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13364 Views 77 Replies 30 Participants Last post by  ab8aac
Pre-Spawn is my favorite seasonal period because it is the time when a catch of a lifetime can occur. Following the cold water period of late winter, pre-spawn begins when the water temperate approaches 55 degrees down to the depth of light. The female bass leave their deep sanctuaries and stage near structure breaks, that holds baitfish and clay or rocky soil where crawdads are coming out of hibernation, located close to the spawning flats. Wood cover like trees or brush on deep break lines is ideal if that type of cover is available.
The big bass are hungry and feeding to get ready for the spawn. These bass are usually in small groups or 5 to 15 fish and stay in the staging area for a few weeks or until the water warms to 58 to 60 degrees, then begin to cruise the spawning flats. Depending on the depth of light the big bass will stay a few feet above good light pentration and are establishing the territory they plan to spawn in.
The primary prey source for these big bass are emerging crawdads and baitfish. The presentations that trigger these bass are reaction baits that look like the prey fish or jigs and creature baits that mimic crawdads. Swim baits, spinner baits, crank baits, plastic worms  and jigs. The emerging crawdads are green/brown in color, the baitfish will be predominately light color due to the colder water and your lures should be in those hues. It is a little early for salamanders or waterdogs to be a food source factor, however big bass will eat them if available and kill them on sight during the spawn. Bluegill and crappie are also a good baitfish during this time. Eels are a cold water food source and the darker color plastic worms and jig trailers work well.
On larger reservoirs the deeper water zones tend to warm later than the protected flats near deep water points or channels. Therefore you can follow the pre-spawn from the north west wind protected areas to the more wind prone areas and extend the pre-spawn period without targeting spawner's.
Smallmouth and spots tend to spawn at 58 to 62 degrees, where largemouth tend to spawn at 62 to 65 degrees. The bigger bass may spawn deeper down to 15 feet if the water clarity is very good or 6 to 2  feet in off color water. The smaller bass tend to be up in 1 to 3 feet. Clay with gravel/sand near wood / brush or tulle's is preferred for largemouth and rock/gravel for spots and smallmouth.
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I've hopped all over the internet, belonging to at least 20 fishing forums this year alone, looking for folks who want to discuss fishing technically. Mostly what I found was about 99% idle chit chat, people just bored and wanting to talk to someone about anything. Their cat is constipated. The truck is using too much oil. Many find their local buds online and they sit and talk all night. Many are in a race to see who hits 20,000 posts first, each post a one-liner saying something like "Bump", the topic the latest NFL brawl. "He's just a thug." That counts as one post.

What I'm very certain of is there are mostly 5 types of forum members. The first group is the "talkers", about anything under the sun, who might be willing to say something once a day about fishing. They are too involved in too many sports to devote much effort to fish talk. They fish occasionally, but if you check the times and dates of posts, they fish rarely.

The next are the "lurkers", the majority of membership not knowing enough about fishing to write about it, but learning what they've needed daily. The main thing is they are there, gobling up all the knowledge they can find. Most of them have never once posted anything. You can check the membership pages and see that. Zero posts.

Another is the "teachers" who know enough to write articles about fishing, who have a ton of fishing experience. Those might fill 3% of the membership. They don't hesitate to teach and answer questions. It's that way in any organization. In churches 20% of the people are involved, 10% doing the work of the opther 90%. BUT, they have a "calling" to do the work without regret or disappointment. They just keep plugging. Of that group maybe 90% wait to answer or contribute when opportunity arises. The other 10% of this group actually initiate activity, stimulating the activities. 

One group, in the great minority, are those who are actively improving their fishing and willing to actually post a question. We really love seeing those posts, as they will learn something, and those who answer are bound to solidify what they know by collecting their thoughts. Many times I've been fishing and thinkling about a tip I posted, then use it and begin catching. If I had not written about it lately I might not have remembered it.

Then there are those, the least in number, knowing enough they shouldn't have to be a member anywhere, but wanting to just keep up with trends, making sure bass fishing knowledge is going forth, what people think, mostly the staff folks doing a lot of work behind the scenes, keeping the e-machinery going, finding ways to pay the forum bills, finding sponsors, being diplomats, moderating, with no time to be directly involved.

Tom and I found on our last forum in common people that do ask questions ask the same ones asked 50 times already. They get answered and we begin directing them to the search tool, only to lose everything and start over. At least here it's still here, and we have a pleasant forum sponsor that is easy to live with, who responds personally. There is no offensive stuff going on unfit for children.  And we are only a few months old.

I just post as though the whole world is eager to read it and have quit worrying about responses. I know people are absorbing what I was privilege to learn and enjoy over the past 4 1/2 decades. I don't have a son or daughters carrying on my sport, so I'm determined to pass it on to those taking time to visit here.

Lastly, I'm in the habit that if a topic is covered, I pass on to the next. Tom is presenting excellent knowledge and I find it difficult to add to that knowledge base. I'm gonna tell off on Tom. Fortunately for me he sometimes doesn't address the actual question  :D That allows me the chance to answer it, AND enjoy the lessons he types out. So if I don't add in it's because he's handling it.

Here's the way I've always looked at learning. If I learn all you know and you don't know all I know, that makes me smarter than you. Sounds a little selfish, yes. Unselfishness is to divulge YOUR stuff to even us all out. When first taking college calculus I never asked questions. Bad mistake. I THOUGHT or HOPED I was understanding. So I ended up flunking the course and having to repeat it. Why didn't I ask questions the first time thorough? Obviously I didn't know enough to ask a question. That fits a number of readers here. But eventually it will all click and they'll begin to add in.

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Tom, I admire your enthusiasm.

It's true there are no fishing secrets, but there is a lack of knowledge that until learned remains a mystery to many. I fish a lot of antique lures because I still like them andthey produce. The techniques and presentations have not changed, few improvements possible. It all boils down to locating fish, getting a lure down to them,  detecting a bite, setting the hook, and getting them in the boat. Maybe the largest change is fish handling techniques. In the old days the fish were kept for fish fries, catch & release unthinkable.

The earliest bassers grew up first catching panfish on a litle bream hook and worm or insect. It taught us how quickly a fish can sample an offering then eat it or reject it. Folks that learned how to keep fish from stealing baits became the best anglers. They developed that touch needed to do well. I still think a basser needs to relax occasionally and still-fish for bream just to sharpen reflexes, especially when it's been a long time since last fishing.

The pre-spawn isn't far off and it's time to think about it. We needed to be talking winter fishing back mid fall so all could digest the information and get set up with winter lures. It's important to keep that sensitivity edge. I hear year after year at the pre-spawn "I get many bites but just can't connect". Practice now. Plan now. Get those pre-spawn lures in prime condition, top quality hooks ultra sharp, just the right rod, reel, line. Fill the bathtub and get very familiar with how the lures swim. It's a great way to pass winter. The best setup I've seen is a clear plastic tank in a baitshop allowing you to try a lure before buying. A swimming pool is nice, but it's hard to really se what a lure is doing in there. I want to know exactly what a lure does when sitting still, twitched, jerked. That tank was perfect with a clerk fishing and observers studying. A bass club project with merit would be to build one that remains available to anyone. 3 sheets are needed for a tank 8' long, 2' X 2'. 1/4" thick is $170 each, 1/2" is $314. A glass shop can order and pre-cut and bevel edges for you. All you need is at places like

When it gets scratched up there are buffing/polishing kits.

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Moved to RIVERS
Why bother? I've asked the same thing on many boards. I'm looking at leaving yet two more boards because of outright disrespect, senseless challenging of working techniques, ignoring such important base knowledge concepts like Tom posted (calendar), and many other reasons for giving up here and there. I'm practically down to two now, my life membership at NAFC, BBC, and this place. It was 15 last year at this time. When the boards go social club style and fishing tip sections are dead, I move on.

Clearly, not one member asked for information about bass seasons. If, however, that's what it takes to generate a well presented article on something every angler needs, then we're already doomed. I'd say the fact nobody had asked indicates a total lack of knowledge or interest in that area among all but Tom, the evidence being no discussion about it. Ignorance in that area is a sure guarantee none will succeed on a tournament trail. So, the knowledge is offered before an asking. It's an essential, one of many not discussed here yet. If while attending elementary school we only learned about what we asked about, we'd have not been educated. We at least need to respect input from guys like Tom. He's proven. I respect him greatly. I'm thankful he takes time to do what he does. If a member here reads something he didn't already know, some reply ought to be offered. A "No Response" is taken as disinterest. Given sufficient disinterest the serious technical posters move on quietly, not much noticed for their absense. The board degrades into the morasse of most, a mainly social club of old friends that stayed.

As for the name of our place here, the only problem I've had with it is the site filtering issue. I can't get on at the Community College library, at work, or anywhere else with a content blocker. The "***holes" part isn't accepted. So, I have to wait till I get home. That's OK. It just limits my time here.

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I've had a tough time staying on fishing boards. I left a favorite (BR) because the owner told me I was intimidating members who feared to post behind me. What a shame. I write the way I think and am not smart enough to change that. That's like being unwelcome in a science classroom because of always standing and having the right answers to questions while most other answers are a little off or incomplete. Rather than attempt to change my ways I unsubscribed as soon as I read that owner's PM. Never looked back, but had a lot of "friends" there liking my input. The trouble I had in BM started when I defended harvesting of some bass, opposing C&R as a logical, science-based general practice everywhere. I paid a price for standing with biology instead of emotion.

But here so far I don't recall any serious opposition to ideas or unconstructive criticism. As on other boards there will always be some youngsters coming on with a few months of experience challenging us old timers who've already screened out what doesn't work well. We don’t have the decades of youth ahead, so tend to squeeze out all the quality we can. I have a favorite saying for face to face encounters like that. I let them ramble on until they run out of talk. "Is that all you have to say? If they say "Yes" in some form, I close with "Then I'm smarter than you are since I know all you know and still know what I knew." Sometimes that wakes a guy up. It’s just a guy thing, like driving in a strange city lost but refusing to ask directions. Although I don’t hesitate to help when asked, I’ll let an out-of-towner drive by my house 500 times probably looking for Michele street where it seems nobody can get there from anywhere else because one end of it looks like a driveway.

Another of my problems is long posts like this one. I’m not much of a one-line communicator, wanting to speak my peace in one place then move on. Sometimes I suppose that gags some folks trying to absorb what a lifetime of fishing has resulted in for me. All too often a “serious” discussion gets broken up with comics and lots of unrelated dialog, another reason for wanting to spit it out all at once to keep it together. In the past many times I’ve answered like a sonar question, my answer back on page one, followed by discussion about asteroids destroying earth, and on page 9 the same question shows back up. Sometimes it irritates folks for me to answer “Please read page one”. Kinda embarrassing?

Tom, others, and myself do have a lot of stuff not brought up yet. How can you detail a lifetime of learning? For me I’ve sort of retreated to a post and run mode, mostly camping out where folks are really serious about learning at a time they can’t actually fish, until ice-out. I go where there’s a demand for actual fishing talk.

I’ve written a lot of board articles, some getting a “Thanks for the article” from an owner or moderator, but no discussion or follow-up whatsoever, so I cut way back on those. Without feedback to show interest it’s a little hard to put that kind of time into something. Communicating like that is like sending notes over the sea in a bottle. It’s more satisfying to engage in a more “live” discussion. I don’t know what the answers will be. I do realize some members are reading and appreciating everything. Because we know that we keep on through the deafening silence.

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Besides all that I fish a LOT all year long, still work second shift, all a lot more than getting time on the internet :D

Good grief! I was out walking in shorts this morning and a fishing buddy drove by commenting on my paper white legs. "You look like a corpse. Hide them thangs." So there's ANOTHER project to work on. I'll sure be glad to shed the heavy winter threads. Some days I wear so much I can't bend over in the boat. Hey, 40 degrees is UNBEARABLE for some of us Southern boys :mad:

Those appreciations do keep the ol crackerbarrel gang typing. I used to write articles on boards, the kind covering things nobody asked about, but dang it, I figured nobody bothered reading since I don't recall a single comment on the talk forums. So, I just quit that. A lot of time goes into articles. It looks like here those things will be welcomed better so articles will at least begin.

I guess the topic is straying a bit, so might as well stray again. About holding a rod correctly for jigging. First I'd say whatever position works for you, stick with it. But to me, and to Tom, holding the tip out toward the jig works great. When I have a rod tip high and using the latest no-see-um lines it's awfully hard to see that line. With more in the water and rod aimed at it I can instantly tell where the line is and it's easier to tell whether the line is being dragged off to one side by a fish. Way back in the ole days Tom and I remain so fond of, it was unthinkable to point a rod at a lure. It was a snappy way to get a lure snapped off. Back then mono stretched, but just kept stretching, and needed a limber rod to save it.

No rod, no matter how "sensitive" it is, will produce the slightest more vibration than comes up the main line. I'd bet some of the energy a fish bite coming up line is lost along the line and in the rod. If you hold a cork handle, more energy is absorbed. It always has been, and always will be better to feel line directly rather than try feeling a bite through a rod. Holding the rod aimed at the jig is bound to help you detect a bite better.

Another factor is hook-setting power. From that position you can have at a full swing, driving a heavy jig hook home through the toughest mouth.

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Welcome Roy. "TY" at Insider is Tom here. I was Arkieforester. Jump right in and comment or at least ask questions.

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