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Jig Man

Winter home

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All spring summer and fall there have been a lot of smallmouth mixed in with the lmb and spots on my favorite banks.  These banks are rocky and ledgy.  One of them is rip rap.  

Usually 1/4 - 1/2 of the fish are smallmouth but the last 4 or 5 trips have only produced a total of 2 smallmouth.  Yesterday we took 30 bass off the rip rap and only one smallmouth.  If they don't winter in rocks, where do they live in the winter?

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Smallmouth bass in a lake will gather in schools, generally in pockets of deeper water near a feeding area. For example, around a steeply sloping rocky point. Unfortunately, they are hard to find because for the most part they are suspending, not patrolling for prey. If you find ONE, mark your spot and concentrate on that area ONLY.

Note: When fishermen keep their catch, they often COMPLETELY fish an area out. If you find a school and one fish bites, there is a very good chance that you can catch every one of them! On that same day, fishing the same lake and patterning the exact structure, you may not get another bite. The term is "stacked", the bass are stacked on one spot.

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Thanks for the feed back.  I won't be able to look for them since yesterday was my last trip before I go into winter quarters myself.  I was wondering if they go off somewhere and suspend of just what they do.  The area where I am fishing has lost its shad concentration lately.  Do you suppose the smallmouth are out there somewhere around the shad?

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rw - Great response, especially about the 'catch n' keep' crowd. I've seen it occur many times. Someone sees you catch a good fish on a spot; you return a week or so later and nothing. Guess what? If it was a good spot and you no longer can catch fish there, in all likelyhood, it's been 'cleaned' by that boat that witnessed your catch! I've taken a friend to a spot of mine that I "know" use to hold lots of bass, time & time again. Using his UW camera, the structure is bare. 1 + 1 = 2! Which is why I never take anyone out on my 'milkrun' anymore and am very reluctant to even tell a querying angler "whereabouts" I catch fish! The resource is just too vulnerable to the 'catch n' keep' crowd. (That should stir up some controversy!) I'll happily tell anyone the hows and whys, but never again the wheres. We did the same thing (using the camera) with wintering SM and they are "stacked" indeed; but not in the water column vertically. They are stacked like cord wood in the very bottom of deep holes. Many times the UW camera has proven this observation. I've never found smallies suspended in winter (up here anyway in the north country).

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