Hi AMFisHers! I have been working on this blog post for the last several weeks, as it is a key part to why many anglers and fellow #AMFisHers out there are not catching as many fish as they should be.
This blog post is about understanding how to stay on a fish bite for an extended period of time. What I mean by this is many anglers with catch a fish on a spot, stay a little longer with no bites then move off the spot. Well this is where the mistake has been made, taking time to assess why a fish hit a bait in an area will allow you to understand how to catch more fish on that spot.
I have included several pictures in this post of a few different outings where I was able to stay on the fish bite for an extended period of time, resulting in having caught numerous fish when other anglers near by were catching nothing and left the area far too early.
Key things to think about when you catch a fish in a spot are: 1) how were you working the bait, 2) what size was the bait, how did the fish hit hard or lightly, 3) time of day, 4) current weather conditions, 5) bait color and 6) depth the fish struck the bait in. This may seem like a lot of things to review but it’s critical if you want to understand the species of fish you are fishing for better.
As you will see in some of the photos included in this post I was using an all white soft plastic swimbait made by Yum on one specific day and it resulted in the fish going absolutely crazy for it! On this specific day it felt like I could not do anything wrong when it came to catching fish, WHY? well I had 101% zoned in on the 6 above factors that all played key roles in catching numerous fish.
The bite was on with medium to small largemouth bass that were going after this 5″ all white swimbait like it was the only food in the lake. Hit’s were very hard and aggressive, with many fish flat out attacking the bait with such a fierce bite. After I caught the fish bass I took a few minutes to review the 6 items listed earlier in this post and was able to piece together the correct strategy which was the following: 1) I was working the bait extremely slow, moving my reel handle in the close to slow motion range, with my rod tip way up high. This made the bait such an easy target for any fish to go after hungry or not it was hard for the fish to look up and pass on such a nice big slow moving meal. 2) the 5″ size was a good size for the time of year which was late summer where bait fish were pretty much their chunkiest size for the season. Second thing here was that 5″ size was exactly the size fish were responding to as I had also tried a Berkley Fishing HAVOC series swimbait that day, which was a leaner style slightly shorter bait that has caught me a lot of fish but for some reason the fish wanted a bigger thicker looking style for a meal. 3) As for time of day I had arrived at the lake around noon and the fish were on a huge afternoon bite. Winds had picked up and then slowed down through the day so I knew a lot of schools of bait fish would have been pushed around the lake by the waves, with a lot of schools moving in to close cover near the shallows where I was catching all my fish. 4) Weather was mainly overcast with a few sunny breaks and on and off winds, which did help the bait presentation overall. 5) As I mentioned the bait color was all white, peal white to be exact, with no other real coloring on it, shy of a small black dot near the face area of the bait. All white is a great choice for a natural looking presentation and it did match well with the variety of bait fish in the lake I was fishing. 6) The depth of the areas i was fishing was 1ft to 4ft, that is where all my strikes took place. The fish were holding in the 4ft range zoned in on the shoreline with their faces and once i pulled the swimbait towards them out of that shallower water “bang” the fish were on the line!
There was no way I would have landed all those small fish that day, as the small fish bite was on and it was on the bigger bait bite. Putting it all together did not take took long as I stopped and made the time to do so. If I had not and only cast any previous baits that the fish were not into at that time then and then chose to leave the spot I would have totally missed out on the almost all afternoon bite.
On one of the other outings on this lake, I was once again on a small fish bite, which is the photos of the tiny bass that had hit spinnerbaits in a natural color. The fish were once again on an aggressive feed chasing down the spinnerbaits and absolutely smashing them! Weather was similar to my previous outing, slightly overcast and windy throughout the entire day. It was also a mid to late day bite that lasted quite a while as it had previously. The natural color spinnerbaits in that white, silver and black pepper pattern seemed to seal the deal on almost every cast I made. As you can see in the pictures the bass were quite small and had a mouthful of a bait in their mouths. Again that feeling of having assessed everything the fish were telling me correctly came over me, I knew I would continue to catch fish without changing a single thing I was doing.
Fish will always tell us what they want, when they want it and how they want it, it is up to us as anglers and #AMFisHers to follow what they tell us, without doing this key thing catching fish will next to impossible. Being able to identify the bite is extremely important and from there the goal is to identify how to stay on the bite once it stops. For example if you are using a white spinnerbait without a soft plastic trailer on it and the fish have been striking for most of the day and then all of a sudden they stop, they are clearly telling you something. In many cases you will see small fish starting to feed then as you continue to catch fish some larger ones will start to feed as well and from there predator fish may also show up to feed on those smaller fish you have been catching which further results in those predator fish going after your bait as well.
There is a small window of a few minutes after fish stop hitting a bait, which I use to try and identify if any more fish with me interested in the bait that just stopped working, I usually give it a few minutes with several casts being made exactly the same way when I was catching the fish. If no fish go after the bait, I don’t rush to change the bait I change something about the bait, which can range from things like how I am retrieving it to how bulky the bait looks. By changing that same bait somehow you can actually get the fish back on to the bite they were just on, because now that bait is either moving differently, smells differently, look’s differently, whatever the change you made was can get the fish to attack it again. Key focus here should be that you may need to try a few different changes to that bait, example adding a soft scented plastic trailer to add bulk, length and scent which are all drastic changes to the bait with one bait change. Making a change of some sort when baits stop working should become a regular practice on outings, along with making the time to assess the 6 items above every time you catch the first fish of the day. That first fish will tell you a lot more about how to continue catching fish that day, if you review how everything came together.
Two other items you will walk to focus on as well are to have a look at the position of a fishes eyes when you are unhooking it. The eyes of a fish can tell you how it was looking at the bait, basically telling you if the fish was below the bait, above the bait or looking straight at the bait. Fish will rarely stay far away from schools of bait fish, they are usually positioned somewhere near them. If the eyes are pointing upwards then that means the fish are holding below the bait you were using. If the eyes were facing downwards then they fish were above the bait. A fishes eyes will usually stay stationary in the position they were looking in for several minutes and it’s a great indicator to us anglers and #AMFisHers! Second thing to add to the list of 6 items is to see how a fish has hooked itself, examples here would be if it attacked your cranbait and only has one back treble hook in the tip of the mouth this is a sign that the fish are barely striking the bait, if the fish has the entire cranlbaits deeper inside it’s mouth with all hooks in a spot then the fish are attacking baits extremely aggressively. Be sure to add these two items to your review list when that first fish bites and you will be sure to get on more fish and stay on the bite much longer!
Hope you found this blog post helpful and if you have any questions on this topic feel free to ask!
The AMFisH guy…tight lines!
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