In my observation there are two types of suspending Bass. There are Big Bass and Schooling Bass. Once a Bass gets to around 5 lbs. they have selected their home and comfort zone there of. They suspend at the same depth while in this comfort zone and not feeding. The spot is always just a few feet from their route to feeding grounds and spawning grounds. It will always be right next to the best Irregular Feature on that deep water contour line. They choose this spot so they can move up quickly and feed stopping at ambush spots along the way. Then when threatened or have consumed enough bait they will immediately retreat back to that zone until the next feeding period. Location, location is the key and you must find their stopping spots to catch them as well as being there at the right time. These spots are the first high ground or a ledge, then any cover that is scattered from there to the funnel point that they will use if they have to go farther toward the shallows to find food. To me catching a Big Bass shallow means she was forced to make the short trip to find enough food.
Schooling Bass are smaller fish that have not made the weigh-in and are feeding many more times during the day. They are on the alert of what is happening around them and one day they may be suspended on bait at 20 ft.; the next day it may be 10 ft.. They are constantly on the move and follow all kinds of bait fish as they have a appetite of a number of species of bait and Crayfish. In most instances this makes the schooling Bass some easier to catch if you have done your home work and know how to mimic the different species they are after. I have found that Bass suspended outside of the bait ball are extremely hard to catch. They must be actively feeding on them and even then they are so zeroed in on the species they pay little attention to baits that are closest to the bait that they are chasing. What has worked for me is to mimic a different species that may also be feeding on the bait. Get outside the box and mimic a pray fish that is acting out of the ordinary to what the Bass are use to seeing. They absolutely hate any pray fish acting crazy chasing the bait and will swoop in and take it out. The erratic action of a Crappie pattern bait, Perch, Sand Bass and Blue Gill has always got the bites for me. I best do this with the Custom Chatter Bait, Jirk Bait and Cranks.
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