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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!!!! Me again with another question. Saturday I was fishing wearing shorts, sandals, and a tank top. It's Monday now, it was 36 when I got up and they are saying this is the high. They are forecasting low to mid 30's all week until at least Thursday. I have a tourney at Rayburn on the 27th. In my mind, this could not have happened at a better time because I don't think the fish wil be shallow. I am thinking they will be holding on the deeper cover and structure. This front has really boosted my confidence because I feel the worse the conditions, the better chance I have. Reason being, I concentrate on fishing after severe weather changes as often as possible so I can track my fish. Braved the weather yesterday, it started out at about 50 but when we got to the water it was 42. Fished for 6 hrs and caught 4 that weighed 13-4. Never found the fifth bite but was pretty happy with the results. I will be concentrating my efforts in 10- 25' of water. I'll let the fish tell me rest. Any comments that you guys might have will be greatly appreciated.
-Joe
 

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If it is windy along with this frontal (storm) system that has been moving across the country, the shallow water bass will be very tough to catch, if there are any bass up tight. You should be fishing late winter or early pre spawn bass and slow down your presentations, in a week the cold weather can cool the water column down a few degrees. I would start outside on the secondary deep break lines where bass traditionally stage at Rayburn and try working up hill if possible near where you caught your pre fish bass.
Tom
 

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I've fished Rayburn maybe a dozen times in my life, so am no guide on this. I do have an idea about it for this month. The pool level ought to be rising due to the rains, so find out where it is before the tournament. If the water gets into the brush they might be gathering there mid day. I wouldn't rule out shallow bass. It depends on where their food goes. If that next front brings more rain the lake might be stained by then.

I'd start with the mouth of longest coves with some deep water in the cove channels where they can escape to if it turns out clear. Ignore coves not near good spawning areas. A protected flat with points on the north side out to be good, even though the spawn is a ways off. Main lake and secondary points within view of the main lake ought to produce using jigs, slow cranks. I'd concentrate on the steeper sides that are close to deep water. Finding some outside weedlines near a sharp drop-off ought to be wise. Check out the inside weedlines too. With water rising those places ought to have plenty of open water down to the latest kill-back line.

Pay close attention to the standing timber areas where bass ought to be ganging up in branches. Keep in mind on that lake high water covers a lot of the snags normally a little above water. It's THE place to ruin a lower unit. The regular boat lanes are probably easy to follow, but there are lots of unmarked lanes that are not fished as heavily, worth scouting out. I wouldn't follow any boater that might not know where the stumps are any better than you.

One more thing. Remember that air temperature affects YOU. Water temp affects bass activity. The lake ought to be in the 50s and I doubt the latest fronts will drop temps below the 50s. If you can find some shallow water at 62 consider pre-spawn techniques you would expect just before regular spawning season. 62 degrees is not out of the question on that lake by the end of January. It normally doesn't have the weather happening in Texas this year. A suspending hard jerkbait should be good if the bass are still lethargic. I doubt the water would warm that much except in really shallow water, north side, in full sun all day, and a dark bottom. If it stays in the mid 50s then a slow crawled jig with craw trailer should be a good pick.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh Jim, Jiim, Jim,.....If only had I read this sooner. We left this morning @ 3 a.m. Got there about 6. The temp was 45, wind 10-15 from the northeast and all other directions as well. On the water at 6:45. It's cold. I know it's in my mind but it was on my hands, face, legs.... Water temp throughout the day was 50 degrees. Never really found anything warmer than 51. Open lake was pretty rough and I am sore. This fish were suspended in about 15-18 ft. of the deep side of the drops of a set of north end points. They were everywhere. I haven't ever witnessed such an activity zone that was so obvious. We fished them hard. I threw cranks at each one with a very slow retrieve. We fsihed water with 12-20 depths with T-rigged plastics, and a power version of the shaky head. Nothing. The water clarity varied and we fished it all. I saw water that reminded me of the Red River in Natchitoches, La., water that looked like potato soup, water that looked like the cofee I drank this morning with two creams, and pretty water with 3-5' visibility that looked like good ole Sam Rayburn water. I was with Ed, the guy I will be fishing with this year. You know why I didn't catch any fish? It wasn't because of the harsh front trying to push through or the sub 50 temps or the steady drizzle, the muddy water. I let myself get talked out of what I felt would work. I used the 3/8" shakey head for the first time, I fished based off opinion and not my own. I did not throw that jerkbait today. Don't really know why either. I have 17 of them. All Smithwick. I love them. But didn't throw them. Today was prefish. It won't happen next week. Air temp is only predicted to get is mid 50s this week with pretty much the same conditions. Those fish were supseneded. I saw them. I saw all the clues I've read about, told myself to try the jerkbait and didn't. What a boob, huh?! They wanted a slo-o-o-w presentation and I never gave them one in the open water activity zones we were on. I will go with my strengths next week. I think I will do well. Thanks!!!!!
-Joe
 

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In case you didn't know, I throw a shaky head alot. :eek: BUT I won't throw it on anything larger than a 1/4 oz jighead. If the wind is so high I can't feel that, I switch to a c-rig. As for the jerkbaits, they are a clear water option IMO. I have had some success with them in many water conditions, but the clearer the water the better. How deep are the fish at Rayburn? I'd probably get skunked in your tournament, because stained/dirty cold water fish just ain't my bag. Right now the waters I fish are in the very low 50's, and the rain the last month or so has kept them stained. I am still waiting on my "Happy New Year" fish. :-[ :-[ But I'll be happy to attempt to help.
 

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Joe, its easy to coulda, woulda,shoulda on the way home, its my biggest weekness. Its like a moment of clarity on the way home. Happens to me every time! Say up and stay strong you will win next week you have the ticket. Everyone is quick to give up on the jerk bait but it will produce long after the pre-spawn patern starts.
 

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Sorry to hear that. I saw your post late and figured you might not see it in time.

I've been using X-Raps, Rouges and a Pointer in clowny (firetiger, etc.) colors in lighter stained water and jet black in what's now water looking like week-old tea to Starbucks in a cup. Visibility is about 18-22". Noisy baits haven't produced for some odd reason. When the water first stained up from rain I started off with noisemakers including a slow rolled Chatterbait, but it just didn't work. Maybe the super slow presentations just don't make the rattles sound good. They need some decent wobbling, but then the lure is going too fast. The bass seem awfully aloof now, coming right up to the boat following lures, then staying around the boat barely swimming around in tiny schools of maybe 10, otherwise staying close to most anything in the water like boulders, stumps, brush piles, standing timber, and especially floating trees. We have a mess out there. The good thing is they are in the same spots each day, and out from where they'll probably spawn. What it takes now is saturating an area you know has fish, covering every square foot of it, slowly. I mean pick out a shoreline reference and cast every foot. I jerk it a foot then pause it a few seconds until it comes across a bass. Even walleyes and big crappie are hitting those. When finding them deeper we're using spoons, Gay Blades, and other lead spinners fished straight down to them.

Good luck on the real deal there.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Steel, fish were suspended in 13-17 ft. I had water clear enough for hard jerkbaits.

Imonem, you're right, coulda, woulda, shoulda, I will do alot better next week.

Jim, I will do much better next week. I have the knowledge to fish these jerkbaits efficiently and I think that is what I am going to use because I don't believe very many will be.

Thanks guys!!!
-Joe

P.S. Hi Steel- you should try the shakeyhead on a 3/8 head. It is really awesome from what I have seen first hand. It's just not something I'm comfortable with yet.
 

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Try to find some structure where the suspended bass are holding on the outside break line. 50 degrees is still late winter and you need to slow down. You might also want to try a Sworming Hornet with 3" Fluke, hologram shad color. Let this lure fall through the bass, the slow retrieve back. Under spins are are very good suspended bass lure. The cold wind makes everything uncomfortable and it's very difficult to keep your concentration. Mega Bait makes a great structure spoon, 3/4 ounce black shad or chartruse shad, add a white chicken feather Owner #2 treble hook. A slow swimming swim bait, 6" Mega Bait LA slider in shad color works well on these bass. Drop shot 6" Roboworms, oxblood light red flake or MMIII. If you Texas rig, use a 7" striaght tail worm, add a glass bead and use 3/16 oz brass or tungsten painted bullet weights and shake the worm before moving it. Shaking is keeping the weight on the bottom and shaking the line with your rod tip about 6" for 15 to 30 seconds. Strike detection is a pressure bite where the line gets heavy. Hold the rod up at 2 o'clock and bounce the rod rod tip, run the line over yourindex finger to feel the line.
Tom
ps; one of these days you need to give these presentations a try, however not during a tournament as you will not focus properly on a new technique. The brass "n" glass T rig should be easy to use and you need to try that in cold water, much better than a jig worm. Got to run and good luck.
 

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Yeah it was cold last Sunday on Lake Norman in NC.
Lots of wind and rough water. Air temp = 40s. H2O = lo 50s.
I decided to join the Polar Bear club and go for a swim.
Not a conscious choice to get wet, but I went all the way under.
I was reaching for a rod that had fallen overboard (I keep floats on all of them) and gravity overcame my desire to stay in the boat. I was wearing a lot of layers and a Sospender(auto inflate).
Wish someone could have gotten it on film.
Real glad I added a ladder to this boat.
Also, have a new appreciation for my truck heater.

Lessons learned: keep rods strapped down. Always have a ladder on your boat. PFD all the time. The shock of the cold water is really something and the PFD kept my head above water inspite of my heavey winter clothes and boots acting like a sponge. The SOSpender or whatever PFD, is a good idea to wear even after you stop the big engine. In the winter that cold water can be disorienting and cause you to panic.

Also, keep your cell phone in a water tight bag stored on the boat. I am now in the process of recreating my phone book.
;)
 

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Good post rh. Unless you have been through a cold water bath, you have no idea how it can effect you. With these new flotation devices there is no reason to ever have the thing laying in the bottom of the boat. You should always have it on, especially in cold water situations. The only problem I have is that these types of vests came out in the 70's for scuba divers and the one I purchased back then cost about $35.00. It was used as a bouyancy regulator and for emergency accent. Just cant quite understand why they are so darned high right now. The technology and the material are not new. Could it be that they have found a fantastic new market and have decided to gouge us a little? No Way !! >:D >:D ;)
 
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