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Bass_Akwards

Do bass have Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner?

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I've noticed on this pond I fish, that the bite turns off and on almost like a light.

At "Pond A" for example, we'll arrive an hour before sunset. We won't get a bite on anything from a Senko, to a buzzbait, or a jitterbug to a spinnerbait. Then, at about 10 minutes after sunset, we'll catch 'em. First, my friend might get a 2.5 pounder 60 yards from where I'm fishing, then I'll catch one 3 minutes later. In an hour, we'll have caught 4 fish each(give or take) fishing a few different places on the pond, using the same lures we couldn't catch them on 20 minutes ago.

Then as suddenly as the bite hit us, it dissapears, and we can't catch them on anything, or anywhere.

Considering this pattern has held true for many many outings in a row to this same pond, it had me wondering, how on earth, or why on earth, this happens. It can't be cooincidence after so many outings, and there's no way every fish in a 30 acre body of water just suddenly, collectively, stops eating because dinner time is over.

What factors lead to such an obvious on again/off again bite in a few hour period?

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It seems to happen sorta like that at the lake I mainly fish... Some days, there definitely seems to be a schedule like that, while other days there's not. Even then, if you get your lure in the right spots you can get bit when they're not actively feeding...

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Lots of variables.

Habit.

Forage moves at certain times.

Water temperature.

Wind.

Barametric Pressure.

Daylight and Moonlight.

Water flow, if any.

Easy meal flowing by their eyes.

Noise and vibration to peak their interest to feed.

Time to take to digest what they eat.

How much they eat when feeding.

How long to rest before deciding to eat, again.

If they feed at sunrise, it could take a few hours for them to digest their meal.  Then, they will feed or attack their forage during the day until they get hungry again.  

The routine starts all over again.

According to Ken Cook at the Richmond, Virginia Bassmaster University on January 10, 2004, here is the time it takes for a minnow to be digested by a largemouth bass:

40*

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Hit the wrong key. Sorry.  That is why I usually type my replies on a Word document and then cut and paste to the reply box:

Degrees

40*

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Did it again.

DEGREES

40*   8 days to digest a minnow

50*   7 days

60*  2.5 days

70*  24 hours

80*  18 hours

80*+ 18 hours

73* to 75* is the most efficient metabolism.

This is why the water temperature is so critical to catching the bass.

Hope they are always on a Search and Destroy Mission in your pond 24/7/365.  ;)

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Bass, like all animals have a rhythm to their lives. The seasonal period, solar, lunar, weather, atmospheric pressures, wind and traffic all have an impact to this rhythm.

Basic bass rhythm; 5 stages of activity: very active, active, in active or neutral, negative and very negative. During a 24 hour period; bass average, depending of the seasonal period/water temperature, 5% very active, 5% active, 80% inactive or neutral, 5% negative, 5% very negative. Rhythm cycles are generally 4 hours peak to peak.

This works out to active feeding bass about 30 minutes each 4 hour period, 90 minutes of inactive or neutral activity and 30 minutes of negative activity.

Active bass will chase down prey and lures, inactive or neutral bass need to be teased into striking with slower lure presentation or prey coming within easy strike distance and negative bass are nearly impossible to catch, they are resting/sleeping.

Like anything that is generalized, there will be exceptions, however this formula of bass behavior has been my guideline for years.

WRB

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No, but they do smoke after spawning ;D

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No, but they do smoke after spawning ;D

I've SEEN that! But only on one side of the pond it seems.

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Bass are ambushers, flushers, and masters of an opportunity. They feed when the opportunity presents its self. Many large bass will have a milk run down through an area and actually flush the bait out of a bush or something similar and dine on the results. Some will set up in an area and wait for the bait to move into their area, while others are on the move chasing the left overs that the smaller school fish have ambushed.

Many spend their lives in the shallows while others never see the bank in their lifetime. Born in a tree fork in the middle of the lake and as long as the prey is in the area will spend all their days there.

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Bass, like all animals have a rhythm to their lives. The seasonal period, solar, lunar, weather, atmospheric pressures, wind and traffic all have an impact to this rhythm.

Basic bass rhythm; 5 stages of activity: very active, active, in active or neutral, negative and very negative. During a 24 hour period; bass average, depending of the seasonal period/water temperature, 5% very active, 5% active, 80% inactive or neutral, 5% negative, 5% very negative. Rhythm cycles are generally 4 hours peak to peak.

This works out to active feeding bass about 30 minutes each 4 hour period, 90 minutes of inactive or neutral activity and 30 minutes of negative activity.

Active bass will chase down prey and lures, inactive or neutral bass need to be teased into striking with slower lure presentation or prey coming within easy strike distance and negative bass are nearly impossible to catch, they are resting/sleeping.

Like anything that is generalized, there will be exceptions, however this formula of bass behavior has been my guideline for years.

WRB

Interesting angle.  

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Hey Todd,

There are a number of possibilities of course. The activity levels are part of the formula, but your job as an angler is to read the signs and be there when it's good, adapt, or take your beating. It won't always be "good".

From what I've seen and read, bass cannot feed at will. Prey species are not pushovers -except at certain times of the year, and certain conditions. These conditions will activate bass and low light is a plus, if not a lot of the show.

-Low light provides a hunting advantage to bass over prey. Bass see better than bluegills in low light (backed by lab studies). Add to this the advantage anglers have in duping bass in low light. It's really tough to catch shallow bass in bright light.

-Unless we know just where the bass are and how they are feeding we tend to catch the really active bass. We rely on them. Also, we tend to find bass, or they find us, in areas (and times) conducive to our chosen (GoTo) techniques. It takes a real understanding of a water body to find the untapped fishing -at whatever level, or even if it exists, for that set of conditions. From the other direction, it helps to know what techniques and lures excel in certain locations and conditions. Combine the two and you'll be in the game more often than not, or have a pretty good idea why your not. It's not always your fault.

-I've found sporatic fishing not just at dusk, but later too -depending on how late I arrived. (Although the dusk bite can be really good). After we've caught and/or pricked a few, they will likely shut down, or become harder to dupe. You can re-visit a spot after a half hour rest and often pick up a few more. Another, or additional, option is to switch lures as you fish an area. I often have three rods rigged differently (with appropriate lures) and fish them literally in succession, picking up fish that turned away from the previous. This is smart if you know there are fish in the area, and expect bites.

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Every tournament, you see guys who whack em, and guys that don't.

As a lot of the above replies covered the science part.

The weather and such.  

  Thats why on large lakes, you may have active fish in a lot of areas.  At different times of the day.   Forage helps determine those active times.

    I have mentioned that determining where the shad are in Texas lakes will determine those bites, and what groups of bass are feeding.

    Post spawn and summer will give you a steady dinner bell if you know what the shad do in those months.    

  In Tx, shad seek the cover of grass late in the evenings, thus a better topwater bite, or shallow.     In the morning as the sun peeks out,  shad leave the grass, thus the morning shallow bite beofre the sun gets up, and then they head for deeper water.

     Shad will migrate from the shallows along the same routes that bass use.    Maybe treeline, creek channel, ditch.   Bass know the travels everyday of shad and no where to ambush them.    Thus you have bass waiting mid morning off points waiting for the daily shad travels to the deep.   Mid day, you have wind blown points that offer bass ambush points, deep humps, etc.    

Wind positions plankton, and plankton positions the shad.  

Not all bass reside shallow.  

    Learn what thy baitfish do and you'll hear more dinner bells.

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Learn thy preyyou'll learn thy bass ;)

If y'all want scientific

The times for the major feeding periods are as follows

1 ½ hours prior the moon being directly overhead

1 ½ hours prior to the moon being directly underfoot

The times for the minor feeding periods are as follows

1 ½ hours prior to the raising of the moon on the horizon.

1 ½ hours prior to the setting of the moon.

Now take into consideration the above listed times you end up with 3 hrs of major feeding periods and 3 hrs of minor feeding periods; included in those times will be movement to/from feeding areas and locating prey. This does not take into account weather, seasons, water conditions, and availability of prey ect. In bodies of water with abundant supplies of prey 30 minutes maybe all that is required while in some bodies of water the whole 3 hrs maybe required. This also does not take into consideration that bass as predators and masters of an opportunity

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Nice reply Matt Fly. That is what my problem is locating and tracking bait fish. I've been getting better at it locating in the shallows and the channel heading for deeper water. But, I can't seem to find the shad when they go deeper. How deep do they go? Are they right down by first ledge, hump, or some type of cover/structure?

I'm just trying to understand the pattern of shad better. When I do find the shad I always have a better day. ;)

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In our lakes, Mid june sets up a thermocline,    Shad will seek the comfort zone, and so will most other fish.

One of the easiest methods to determine shad presence is birds diving or the presence of Commorants feeding and popping up ever so often.

  Simply make a few passes in those areas.     You'll see the balls of shad or schools.    Mark their depth.      

    Summer for us brings south winds and very few changes as high pressure dominate for about 3 months.    That steady wind out of the same direction has stacked the plankton on wind blown point, under water humps, pond dams, treelines,   maybe bridges or dams and northern banks.

Now, take your topo map out,   shad where at 18 ft,   Find wind blown Structures that intersect at that depth and work them.

 Also, there are some road beds that parallel the new bridges, bait like other fish still use structure to set up on.   A quick pass down the old road bed will usually give me the depth pretty quick  for shad.       Bridge pilings have algae growth on them, and boats going under plus winds/waves, help knock the algaes loose that bait fish feed on.    Bridges offer shade and bait fish 24 hours a day.

    I can promise you this.     If you found that fish move up to feed on a point in the summer at 12 pm, good chances are, you'll be able to set your watch on that pattern there for many many days cause the weather is stable and not changing like it does in the fall and winter months.  

           You just need to keep fishing that point at other time to determine what shcools is up feeding.

          I have one long point/ridge on Fork, fish it around 11ish and you catch fish up to 3lbs on.     Fish that same spot at 2pm and your lieable to catch nothing but 5+ at that time.

      Why does topwater generally last longer with cloud cover?   Darkness continues to make the shad feel safe in the shallow water.    

        I think it easier to learn the forage than to chase the green fish.   Knowing both doubles your odds though.  

   

       

   

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How bass relate to various prey opportunities is dependant of the activity level of each bass and the prey type they are feeding on.

For example if bass are feeding on threadfin shad, the sun light factor becomes important because sun light affects the shads food source; phytoplankton. Threadfin shad seek cover during darkness, therefor are hiding in wood or weed cover. The shad schools move out in the water column at a level above the thermocline where good DO levels are comfortable and look for phytoplankton to raise and feed. Ambush sites that intersect the level that the shad schools are using is a good opportunity for bass to push up the school towards the surface and trap the shad. The size of the bass is dependant on the quality of the structure to hold larger bass.

Shad are just one of many prey sources for bass in lakes that have a shad population.

Crawdads offer a totally different opportunity and other baitfish are available that require a different tactic for bass to capture and eat.

Rhythm isn't a common term used for bass activity, however it is a major factor in the basses daily life cycle.

WRB

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If I said it once, I've said it a million times.  BR and the seemingly endless knowlege of it's members is second to none.  

Thanks guys. Great stuff.

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