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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The subject question was raised under the C & R topic "The value of big bass".
The answer to that question is somewhere berried in "The cosmic clock and bass calendar" under bass behavior. To under stand where big bass go or locate, you should have a basic understanding of bass behavior in general and acknowledge that bass location is dependant on several factors, the most important being seasonal periods and prey location.
You may need a advance degree in bass behavior to pin point where the big girls prefer to live. We also need to remember "bass are bass", 4 different species with separate location needs. So lets talk about LMB or northern LMB in general with FLMB add bigger bait fish.
During the spawn we can see that the lake has a big bass population and the local Mr. bass pro has his picture in the fish wrapper holding a pair of big bass, Ms. bass pro has a nice set also. Proof positive that the lakes big girls are well and healthy. Where do they go after the spawn? Most go back where they came from, deep water. We accept that bass live in deep water during the winter to keep near their prey and preferred water temperature. As the water warms up in the shallows the bass move up, stage and spawn for all to see. The smaller males and females tend to stay along the shore cover because they prefer smaller prey and can't eat larger prey. Once a adult healthy bass reaches about 4 pounds it changes and can eat, swallow, larger prey like crawdads and prey fish up to 6''. Big bass can also leave the protection of the cover and roam the entire lake without fear of becoming a meal. The shoreline is a busy place during the summer within lots of competition from smaller quicker bass for the smaller bait fish located along the shore during day light hours. Plus there is people boating and fishing, another reason to avoid shallow water.
The big myth about big bass is that they are solitary and don't school anymore like smaller bass. This is not true. Bass are school fish regardless of their size. The schools may be only 3 to 5 big bass, but a school. All bass will at times separate and locate at ambush sites by themselves because that is the most efficient method to ambush prey when not actively feeding. However the majority of their active feeding is done in schools because that is the most efficient method to feed on schooled bait fish. All bass tend to locate where the prey is available.
Big bass like deeper water that provides them a sanctuary. The location needs to have structural and cover elements to attract bass. Cover can be as simple as a shadow to conceal the bass, it doesn't need to be physical. Structure is the physical element that bass prefer like a dam area with gate columns, channels with ledges, rock piles, trees, bridges, humps, points, islands and marinas. Boat docks in marinas used to moor private and rental boats are usually in deep or near deep water access, so the marina usually has a population of home guard big bass. During the summer big bass will move up and roam the shore line looking for prey.Marinas and dams are good locations at night.
When you make your bass fishing trip next time, look over your shoulder out toward the main lake, thats where most of the big bass are.
Tom
 

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Is this why we have no big bass in the Lake of the Ozarks? There realy isn't any quality deep water. a Seven pounder is big. There is an occasional 9 but not very often. I haven't ever seen a ten but heard of one from Guido. Why are there no big bass? Or are they there and no ones catching them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
imonembad said:
Is this why we have no big bass in the Lake of the Ozarks? There realy isn't any quality deep water. a Seven pounder is big. There is an occasional 9 but not very often. I haven't ever seen a ten but heard of one from Guido. Why are there no big bass? Or are they there and no ones catching them!
Big bass size is relative to the type of bass, northern largemouth bass rarely exceed 10 lbs., in most reservoirs.I believe a world record for NLMB should be established and would be around 14 to 15 lbs. Therefor a 8 lb NLMB is a trophy size bass. Deep water is also relative to the lake classification, however lake of the Ozarks does have water over 40' and that is deep for LMB. I would look for structure in 15 to 40' adjacent to major points, creek channels, humps that allow the bass to compress bait fish between the high point of the structure and the waters surface. Any isolated structural elements like a rock pile or 3 foot break will hold big bass on outside structure.
Tom
Ps; I sent Jared a picture of NLMB and FLMB that are nearly the same length to compare the 2 different bass. A picture is worth 1000 words. I can e mail to you or get Jared to post it.
 
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Tom without actually counting the scales on the fish how do you know by looking at a bass what is a NLMB and a Florida LMB?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
KeithsCatch said:
Tom without actually counting the scales on the fish how do you know by looking at a bass what is a NLMB and a Florida LMB?
Scale count is the only reliable method. FLMB have about 69 lateral line (pore) scales and NLMB have 58.
When the Florida's were first introduced into CA lakes we thought you tell by looking at the pectoral fins because of the coral coloration and our native bass had cream color pectoral fins. Coloration varies by the water Ph and the fishes diet, so that doesn't work. Will try to email a comparison photo and the size difference is easy to see.
Tom
 

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There have been at least hundreds of radio-tagging studies that have shown some really monster females leave off living in small schools, becoming loners, the ultimate ambush feeder. Some classic studies demonstrated a regular route taken by those fish, arriving at particular spots like clock-work. That study is in a book here somewhere, the researcher's name escaping me for now. I think he wrote a whole book detailing his diary. In such studies, when checking underwater they are seen to actively guard their territory, chasing off all but preferred prey. Those bass don't waste energy chasing shad. They feed on animals like large crayfish, snakes, birds, panfish that swim too close to a really good ambush spot. Some of those routes remain less than 1/2 mile long, putting them deep in mid-day, at the shoreline at night, but always very close to an escape route back to deep water and out of reach. But it's true the trophy bass most of us settle for all our lives run in small schools, until one outgrows the need for shad. Instead of chasing they do more inhaling of forage with little or no body movement.

That habit helps them escape many diseases due to very limnited contact with other bass. That of course aids in growing extra pounds.

Jim
 

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OK the deep water left in the Lake of the Ozarks is unfishable through out most of the year due to the large ocean going vessels that invade the deep heavily populated areas. Are the LMB going to put up with alot of activity?Most of the Lake of the Ozarks has silted in. The part us fishermen use is. I guess the big boats don't do well in the mud. So they stay to the lower end. The majority of the big fish are caught around the dam in the winter when there isn't as much boat traffic. So I guess my question is do the big fish stay in the deep even though it is heavily populated with lots of boat traffic?
 

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The only question I have is have you ever sent your articles in to get publish.I am not one to blow smoke but I learn alot from your colums.I dont know if you are wording it simple enough for me or you just talk like a fishermen.But thanks and keep it upp.I bet I get off the shoreline somrtime this year.
 
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Drew, deep water bass are not effected by REGULAR boat traffic. I have caught bass in the Middle of places that looked like I was in the top of a blender going at full speed due to so many boats. Colorado being a prime example of this. Small lakes + big boats equals rough water.

This is same for weather changes. The deeper a bass is the less likely any of those things effects it one way or the other. Remember only 3-4 feet down even in turbulant rough water it is very peaceful. Plus, bass are prisoners of their environment so if they inhabit a lake that gets allot of boat traffic then they actually adapt to it. They have no choice or they would starve.
 

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Big bass are more likely to pay attention to a boat motor stopping over them. They become accustomed to traffic as long as it moves on.

The big problem with fishing deep with a lot of traffic is staying in contact with a lure.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ouachita said:
There have been at least hundreds of radio-tagging studies that have shown some really monster females leave off living in small schools, becoming loners, the ultimate ambush feeder. Some classic studies demonstrated a regular route taken by those fish, arriving at particular spots like clock-work. That study is in a book here somewhere, the researcher's name escaping me for now. I think he wrote a whole book detailing his diary. In such studies, when checking underwater they are seen to actively guard their territory, chasing off all but preferred prey. Those bass don't waste energy chasing shad. They feed on animals like large crayfish, snakes, birds, panfish that swim too close to a really good ambush spot. Some of those routes remain less than 1/2 mile long, putting them deep in mid-day, at the shoreline at night, but always very close to an escape route back to deep water and out of reach. But it's true the trophy bass most of us settle for all our lives run in small schools, until one outgrows the need for shad. Instead of chasing they do more inhaling of forage with little or no body movement.

That habit helps them escape many diseases due to very limnited contact with other bass. That of course aids in growing extra pounds.

Jim
At one time I believed that the biggest bass in the lake were loaners with a home range and is true some of the time. However after 30 years of targeting big bass and occasionally finding a school or wolf pack feeding on open water prey fish like trout, I changed my mind. I agree that NLMB are more likely to be home guards with a very predicable range and annual routine. FLMB transplanted into a highland reservoir will school up to feed on the open water large bait fish they seem to prefer. You can watch the big bass come together and form up a school, then dispurse back to their home holding area. I believe this is a learned instinctive behavior because trout maybe too fast for a individual bass to run down successfully, however a school of big bass can trap the trout school by forcing them toward the surface. I have never witnessed NLMB do this. Big NLMB tend to let the school size bass work small bait fish schools, like shad, and pick off injured shad or smaller bait fish or ambush prey. FLMB prefer larger bait fish that they evolved eating like river shiners. This is one reason that larger swim baits are effective on FLMB. We may need to include the genetic altered Texas LMB as a new species soon.
Tom
Ps; big smallies and spots also tend to roam open water to feed on bait fish schools.
I was fishing Crow lake Canada and watched a big school of smallies, 4 to 6 lbs, move up onto a mid lake reef to feed on small white fish. Incredible site in gin clear water.
 

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Ouachita said:
That study is in a book here somewhere, the researcher's name escaping me for now. I think he wrote a whole book detailing his diary.
Jim, I wouild LOVE to know the name of the book or the author. That sounds like a MUST READ to me. I love reading material like that!
 

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Mike Lembeck was a fisheries biologist in the 1970s that did pioneer underwater telemetry studies in some California lakes. He wrote a book, but I would have to unpack a storage building to find stored books. It was featured in Fisheries, too, and would be tough to find since I don't have an index to those old magazines. I'll try to find a web source. It's definitely good reading and has been backed up many times by later studies.

There's another much older study that's considered a classic, no telemetry, just the observations of a single old bass over a long period. The book is a diary. Sorry to tease you over it, but maybe someone here remembers names and titles.

Jim
 

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In-Fisherman quotes several of those studies in Largemouth Bass Basics (I think that's the name). Like Jim, I would have to look for the book to tell you for sure.
 

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Oops, I forgot about this thread! Some unfinished business to tend to. I'm doing some searching for those old classic bass tracking studies, but found a paper for meanwhile-reading.
http://www.apms.org/japm/vol41/v41p31.pdf

It is a study on how bass respond to removal/reduction of hydrilla by chemical means. Many anglers fear vegetation control, believing it ruins a fishery, but that isn't right. Our Lake Hamilton had an eradication of hydrilla a few years ago and there's been no negative impact. The problem there is boating traffic! It's a dangerous place in warm weather. I don't risk life & limb fishing there days until the kids are back in school and the water is too cold for skiing. Night fishing is better, but we have a watercraft DUI crisis out there at night.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When you take a look at the last 2 years on the Bassmaster Elite series tournament trail, the pro's have figured out that is where big bass go and are now targeting the big bass in the deeper outside staging locations where pre spawn and post spawn bass are schooled or grouped. The size of the bass and weights should clearly prove this.
When the Bassmasters had their Saturday fishing program, Jerry McKinnis was tracking bass at the Elite series events and to his surprise some of the bass traveled great distances after being tagged.
I thought this study proved that bass don't need any "sign post" to travel around the lake, they can beeline from one place to another, regardless of depth, structure or cover. However most did stay within a specific home area range and those bass would go to outside structure of cover and remain there for a few days, then move again to another similar location. This behavior supports the pattern theory; find the similar location with the same type of structure or cover and other bass should be there.
When you share knowledge you sometimes spill the beans, so you may now have some company outside on those once lonely saddles, humps, channel ledges and breaks.
This is a good thread, thank you Keith for reviving it.
Tom
 

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good thoughts and info!

i do think big bass stay to them self, if not for there own comfort and easy of ambush(how many times have you been sneaking up on something and who ever was with you blew your cover?),or maybe the bass are not welcome in the pack cuz they sit on the bottom waiting for the others to do the work, a working bass doesn't git fat, a river bass and a lake bass can be the same size but that big fat one came from the lake, the other is leaner and full of mussel, in most cases anyway, yes a bass on a river can find a good amount of slack water and grow big & fat, but for the most part not moving as much can grow a FAT bass, chasing shad is exercise, sitting on bottom stealing easy food that your buddies knock out is not,
how long will your buddy throw you beers and food if he bought it all, i bet after 3 beers and a few hamburger your buddy will at least give you a look,and if you stay overnight and eat a few midnight snacks and drink the last of the milk plus leave your dishes laying around, and you wont git out of the recliner ever, you won't be staying long.... could bass kick a fat pig out if it freeloads to much...?
i do feel that big bass are more loners, or need to be do to ambush.....again...how many muggers go around with ten other muggers looking for something to steal? i bet you don't go in the store if you seen ten thieves standing out in front of a store, more likely you go in if it is one OK looking guy talking on the pay phone,or is it his ambush spot?

we fish this small river and i can hit bass around all types of structure, a dink here and dink there sometimes 5 dinks from one 5'X5' spot, but pull up to a log jam and drop a senko down in to one of it's dark holes and you will pull 3#'rs or more, fishing in 5' of water backed in to the logs and just letting that senko fall in to every dark hole, the trick is gitting the bass out of there when they hit....but i would rather sit on top of a log jam and jig a senko around for the 3+# than cast to targets that hold dinks, it seems like the dinks run off right when we git to a good spot but they stay more out in the open too, but if you fish a target log jam thurO` you might entice that bigger bass who seems to be alone and does not care that you are there, cuz it is so well hidden you can't see it & it can't see you, it may have even herd you,but it feels safe still, if you are half stealthy... i like it when i cast 3' away from the boat in to structure and hit fish that are just in a rat hole or small hidding place, while most buds cast a mile to hit nothing but they still laugh at me , till i pull in something worth while, right next to the boat... things like "bass won't hit that if they see you or hear us" then why do i git so many bass this way?
if your at the top of the food chain in your house, and you here a noise you may git up and look around, but you don't just run out the door in you underwear screaming and go hide somewhere else.....so i do think a big bass can be less spooked if in it's own home, or feels safe in it's hiding place! why run? it will be ready to bust some head if something comes threw the door, like a senko or lure, allthO` being somewhat quite is very helpfull for better chances of enticement....

i know we talked about ambush placement before too, and i still believe that the big bass will hold in the best feeding spot,like in a creek out flow or edie, but i do think the big bass will be pushed out by hungry bass once it is half full, do to less need to feed and being tired of other bass stealing easy food too?
 

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So where do the big bass go in rivers? it seems like after august here you cant seem to catch any bass and i just cant figure out where they go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
To answer that question we to first understand how bass relate to current. I had some old In-Fisherman magazines that clearly explain the dynamics of a river and bass adapt to the changing conditions. I sent those magazines to Jared to scan the articles and he may have completed that task and would share the articles.
Bass; smallmouth and spotted bass are better adapted to faster moving current than largemouth, because of their more streamline shape allowing them to move through the water with less effort.
Current breaks are key to bass location in moving river water. Obstructions that create a current break; big boulders, deeper holes, logs, wing dams, Sand bars, islands, oxbows, bridge pilings, etc., are places bass tend to locate.
When you look at a large boulder for example, it's easy to understand that the big object breaks the current and bass can locate behind the boulder and the current will be swirling and slower than the water out in front. However as the water approaches a big object, like the boulder, the faster moving water strikes the boulder starts to push back into the oncoming water and that creates a wedge of slower moving water in front of the boulder. Bass often locate just in front of the boulder facing into the current break created the wedge. The swirling action of the current usually under mines the area just behind a big boulder and smaller prey fish like suckers will hide in the undermined crevices and caverns. Current breaks, shaded cover and prey are available for the bass in a river where objects are located out in the main current flows.
River banks are similar to a lake shoreline in regards to angler fishing pressure, the objects that provide current breaks are visible to observant fisherman and those spots get a lot of attention. However the mid current objects like deep holes and big boulders are often over looked and the deeper cooler water is where big bass tend to go during the summer period in a lake or river.
Tom
 
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