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Jan 23rd, 2013
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What am I doing wrong? #13353541 11/26/19 04:58 PM
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I took up sandbass/hybrid/striper fishing about two years ago after 35 years of bass and crappie fishing. In that time, I’ve become fairly competent at finding and catching fish spring through early fall. But I still can’t figure out this winter thing. I have read all of the threads and watched all of the videos about deadsticking. I’ve caught tons of fish with a guide deadsticking. I just can’t seem to find them on my own. I’m finding tons of bait but no fish in or around them. I’ve been focusing on points and main lake humps. I tend to look in water between 10 and 30 feet deep. I usually fish afternoon/evenings. I’m using slabs, flukes, and tail spinners. I do not have a thumper but I do pound the bottom of my boat off and on. I can’t do it all day! Does anyone have any tips? I’m not looking for trophy stripers. I’m perfectly happy catching sand bass to fry for the family. If it matters, I fish Tawakoni exclusively. Any tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13353803 11/26/19 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Skippy
I took up sandbass/hybrid/striper fishing about two years ago after 35 years of bass and crappie fishing. In that time, I’ve become fairly competent at finding and catching fish spring through early fall. But I still can’t figure out this winter thing. I have read all of the threads and watched all of the videos about deadsticking. I’ve caught tons of fish with a guide deadsticking. I just can’t seem to find them on my own. I’m finding tons of bait but no fish in or around them. I’ve been focusing on points and main lake humps. I tend to look in water between 10 and 30 feet deep. I usually fish afternoon/evenings. I’m using slabs, flukes, and tail spinners. I do not have a thumper but I do pound the bottom of my boat off and on. I can’t do it all day! Does anyone have any tips? I’m not looking for trophy stripers. I’m perfectly happy catching sand bass to fry for the family. If it matters, I fish Tawakoni exclusively. Any tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

It sounds like you're doing many right things. I would follow the river channel and where they bend to points and humps. Then, do serpentine patterns with your boat until you mark fish and/or bait. It also helps to have a GPS trolling motor to lock your position. Then thump to bring them in.

Cadence and magnitude of your jigging, plastic movements are really key. Bob Maindelle is the expert on these techniques (jigging, smoking, easing). I took a trip with him 2 yrs ago and follow his techniques to find and catch whites/hybrids. You may want to watch that video where he shows you where to look, what to look for, and how to fish the 3 different techniques.

Good luck, Tim


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13353835 11/26/19 10:32 PM
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Given your experience in fishing, and the fact that a guide taught you the basics. I think the key factor here is timing-afternoon/evening. Early afternoon is great, but Its been my experience that anytime after 3:30 pm is the least effective time to deadstick. Best to put environmentals in your favor while you're learning. This makes the subtle details less critical.

Last edited by Chris Richardson; 11/26/19 10:33 PM.
Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13353909 11/26/19 11:51 PM
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Location doesn’t really matter for me on Twak as long as it’s 40ft plus deep, never had any luck deadsticking in shallower water. Speed is a big factor and keeping your bait at the right level is important. Drift sock is necessary to slow down your drift speed

Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354050 11/27/19 02:29 AM
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Go deeper. I can’t think of a time I have dead sticked in less than 45 foot. I try to find the deepest water I can. Look for river channels.


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354086 11/27/19 03:01 AM
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Thanks for the tips. I’ll definitely try earlier and deeper. The biggest problem is probably not being able to fish often enough. Until the kids get older, I don’t see that changing.

Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354105 11/27/19 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Skippy
Thanks for the tips. I’ll definitely try earlier and deeper. The biggest problem is probably not being able to fish often enough. Until the kids get older, I don’t see that changing.

Seems to me that when I only have 1-2 hours to fishing between kids activities... are my best days fishing! Maybe because I have a game plan before going or pure luck?! Go whenever you have a chance. I pretty much gave up the golf clubs because of 4hrs of me time. Can’t get me rod though! Good luck and keep that line wet.


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354340 11/27/19 02:08 PM
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Sand bars and creek beds that intersect or are close to deeper water are key right now for sand bass. Try dragging the sandy bottom with either a slab or one ounce jig and fluke. I would not fish in less than 30 FOW. Time on the water is key. Drifting is key for the lakes I fish. .4 to .5 mph tops. Wind sock and or troller aided to steer on course .

Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354414 11/27/19 03:06 PM
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I've never targeted them, but caught this one by accident in 5 feet of water on a flat, near creek channel that drops off to 10 feet, throwing a suspending jerkbait. Caught weekend before last on Palestine, water temps around 60. It did get me to thinking about where they hang out this time of year.

[Linked Image]


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354633 11/27/19 05:49 PM
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Right now my lake is 49-50 degrees. Fish want the bait deadstill and if it’s not windy I might put a subtle bounce to it. Lot of fish are hugging bottom of the lake so I lift my bait 6-12 inches off bottom. I look for the shallowest fish possible. Shallow fish are typically active fish and the deeper on the structure you go the less active they tend to be. By shallow I’m finding them in 15-20 fow.

Do you feel confident you are seeing actual hybrids on the graph?


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354919 11/27/19 09:50 PM
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No. That’s my problem. I don’t think I’m seeing fish at all. Just tons of bait. If I find them, I feel confident I can catch them. I’ve even tried your trick of using SI but I struggle with that.

Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354990 11/27/19 11:01 PM
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I trust 2D sonar paired with SI with range set at 40-50 ft 455khz. Fish this morning were glued to bottom where I could not image them on SI other than where the water met the floor of the lake. I’ve gotten to where SI returns helps me conclude its hybrid versus white bass or something else but 2D sonar helps me not overlook fish bottom hugging. Always drive the same speed when searching for fish (3-5 mph). The faster you go the less significant the fish will show up on the graph. I also keep my chart speed on at least 8 if not 10 the entire trip no matter what.

Don’t stop till you find the fish. This morning I was stopping on maybe 4-8 fish seen across my graph and once ontop of them the few would often become many and the first few minutes often was the hottest action.



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Last edited by RespectTheFish; 11/27/19 11:04 PM.

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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13354994 11/27/19 11:07 PM
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Also, consider getting or building a thumper and/or splasher prop. I don’t know how much of a difference it makes at other times of the year but I know for a fact it makes a difference in cold water for whatever reason


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13355061 11/28/19 12:07 AM
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I agree with Clay about the importance of 2d and learning how to read it. I can probably count on one hand how many times that I have located fish that show up on side imaging but not 2d. 90% of the time I am running 2d. The schools of fish are usually large enough that any group of fish that shows up on side imaging will show on 2d as well, most of the time. One of the most important things to learn when you do find fish is to determine if thy are active or not, this can help keep you from wasting time with inactive fish.

On this screen shot there are two groups of fish, active and inactive fish. The active fish are suspended mid depth from 18-25'. The inactive fish are just above the bottom from 32' down. You can tell the inactive fish due to the almost perfect arch they create. That arch is created due to the fact that the fish stays stationary as the 2d cone covers the entire fish. The active fish at the 18-25' depth create long lines. Some call that the spaghetti lines, which is created as the fish is moving as the fish goes through the 2d cone ( Cone Of Death). Sometimes its just best to slow down. As you will notice the boat speed is 0.6 mph as I am on my trolling motor and my screen speed is set at 2.


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Re: What am I doing wrong? [Re: Skippy] #13355182 11/28/19 02:05 AM
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Thank you guys. That’s great info. Especially the stuff about the active vs inactive fish. I had not heard that before. I guess I need to check my screen speed. I have no idea what it’s set at. My biggest problem is still going to be finding them - active or inactive. I see Clay’s pics show the fish in 20-30 fow. That’s pretty much where I’ve been expecting to find them. I’ll try 20-40 fow in the morning.

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