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#11225734 - 11/15/15 05:48 PM So I found bait fish, now what?
Jkrez Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/19/14
Posts: 241
Loc: Kingwood, TX
This is something I've been struggling with for a while in my quest to be a weekend KVD. Everything I read and watch preaches about bait fish. "If you find the bait, you find the fish", "go where the bait is" etc etc

So I find the bait...then what? Today was a prime example in my struggles. While on Rayburn I found bait everywhere in Coleman, mainly 20-30' deep, with the occasional baitball in the 15' range, mainly around creeks. But I didn't see any predator fish (bass) on my graph around any bait that I saw, and I saw a ton of bait today.

What do y'all do after you've found the bait? Is bait location just a general rule of where to fish, or should I fish in the immediate vicinity of the bait?

This seems like such a dumb, rookie question, but it's something I haven't quite grasped yet and need a little help.

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#11225835 - 11/15/15 06:36 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
epicoutdoors Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/18/08
Posts: 1944
Loc: On The Water NE Texas
Finding baitballs or schools of bait doesn't guaranty that you found the fish. They won't be far away but they are not always feeding. Feeding bass will generally look to push bait into areas where they will have an advantage. Humps, ridges, ledges, tree lines, shoreline pockets and various other structure features are the type of places where you will find bait and bass in attack mode.

Usually, it's a timing thing. Having a milkrun of productive areas and putting in the time to figure out the prime hours for each will help you figure it out.

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#11225836 - 11/15/15 06:36 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Ricky Taylor Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 1815
Loc: Midlothian, Texas
Match the hatch if you can

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#11225855 - 11/15/15 06:42 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Wayne P. Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/16/10
Posts: 3679
Loc: Charlottesville, Va
You fish the areas that has baitfish AND predators together. Look for the activity that shows feeding going on like this:





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#11226032 - 11/15/15 07:54 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
senko9S Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 10/15/03
Posts: 21734
Loc: Bedford, TX
fish the high spots, figure out the timing patterns.
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#11226040 - 11/15/15 07:58 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Jkrez Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/19/14
Posts: 241
Loc: Kingwood, TX
With bait, do you have to fish shad type stuff? Or will anything work? If I throw a jig, will the fish even look at it since they're focused on shad?

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#11226047 - 11/15/15 08:06 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
senko9S Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 10/15/03
Posts: 21734
Loc: Bedford, TX
lots of shad swim jigs out there.
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#11226077 - 11/15/15 08:22 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Txmedic033 Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 08/13/13
Posts: 4008
Loc: Longview, Tx
If the bait is in a solid ball the fish beneath it aren't feeding. Look for scattered bait and busted up bait balls and you will be ready to go pro you will catch so many. Finding the scattered bait is the hardest part.

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#11226087 - 11/15/15 08:27 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Jake Shannon(Skeet4Life) Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 7716
Loc: Tyler, Tx/Arlington, Tx
Find bait around depth change. You have a much better chance to catch fish that are feeding on shad when they are using things like points, humps, ledges and ridges to ambush the bait. My number 1 bait is a strike king 6xd or 8xd find bait near these higher spots or depth change. Make long cast and bounce that crank along the bottom. Allot of the time bait fish will be hanging out off ledges and off the ends of points 20-30ft in big balls, when the bass start feeding they either push that bait to the surface or push the bait up onto the top of the point or ledge to feed thats when you will catch them. It is not easy to catch bass around large bait balls when they are not feeding.

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#11226111 - 11/15/15 08:41 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Im RICK JAMES Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 1001
Loc: Alvord,tx
If they bait is balled up tight usually means nothing's attacking them in my experience. Try to find broken scattered schools on graph. I can see the streaks going thru but usually it's sand bass or hybrid. Bass push them shallower. Right now there's a lot of bait fish pooping surface in the backs of coves
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#11226808 - 11/16/15 09:55 AM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Rudy Lackey Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 03/03/02
Posts: 8106
Loc: N. Richland Hills Texas USA
You see bait ball say 15' find 15' bottom go to work.
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#11227043 - 11/16/15 11:53 AM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Rudy Lackey]
the skipper Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 2278
Loc: nederland, TX
Originally Posted By: Rudy Lackey
You see bait ball say 15' find 15' bottom go to work.


There are exceptions but this usually works. If I see bait hanging at a certain depth then I start looking for contour changes at that depth.

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#11227898 - 11/16/15 06:55 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: epicoutdoors]
ezbassin Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 12698
Loc: Mansfield, Tx.
Originally Posted By: epicoutdoors
Finding baitballs or schools of bait doesn't guaranty that you found the fish. They won't be far away but they are not always feeding. Feeding bass will generally look to push bait into areas where they will have an advantage. Humps, ridges, ledges, tree lines, shoreline pockets and various other structure features are the type of places where you will find bait and bass in attack mode.

Usually, it's a timing thing. Having a milkrun of productive areas and putting in the time to figure out the prime hours for each will help you figure it out.


This is exactly correct.

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#11227910 - 11/16/15 06:58 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
ezbassin Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 12698
Loc: Mansfield, Tx.
Originally Posted By: Jkrez
With bait, do you have to fish shad type stuff? Or will anything work? If I throw a jig, will the fish even look at it since they're focused on shad?


A jig works well when they are located on or near the bottom and it works well pitching to stumps on points and near creek channels. A football head jig works well in more open water on points, ledges, humps,tank dams, etc.

Drop shots and Carolina rigs work well also.


Edited by ezbassin (11/16/15 07:00 PM)

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#11228100 - 11/16/15 08:08 PM Re: So I found bait fish, now what? [Re: Jkrez]
Ken A. Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 10/02/06
Posts: 8211
Loc: Trophy Club, TX
One of my favorite patterns in the summer at Fork is a 3/4 oz white jig with a white Zoom Super Chunk fished fast around schools of shad. Go to Youtube and look at Stroking a Jig.

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