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Giving Fish too much Credit
By Colin Crawford
A fish has two major things in its environment, the water it lives in
and the weather that is changing, not only seasonally but day-by day,
hour-by -hour and minute-by-minute. These two things alone control fish
activity. The most unstable either the weather or water becomes, the
more rapid these two factors change, and you'll see an effect on
fishing. A fish cannot stand a fast change.
If we're using a deeper diving lure like a Reef Runner Deep Diver
you can achieve the same depths with just two segments of leadcore.
The general rule is high action crankbaits for warm water, subtle
action for cool water. When you find a concentration of fish in over 40
feet of water and they are suspended at 30 feet, start from the bottom
and work your bait up to the strike zone. Most anglers would try
to determine how much line to let out until they were in 30 feet
of water. The easiest method is to let out line until you are on
bottom and then crank in line until you have a strike.
A lot of people don't realize that fish move on a seasonal and daily
basis, and when they move they use underwater structure, essentially
bottom of the lake that is just a little different. Things like bars,
underwater humps and manmade structure like submerged roadbeds, levees
or riprap along dams or causeways.
When a fish leaves its sanctuary, to eat or search for food, it has
to have something visually to follow. A fish is a stupid creature.
It cannot rationalize like a human being, and when it moves about
it must have something it can follow. Fish don't swim about a lake
haphazardly. Not only can they see structure but, we can also locate
that same structure with our observations of land, depthfinders and
the feel of the lures on the bottom.
Largemouth bass will be in 30 to 35 feet of water the bulk of the
season, and in winter they will be a little bit deeper if that depth is
The most important thing to remember is that the larger a fish becomes
the tighter it schools and the more time it spends in deep water. A fish
lives there because it is forced there by environment over a period of
time. When a fish becomes an adult, its body takes longer to make
adjustments to the changing conditions of the water and weather. It's
easier for it to make these adjustments in deep water. The deeper you
go, the more stable conditions will become. A fish can stay there for
weeks. It doesn't have to move into the shallows all summer.
Is there enough food and oxygen down deep to support fish populations?
Absolutely there's food. There are shad, baitfish, and bluegills at
35, 45 feet. A fish's menu may change and it may be less selective,
but it doesn't have to move shallow to feed. But you have to keep
this in mind: When a fish is down deep it's probably dormant and
its body requires very little food. It is just sitting there and
not expending much energy, so it really doesn't need any food. This
also makes for difficult fishing, and you have to get your lures
closer to them. A strike zone is very small in deep water, because
of visibility and the
lethargic nature of the fish. We all know that a fish requires certain
amounts of oxygen to survive. You must remember that a fish is a
very adjustable creature, and when there is a very small amount of
oxygen in an area it will adjust, unless the situation gets to a
point where there is just not enough to survive.
But no one has proven that a fish has a preferred oxygen zone. Structure
in relation to deep water is our guide to finding fish. We've heard hundreds
of times that "you can't catch fish in this lake because of the thermocline
and there's not enough oxygen down there," and invariably we go find
a deep hump and bang there is the walleye or smallmouth.
When big, adult fish do move out of this deep water they leave as a
school. Even muskie school, contrary to some things you may have read.
The reason most people don't realize this is because they are not
fishing the depths correctly.
A good level wind reel is essential and a good graphite rod that has
the potential for a long sweep of the rod tip so that when those
"eyes" hit, it has some give. I prefer to use the downrigger variety
of rods. They have the sensitivity and the backbone that I need for
this type of system. You should start with a level wind reel spooled with
500 feet of 8 pound test line, tie in a segment of one, two or three
colors of 18 pound leadcore, and finish with another 50 feet 8 pound
test, as a leader to the bait.
The length of the leadcore segment varies by the type of crankbait
you'll be using and the depth you need to achieve. For example, in
the late fall's chilly water,
A fish basically is a fish, and it reacts to the environment
accordingly. If you keep the basics in mind you will catch the species
that you are after. If you are interested in reading more about this technique
or other techniques you can find me on the web at www.northwoodsfishing.net.
If you are interested in a guided trip, a personal media interview,
or photo shoot, please call 715-545-8347. I am located in the Phelps,
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