In developing a fish catching pattern the first place to start is with the seasonal patterns. If it is SPRING you know you want to concentrate on possible spawning areas, not the 15 ft hump in the middle of the lake that you caught fish on every cast last summer.
Then you need to analyze the current spawning status of the lake. Now, all the bass in a given lake will not spawn at the same time, some will be in pre spawn, some in the middle of the spawn, and some in the post spawn. To make the most of the time you have on the water you need to develop a pattern around the most fish in the water (makes sense: if I cast at the majority of the fish, I have a better chance of catching a few). Talk to the old fart sitting drinking his coffee at the marina, ask the guy launching his boat right behind you (I like this one because you have him cornered, he can’t launch until you move), or even get on the internet and see what the local message boards have to say. There are a lot of ways to get a general idea of the status of a particular body of water. If you think the pro’s that win all the big money, pull up to a lake and know exactly what to do to catch fish, you are easily impressed and I have some beach front property in Nevada you need to buy. These guys spend a lot of time and, yes, money to find out the hot patterns of a lake before they even get to it. OK, back the pattern. Through talking to the locals and visiting Louisiana bass fishing reports, you are pretty sure that the majority of the bass spawned on the last full moon (oh well to late again..), and the bigger stringers are coming from deeper timber with large worms. Now, if it’s a lake you are familiar with you probably have a few ideas running threw your head already. Let’s hit the water and catch some fish.
You hit your favorite post spawn area, it has a nice drop off right along a perfect spawning flat and the timber in here is amazing. You tie on your favorite 12" worm and go to chunking. After a couple cast you get bit but missed it, then a couple cast later you get bit again and still you missed it. "Ok, at least I am on fish, I will keep chunking and I am bound to hook up." At this point, what should be going threw your mind is, " there are definitely fish here, but I am doing something wrong they just aren’t taking my bait very aggressively". As the sun starts to come up you notice the water is a little dingy, and your plum worm disappears very quickly when lowered into the water. AH HAA, it’s the wrong color! You quickly dig threw your box and find a black neon 12" worm and make a perfect pitch let the worm settle to the bottom while you are tuning your depth finder, BAM a 3 pounder, figured it out!!! Well 20 minutes go by and you haven’t had another bite, guess I will go back to the plum at least I had bites with it. WRONG, listen to what the fish are telling you. Short strikes on the plum and a hook up on the black neon. Start thinking about what else that hook up told you. Which side of the tree did you pitch to? It was a perfect pitch, are they holding super tight to cover? Exactly how deep was the water? Did it hit on the fall? On the bottom? Were you shaking the worm? Or just letting it sit there? Was there something different about that particular tree? A little grass on it? Bigger or thinner than the others? The point is you know the fish will eat a black neon worm so why change, try to figure out why that fish was in that exact spot. You decide to stick with the black neon and on the next pitch you stick another good fish. OH, lookie there, this tree is really more of a bush and so was that last one, HUMMM and it’s in 7ft of water, wonder what the depth was on that other fish? You look up and there are several bushy type tress in your path. You get to the next one and don’t get a bite, wonder why not? It’s in 9 ft of water. Boy these fish sure are picky. The next tree is in 7 ft and you catch another one. A few 7 ft bushy trees later you haven’t caught a fish, what’s changed? Maybe nothing, remember back when you caught that first fish you where tuning your depth finder when it hit, that tells me they want it settled on the bottom and in catching few, your adrenaline got going and you started working to fast. You slow down and start catching fish again. Question? If your fish want the bait on the bottom, would going to a heavier weight to get it there faster work? If so during the tournament next weekend I could work even more of these bushy trees before weigh in. Try it!!!! Put a heavier weigh on and see. I have seen it work better, with warmer water the fish tend to be more active, and a bait crashing into the bottom of a 7ft brush top will attract the attention of several bass and now you have competition for food on your side. If it doesn’t go back to a lighter weight.
It’s 11 am now and the bite has really slowed down, what happened. The sun is up and there are no clouds. Let’s see, we caught fish this morning on black neon tight to 7 ft bushy trees. Now the sun is up and they stopped hitting it. Maybe 12" worm is too much now, maybe they are suspended in the bush instead of at the roots feeding, maybe they moved deeper because of the light penetration. My point here is, don’t get stuck on a pattern, they change. Stay in tuned to what is going on around you and what the fish are telling you, and your day will be a lot more productive.
Get the Net it’s Hawg
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