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Boett43

What are these Bass DOING!

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I headed down to the potomac today to do a little bank fishing, the water was very clear and there was a ton of bass up in 3-4ft of water, i caught one on a tube but it wasnt very big, Then i saw 5 to 7 bass swimming together, Then i see them just sitting in the current along with some Big carp and the were very spooked by anything i tossed at them? Any ideas on what they were doing and how to catch em?? Thanks

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Sounds like they were doing a little bit of slumming if there hangin out with those carp.lol Honestly i dont know. Probably feel protected in numbers. Could they see you on the bank? Maybe a little warmer where they were at? Sounds like you have really clear water,so maybe something on bank spooked them or some other predator.

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Any ideas on what to use to maybe get them to bite? i was thinking a jerkbait maybe.

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i do a lot of bank river fishing myself and the small mouths in the river i fish always hang out with the carp. however if i'm not quiet they will swim off, especially the carp. just cast way past the bass and carp and reel 5-8 feet to the side where they are looking and i'm sure they will hit. atleast they do for me.

oh and i always use top water for my river fishing, to much junk of the the bottom.  

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I have seen this on a local forest preserve reservoir near me. There is a warm water discharge that flows into the creek right below the dam. I go there first early in the year. I have seen up to 30 or 40 smaller bass just finning in the current where the discharge meets the creek. I would guess they are sitting there waiting for any food to stupidly drift by and get eaten. I have caught some by casting upstream and floating a jerkbait back to them but as you say, they are extremely spooky.

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Cruising schools of bass are tough to catch when you can see them.  Don't try to throw at the school you can see.  Fan cast the area and try and hit a group of fish that you haven't seen yet.

The reason they are spooked by your bait is because if you can see them, then they see you.

Make sure the bait your throwing lands gently in the water.  Use side arm casts to keep the bait low to the water and slowly feather it in.  This will spook them a lot less.

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Thanks ill have to try some of these things out. Also i saw one of the larger bass chass a sunfish out on to a flat. Dose this mean the bass are gearing up towards spawing since they are shallow? or is just becuase the whole river is basically this shallow and they happen to be where i can see them.

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What you saw sounds to me like it might be a post-winter/pre-spawn migration. In rivers, bass are known to move quite a distance to and from adequate winter habitat -(which would be considered a migration vs a movement).

When I first saw the title of your post I thought, "Ahh, the first movements to heated shallows". In ponds, and bays in lakes, warm shallows attract carp, bluegills, and bass. The sun is high enough now for this to be just starting here where I fish. It's the sun that does the cooking, not the air temp so much.

I checked your weather for that day and, according to the weather site, you did have bright sun. But, it was COLD that day -not more than 40 in the shade. Yes? Or was it really toasty in the sun?

So, I'm suspecting this was a stop on a migration route. River LM are known to use the shoreline as they travel. But, since this cove holds carp and bluegills it'll likely remain a good prespawn feeding area for bass. They'll only stay on into the spawn if the substrate is there.

That's my best stab, from 1500 miles away. ;D

As to catching them: Stealth is everything under bright sun. They can't see you, your lure in the air, your line flashing overhead or landing on the water. Good luck!

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If you are sight fishing, there is almost no better bait than a 1/8 oz drop-shot rig with a 3" bait on it. Fish can't resist it, just like putting candy infront of them. I would go with very light flouro as well.

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If you are sight fishing, there is almost no better bait than a 1/8 oz drop-shot rig with a 3" bait on it

I'll have to try that. I'm curious how they'll respond. Sometimes sighted fish can be darn tough.

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Haha went out there today again it was warmer and less windy, and they were in the same spot doing the same thing and not paying any mind to anything i threw at them, i even casted from like 10 feet back on the bank? Now im clueless I did catch some others on a tube when casting out deep. So all in all not a bad day and now i now theres at like 1 5lber in the Potomac where i live  ;D

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I don't know if this is the case or not, but when you try to sneak up on them you have to go into stealth ninja mode. I mean like crouch down, crawl, walk as softly as you can, and cast as softly as you can. Anyway, this is the case for me.

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Boett,

Probably doing like the rest of us in Virginia....freezing their fannies off.  ;D

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Yeah i cant belive how easy they spoke off i swear one time i passed gas and off they went lol

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Sneak up on them, use very light line like 4-6lb and fly line a night crawler. Cas it in front of them and let it drift down to them. D o not let them see you.

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In the CT river, the smallies hang around the carp because they stir up the bottom.

Absolute true. Whenever you see carp in schools, you're gonna find SM as well. With the water that cold and the sun so direct, you must use a very stealthy approach. Stay low in your boat (sit vs. stand) and cast up current, letting your presentation drift back down into them.

I'd use a small in-line spinner or a 4" Senko, wacky rigged and drifted into them. One of these should work.

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In spring I find bass that appear to be heat soaking, and appear not to be interested in feeding. That was my first thought of what you are seeing. It could be this, or they are just being spooked before you get to find out.

Posted by: daviscw

I don't know if this is the case or not, but when you try to sneak up on them you have to go into stealth ninja mode. I mean like crouch down, crawl, walk as softly as you can, and cast as softly as you can. Anyway, this is the case for me.

I assume your fish are SPOOKING -as in bolting. But to give you an idea of how aware bass can be in shallow water, here's a description of something subtler, that can make a huge difference:

Bass (and other fish) that can see you may not even show major signs of being spooked. Often (if you are observant) its just a sag of the fins, a "sulking" behavior, that will tip you off that you've already screwed up. If I see this I mark the exact spot, leave the area, then sneak back (sometimes within 5 minutes) and remain hidden, say behind a shrub, and then cast well beyond, and catch 'em. The only difference is that I am not visible. This is the idea behind the "Tomato stake" ploy used by bed fishers.

Under brilliant blue skies I make sure that not only the lure doesn't touch down near them, but that the line doesn't either. This may mean casting from several steps away, then walking back in line with your fish, and laying the line down just to one side of them and THEN retrieving the lure to them. This is a pain, and the landscape doesn't always allow for it, but it has shown me that such fish are catchable, just incredibly aware and spooky.

The easiest route will be this: Wait for clouds.

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There is no reason for big bass and carp to be suspended together, unless they are both feeding on the same forage. Carp are very wary fish, much more than bass, and will bolt at any sign or danger; a shadow from a bird for example.

I wouldn't bother much with bass that are in plain sight and migrating or cruising. You need to get back far enough so you can't see the bass. Then try presenting whatever the bass are feeding on or a lure that represents the same color and profile. My gues is some minnows or bugs are being pushed down with the current and the carp and bass are feeding on them.

Try a small crankbait or Basstrix BaitFry or forget about those bass and target pre spawners that you can't see.

I agree; the night crawler will work fly lined!

WRB

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Where were you fishing on the potomac? I am ready to get back to the water and fish. Like you I fish from the bank but so far have not had any luck. I have only gone out once on the Potomac along with canal close to the dam, and once on Burke lake. Neither day was productive but good to get out there.

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