up to 11 pounds each day and night.

Hope has tracked big bass in temperatures as cold as 28 degrees, as hot as 110 degrees and in raging thunderstorms. He was serious about the game, indeed.

The objectives?

Hope wanted to learn as much as possible about trophy bass and make a name for himself in the fishing industry. His ultimate goal was to make money by sharing his findings and to attract more guide clients.

Most folks were intrigued by Hope's study. Others felt threatened by it.

Hope said some Lake Fork fishing guides screamed so loud that TPWD created a fish-tracking permit and implemented a rule that made it illegal to have a guide license and a fish-tracking permit at the same time.

The TPWD pulled my guide license because a group of fishing guides thought I had an unfair advantage, Hope said.

For years, Hope wrote about his findings in a monthly column he wrote for a popular Texas magazine geared toward trophy bass fishing. The standing column was fittingly titled Trackin' Texas Trophies. He also performed speaking engagements and worked closely with TPWD fisheries biologists more than once.

Hope's tracking study eventually lead to a job as host of a television program dedicated to Texas fishing. The job consumed so much time that he couldn't continue the project any longer.

But it really didn't matter. By that time, Hope's research had begun to repeat itself. He didn't need a degree in fisheries biology to interpret the data.

A big bass is a big bass, no matter where the lake is, he said. After a fish reaches 7 pounds, it does the same things and goes to the same places, everyday. It makes no difference if it's 7 pounds or 18 pounds.

I have fished with Hope on several occasions on a number of lakes. The trip I remember most took place at Houston County Lake on a moonlit August night in 1986.

We were spying on Wanda, the fish that started the program.

During his study, John Hope caught and released many of the bass that had been fitted with transmitters, many of which exceeded 10 pounds.Wanda was a 10-pounder Hope caught in March of 1985. The guide documented the bass's movements for three years.

Amazingly, Hope caught and released Wanda four additional times (twice during the spawn) during that period, and his son-in-law caught her once.

Sadly, the big bass was eventually caught and mounted by another angler. She tipped the scale at 12 pounds, 13 ounces at final weigh-in.

Hope learned a passel of lessons from Wanda. Interestingly, the findings were mirrored by every fish in the study that weighed 7 pounds or more.

One of the more valuable lessons is that big bass are home bodies. Hope said once a big bass establishes a home range, it maintains that range for life.

Every big bass has a bedroom where it rests and a kitchen where it feeds, Hope said. And those places won't be very far apart. I never had a fish move more than 400 yards from its bedroom when it went to feed. They don't go roaming around all over the lake from one day to the next.

Hope also learned that big bass feed predominantly at night, 12 months a year.

Every fish over 7 pounds is a nocturnal feeder, Hope said. They may feed periodically during the day. But they do most of their feeding at night, usually in two-hour intervals. They feed for a while and then rest for a while.

Wanda spent a high percentage of her slack time suspended over 20 feet of water along the edges of Little Elkhart Creek.

When the fish did go on the prowl presumably feeding she always headed for a nearby shoreline. The bass cruised up and down the same 100-yard stretch of bank repeatedly.

Hope said Wanda was so predictable he could set his watch by her movements.

She would suspend in her bedroom most of the day, and then she would crank up 30 minutes before dark and feed all night long, Hope said. Thirty minutes after daylight, she went straight back to her bedroom. Every tracked bass over 7 pounds operated pretty much the same way.

Each time Hope caught Wanda (outside of the spawn), she was actively cruising her kitchen. The bass refused to bite when she was in her bedroom, suspended over deep water. When it did come time to spawn, Wanda always dumped her eggs on the same flat, year after year.

Data collected on several tournament-caught bass on 114,000-acre Sam Rayburn Reservoir adds more clout to Hope's home-body theory. It also firms up his belief that a bass is a bass, regardless of the size of the pond.

From 1986 to 1994, radio transmitters were surgically implanted in bass so they could be used in John Hope's study on the behavior of big bass.The Sam Rayburn fish all 6- and 7-pounders were caught north of the State Highway 147 Bridge and taken 18 miles south to Twin Dikes Marina for weigh-in. That's where Hope planted the transmitters and released the fish.

Hope relocated his study fish a week later. Amazingly, all but one of them had made the 18-mile journey back home. They were positioned in the same areas where they were caught a week earlier.

Hope assumes the transmitter fouled on the lost bass, or that the fish was caught and kept by another angler.

Hope's army of beeping bass also shed some valuable data linked to how fish relate to cover and structure in shallow, mid-range and deep water. Furthermore, they also helped him firm up his funnel point theory.

For several years, I would mark an X' on the map when I would catch a big bass, Hope explained. At the time, the only common denominators I noticed between the spots were deepwater access, cover and structure.

Hope was referencing the X-riddled map one day when he made an interesting discovery.

It was like someone flipped on a light, he said. There was a narrow trail or funnel' leading to all the X's. They looked like funnels wide at one end, narrow on the other. These are the types of places big bass like to travel. Spend more time fishing defined funnel points, and you'll catch more big bass.

Hope put his theory to the test on a rainy afternoon at Houston County in February of 1987. He announced to a room full of outdoor writers, bait manufacturers and fishing guides that he could look at a lake map and mark 10 spots where trophy bass had been caught before.

Two of the guides were from Lake Murvaul; an East Texas big-bass lake Hope had never visited before. One of the guides produced a Murvaul map and Hope pulled out a Sharpie.

After they all stopped snickering, I marked 10 spots, gave the map back to the guides and asked them to be honest, Hope said. Both of them admitted they had either caught big ones off the 10 spots, or knew of someone who had.

Hope, eventually produced an 81-page book, Trackin' Texas Trophies.

The paperback chronicles his years of research and summarizes valuable knowledge gained through countless hours spent monitoring big bass during all hours of the day and night, during all seasons of the year and in pleasant and foul weather conditions alike.

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