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How long do you search? #13518264 04/15/20 01:19 AM
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spooncg Offline OP
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I wish I was better at this, but since I don’t get to fish much I usually hit the typical wind blown banks, look for birds, or fish spots I’ve had success at in the past. So how long do you guys spend looking for fish on the graph and also how many fish do you need to see before you start fishing? Just trying to get a better idea what to do to maximize my time on the water.

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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518309 04/15/20 01:59 AM
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well if you are talking hybrids, sandies or stripers, then here is what usually happens by default.....If I dont care how many fish I catch today and I am by myself just checking things out or fishing new to me water; I might graph around looking for an hour or more. I might motor to several different places too. I am looking for the graph to light up so to speak. It usually doesn't happen, but if I can find lots of distinct larger arches around structure and even better, with bait or more arches scattered above those big-uns on the bottom, thats when the bait drops.
if I got friends with me wanting to catch fish that day, i dont look for new water. I minimize waisted time graphing and go to tried areas and put hooks down.

Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518312 04/15/20 02:01 AM
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I have a bunch of spots marked. I drive to the closest one in series looking for a few fish. If no fish, i move on. If I see a few I crank up the thumper and splasher, should see a school in 5-10 and then use Panoptix to see what they are doing. If no response or not feeding then I move on. If you don’t use a splasher or thumper, do a drive by, if no fish move on. There is plenty of non productive water out there.


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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518340 04/15/20 02:23 AM
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If I am going to a new lake I look on a map for structure before I even get to the lake. I pick 4-5 spots that look like they would have fish on them. No matter whether I am fishing a new lake or my home lake when I get to a spot the first thing I look for is bait. If there is no bait balls around there won’t be any feeding fish because there is nothing there naturally to draw them in. Once I locate bait, I will turn the thumper or splasher on to draw the fish in constantly watching the graph for fish under the boat and fish within casting distance. I had rather cast for fish than vertical jig, just my personal preference. I also watch the water temp, certain times of the year like right now that will bring fish up shallow chasing Shad. Watch the bank for happy Shad popping out Of the water every once in a while. That doesn’t happen just for no reason. I try not to spend more than 10-15 minutes at any spot without catching fish or seeing good marks on the graph screen. I may visit the same spot several times during the day, especially if my spots have produced in the past. If you are marking fish and they are not biting, try different lures or colors. I usually like to start out using something different than everyone else in the boat just to see what happens.



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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518363 04/15/20 02:50 AM
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Mark C Offline
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If I'm fishing deeper water, I'll look around for quite a while. Maybe an hour or more if I'm by myself. A wise old guide once told me "you ain't gonna wish 'em uder ya".


Originally Posted by TexasBlonde
You are not a good or nice person.





Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518662 04/15/20 12:55 PM
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I spend over 80% of my time on the water searching. Hit an area, look for bait and/or fish, thump, and jig while watching my graphs for gathering of schools. If I don’t catch anything within 5-10 minutes, I keep moving. I do this all day until you get to.an area where they’re just on fire. Then I fish. Good luck,
Tim


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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518924 04/15/20 02:37 PM
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You ask a very good question. I've been fishing for white bass since 1967. Back then we searched the usual areas for surfacing fish - bird action, boat show or splashing fish themselves. I learned early on that the more consistent way to bring home a good catch is to look for fish on the bottom on structure - points, humps, ridges, roadbeds and drop-offs. Assuming I have guests and need to maximize our catching success (as opposed to a scouting or learning new water trip), this is what I do. Like Gene, I have planned a group of structures to search (I know of many structures but only have time to search some of them) and start with the one either the closest or which has been the most productive lately. At each structure I will move over it about 3-4 mph watching my side-scan and sonar. I like to criss-cross the structure rather than go down its length because I can check the top and both sides of it that way. Sometimes the fish are on top and sometimes they are on the slopes on either side. If I see fish. I will make another pass or two to determine where exactly the greatest number are. Once I determine this, I will toss a marker to one side of the fish as a reference point and let all in the boat know where the fish are relative to the marker. Using the marker makes sense because the fish typically are not moving - they are relating to the structure and staying in place. Then I position the boat to maximize access for everyone on the boat to cast to the fish. Like Gene, I prefer casting to the fish as opposed to parking right over them. However, for deeper structures (20 fow +) I'll sometimes park right over them and fish vertically.

If we don't catch fish within 10 minutes, I go to the next structure to check. Ninety-five % of the time when I find a concentration of fish down on the bottom of a structure we will catch fish. That's probably because I've learned to distinguish between fish and trash or bait on my electronics. Unlike Gene, I ignore bait clusters. Sometimes when too much bait is around I can't get fish to bite. When I find fish and no bait that you can see is around, then fishing is usually good. This is obviously not true for schooling fish chasing bait on the surface. I will keep checking structures until I find a concentration of fish. I will not stop and fish until I find them. On a slow day, after checking several structures with no good concentrations of fish, I will start looking for smaller concentrations and may go back to a spot where I had seen a small concentration. Another important point to make - you have to have confidence in your ability to catch them after you find them. If you don't, then when you find them and can't catch them you will start questioning whether you really found them or not. That will lead to confusion as to what you are looking for on your electronics. Hope this is helpful.

Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13518963 04/15/20 02:51 PM
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I enjoy hunting for fish almost as much as the actual catching.

Re: How long do you search? [Re: 44 Diesel] #13520018 04/16/20 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 44 Diesel
I enjoy hunting for fish almost as much as the actual catching.


Absolutely! I love the hunt. If I am by myself I often leave feeding fish just for the challenge of finding another school and making it happen again!

You are asking a great question and it takes years to develop on the water instinct and there is no shortcuts. I felt like it took me 3-4 years before I really started to develop a good sense of on the water experience and this is year 5ish and I still learn a few more tricks that have taken me up a notch. Consider going with a guide a few times to learn the ropes if you haven't done so yet. Money and time well spent in my opinion. And the answer in part is based on your knowledge of your lake. I have been fishing for close to 4-5 years for hybrids. The first 2-3 years I drove around frustrated and stumped very often because I didn't know the pattern of my lake or what to expect and stumbled on to their pattern at random times and took notes on my experience, successes and most importantly failures. Every year gets better and better and you learn what to expect on your lake....where the fish will be, how many numbers to look for and expect to find, etc. So I don't think there is a "1 hour rule" or something of how long to search. The fact is, you can't catch them where they aint and you should not stop unless you see fish. The first few years I drove around more than I fished. Now I typically drive around maybe 5-10 minutes before I fish because I know where they are year round and what to expect.

I do NOT stop until I find fish. PERIOD. No guessing. No "I had a lucky day". It is not a luck game it is a pure skill game for the guys that are good at it. How many fish to find on your graph? Depends on the time of the year and weather conditions. Unstable weather equals scattered fish so expect to find less and catch less because they won't want to play for a handful of days after weather changes which is a big deal in spring and fall.

This week a cold front blew in sunday night/monday morning and I went fishing monday and again today (Wednesday). On days like these "post frontal conditions", my expectation was low for finding bunched up fish and having fish wildly participate in fishing efforts and I was correct. Maybe caught 15-20 fish all morning both days rather than the usual 50-70 plus fish in a few hours. The graph showed scattered fish on SI that didn't want to participate much.

In winter you often wont see but a few scattered fish mixed in with schools of shad and that may turn into hundreds of hybrids in the matter of minutes with thumping/splashing/drifitng. I do not give a spot more than 5-10 minutes usually before I move. Sometimes I stop for 2 minutes and I can tell right away if the fish are active or not and keep moving. Sometimes I only move 100 feet before I am happy with what I see on the graph and spot lock again. They are there or they arnt. If they are they are willing to participate or not so keep moving. Be INPATIENT! Its not catfishing! Look for fish primarily in deep open water absolutely not relating to structure or deep creek channels in winter.

In spring the fish are starting to bunch up and be structure oriented. Look for a growing number of fish on structure in moderate depths of water 20-30 feet deep. Fish can still be caught in deep open water areas as well but shifting towards structure orientation i.e. humps, points, islands, etc.

In summer it gets tricky. They may or may not be relating to structure. May be out in the middle of the dang lake. May be up in 3 foot of water. Gets very tough in the dog days of summer and I've learned to just channel catfish for easy fishing. You my find the hybrids and they may be a mile away minutes later. Deep summer is a pattern I look to explore and learn more this summer.

Fall: the fish start roaming and seem to relate to structure more than in summer.

Then winter hits and rinse and repeat.

Get you a good quality graph with side scan/side imaging and it will change your life if you learn to read it. No more guessing. Having the right equipment such as spot lock is key also unless you want to a change your TFF name "Trollingking"or something and just troll all day.

And I'm not sure how much I believe in fishing "wind blown areas" I think that matters WAY less than people try to sell or at least on the few lakes I fish. I do NOT care much about wind direction. It is probably one of the last things I consider honestly and something I do if nothing else is working and rarely helps. Some of my best areas are wind protected areas or opposite side of wind blown structure so wind blown is a bunch of BS and consider that last when looking for fish. Took me 4 years to erase that stupid rule that was taught to me.

Last edited by RespectTheFish; 04/16/20 02:35 AM.

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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13520173 04/16/20 04:22 AM
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If you can afford it Panoptix lets you know exactly how fish are reacting to your bait and lures. You can see your lure and if the fish bite or run away. Even after you find or thump up fish, they may not want to bite...


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Re: How long do you search? [Re: scubaarchery] #13520766 04/16/20 04:22 PM
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Rule #1 There are NO RULES!
In over 26 years of guiding I have done all of the above and then some. How much I move and search depends how active fish are. Striper cover more area than you could ever imagine quickly at times and they can also do figure 8’s around a structure all day long...really kind of just depends on water temperature and time of year. Now how much I move and search depends on what time of year & day It happens to be. Have caught fish with no fish ANYWHERE on the graph...have also not been able to get bit with the most perfect picture you’ve ever seen and everything in between. If you ever get confused on it check rule number one smile


Lake Texoma Striper Guide Chris Carey


Re: How long do you search? [Re: chrisc/striper express guide service] #13520884 04/16/20 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisc/striper express guide service
Rule #1 There are NO RULES!
In over 26 years of guiding I have done all of the above and then some. How much I move and search depends how active fish are. Striper cover more area than you could ever imagine quickly at times and they can also do figure 8’s around a structure all day long...really kind of just depends on water temperature and time of year. Now how much I move and search depends on what time of year & day It happens to be. Have caught fish with no fish ANYWHERE on the graph...have also not been able to get bit with the most perfect picture you’ve ever seen and everything in between. If you ever get confused on it check rule number one smile


Well said. What is frustrating was I was told to fish wind blown areas as if it was the golden rule of fishing. One day a buddy cane out and caught a ton of hybrids on a lake that I had frequented. He told me where they were and no joke, my answer was “well they aren’t suppose to be there!” Fish do not care about our rules at all.


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Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13520940 04/16/20 06:10 PM
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Great thread full of solid advice.

I have to agree with Mr. Christian regarding bait and and whites/hybrids locked to the bottom on structure. I hate to see a structure full of happy bait.

No rules for sure. Makes the fun sustainable.

When fishing "spots" its all about timing. I prefer to fish patterns.

I'd search 3 hours for a 10 min whacking vs sitting on a spot hoping. Can't stand it

I think Mr. Carey sums it up best.

Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13520997 04/16/20 06:39 PM
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spooncg Offline OP
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Tons of great info so far! I used to always bass fish so it was pretty simple to go hit the banks, stumps, etc. Now I’ve been fishing for striper or whites the last few years it’s a diff game. I will mainly be fishing at Texoma since we just bought a small place last fall and it’s very apparent I need to drive around more. Hired a guide for this year but my wife wanted me to cancel it due to Covid since one of our kids has some medical lung issues that puts him at high risk.

Re: How long do you search? [Re: spooncg] #13521087 04/16/20 07:47 PM
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I get out my powerful binoculars and look for other boats catching and then i go up and POT LICK off them roflmao roflmao roflmao roflmao


Keith smile

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