A Bite is a bite, whether a bass, bluegill, or crappie; a bite is a bite. Summer gets hot, winter gets cold, and in some parts of the country bass have seasons. What I’m getting at is, even if the bass are not biting or are not an option, there are many other species to keep the sense sharp and the reflexes quick.
Bluegill or bream are great bait stealers, requiring a timely hook set to catch. What better way to ensure the rap-tap of a bass striking a soft plastic bait doesn’t go without an eye-crossing hookset than to keep your senses sharp catching bluegill. In my opinion, a bluegill, pound for pound, out fights any species in freshwater. Could you imagine catching a 3-pound bluegill like they do out west in Lake Havasu? With light-tackle, even the one-half to three-quarter pound bluegill are quite fun to catch and will keep anglers hook-setting skills quick.
Crappie have a variety of names, White Perch, Crappie, Sac-a-lait, and Speckled Perch to name a few. However, no matter what they are called in various parts of the country. One things for sure, “everyone” calls them “good eating”. Crappie can be a very finicky fish to catch. Teaching anglers’ lessons in lure color or lure and line size culminating in a specific fall rate. Anglers side by side on the same brush pile can have significantly different catching results if one is using a different size bait or line creating a slightly different lure presentation. Avid crappie anglers swear shades of color can also make huge differences in catch rates. Pink versus light red are two very different colors to these anglers. Learning how different lake conditions, line sizes and types, and even bait shapes effect catch rates can translate to a very intuitive bass angler. In highly pressured waters or after weather fronts, some of these lessons can be the difference between a good day or a drive home wondering why the bass didn’t bite.
An off the wall way to learn your water ways, is walleye fishing, see what I did there (WALL-eye). A major difference I see between walleye fishing and bass fishing is there is a lot of trolling or drifting in walleye fishing. Imagine the graphing/scanning of the bottom an angler can achieve while trolling for walleye. Electronics today allow you to create your own topo maps. Spend some time trolling for walleye and let the graph do the work for you. It’s been my experience walleye anglers must deal with a mix of both bluegill and crappie attributes; with the bait stealing of bluegill and the struggles of color significance to achieve a bite of crappie.
Bottom line, a bite is a bite, if you can’t go bass fishing or the bass are not cooperating, look to other species to keep the sense sharp. For me, I can fish year-round, however every year the bass post spawn season is a very difficult time. Years ago, I was downsizing to try and achieve a bass bite or two, I started catching crappie. It didn’t take long to switch my tackle and fill the livewell. Crappie have a very light bite, sometimes the only indication is seeing the line jump as the bait falls. All great training for when I go full bass assault a couple weeks later in the season.
If the bass are not biting, don’t hang it up, look for a different species and keep your trigger finger sharp. This also keeps the cast targeting accurate and the brain wheels turning. Besides who wants to sit home and watch football when there are fish to catch!!!
Get the Net It’s a Hawg,