One thing's for sure: the amount of rainfall can affect fish location patterns like no tomorrow! Fish were gone from the areas in all waters due to a 3 yr. drought ending last fall. Even locations this spring were different and at first hard to find, but with persistence and trying water 2-6', fish in large numbers were found. Location patterns changed after staying stable for a week or so, but one thing that stayed the same was the need for a 1/32 jighead.
Shallow water patterns 5 ' or less need lures that can stay in the provocation zone the longest - lure design does the rest. As many of have grasped using small lures, it's the little things fish sense and lures that exhibit even the least amount of action with the slowest retrieve have greater chances of getting an inactive fish to strike.
Here's an idea: you come upon an inactive fish (not all fish that strike were active to begin with and I'd bet few are). Okay, so the fish senses a lure with an interesting design that gets it's juices flowing. It could be the slight quivers or the darting or the flapping - something a fish can't ignore and stay calm.
I've invented theoretical rates of fish activity levels:
Level 1 - suspending off bottom with not a care in the world
Level 2 - fish senses a lure and tracks it's movement and motions as well as computing its size (fish may strike something a bit to big for it's mouth, but not always - as its it's nature
Level 3 - fish must investigate with it's mouth to see what all the quivering is about
Level 4 - fish may have missed the first time but follows and attacks again on the same retrieve, slamming the lure like there's no tomorrow and eventually hooking itself!
Level 5 - fish attacks with gusto on the next cast to the spot the hook set failed and may even attack again and again just under the boat - even in 4'. That fish won't take no for an answer! - so to speak.
Now, for levels 3-5 to occur, the lure's speed and angler-imparted presentation-manipulations that enhance design motions must be just right. Too fast and the fish observes nature's law of conservation - conservation of energy to be precise. The lure could be the best one ever made, but move it too fast or to far from the fish and all you're getting is casting practice.
Along with a slow enough speed, are a lure's subtle actions that are so typical of those in nature: the squiggles of worms; antennae waving (craw) ever so slightly; fins slightly moving; bugs twitching on surface; small fish gliding from place to place.
So today and last week, the pattern made itself know: a lot of rain (4" since last Fri.) positioned fish out of the deeper areas (sonar showed almost none no matter where I went) and into water less than 5' and on flats that came out 30 yds. from shore. Once I launched, I moved the boat only 100' away, parallel to the shoreline and anchored after catching three fish. In that hour I caught over a dozen fish fan casting towards and parallel to shore. 2.5" of rain yesterday evening diluted the bright green algae possibly making the lure visible from a slightly longer distance.
I would then move the boat another 15 yds. maintaining boat position in 5-6', but casting to less. Crappie, many Level 4 yellow perch, sunfish and a few small bass were easily ratcheted up to Level 4 and often to Level 5. In order to motivate those fish, 1/32 oz jigs and slimmer lures with prong tails or small paddle tails and length of less than 2.5" proved work better than 1/16 oz with any lure. Granted, I did cast 1/16 oz jigs and 2.5" lures and did catch many fish that were already at Level 3, but for those in 2-3' of water, slower and smaller proved deadly! (a bass angler term labeling a bass's strike on a lure someone is trying to sell you.)
If you asked me whether I would ever use something as small as 1/64, I'd say, not really my cup of tea. But I did for the first time and found casting distance was little different than using 1/32 oz. taking into consideration the weight of the soft plastic lure. (Both are interchangeable, but maybe the 1/64 may work better under a float or the ice.)
As for those anglers that only target big fish species, good for them. But for my time on the water, I want as many strikes as I can generate using as many lures designs and modifications as possible. The pattern was repeated on the opposite shoreline and it's allowed me to answer more questions I had regarding lure color, size, shape and action. 106 fish boated. Not bad for a bright Sat. afternoon.
Edited by SenkoSam (09/05/17 07:46 AM)