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lurecrafter
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Fall fishing has been more inconsistent this year in comparison to other years. What do you think of this theory for the generalized affects of metabolism/water temp to feeding activity? In other words, the rate of temperature drop directly affects metabolism and therefore feeding, but a delayed feeding-activity rate is dependent upon and follows temperature-fluctuations higher and into, temperature stability.

scenario 1. For example, the temp drops 6 or 7 degrees do to a noreaster, snow, sleet and cold wind. Fish go into a stupor regardless of stomach contents.

scenario 2. Fish fed big time during stable temperatures over a period of time, especially if the water went up 5 degrees and forage was readily available.

scenario 3. A slow drop in water temp occurs due to frosty nights and cooler daytime air temps. (a) The fish have undigested meals in their stomachs that were consumed during higher metabolic activity but, (b) will not digest the food until needed during periods of slowed-down metabolism, due to the colder water (just like in winter) and (c) will feed far less per week.

Indian summer may be here (above the surface), but the fish's metabolism hasn't caught up to the slowly, warming water temps, thus only pickerel are biting (which they are). Once prey activity increases, fish begin to see this as a cue to feed more based on the feeding-escalator driven by their energy level versus replenishment-need versus consumption.

Therefore, fishing at the end of a stable and higher temperature,
regardless of drops in air temperature, puts one in position to catch fish even in a snow storm!(which has occured to anglers I know of), because increased digestion and emptying, make room for more food. (I don't know that the meaning of the word hunger is the same for fish as it is in humans, so I have to assume that at some basic level, the simpler escalator model exists.)

What's your take?

FrankM
 

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I love it! I'll buy it for a buck! LOL......

yes, the picks are savage right now....bass haven't caught up.....
 

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I don't agree. The bass know that winter and the lean months are approaching. It is too risky to shut down. They will still need to fatten up. They simply moved to where you guys aren't fishing or don't expect them to be. John, before you make fun of my LI bass, I am fishing shallow waters which technically should cool down and shut off long before deeper waters. Last time out, I started in water that was about 52 degrees. To say I had a good day is an understatement. I had to work to put it together but once I did, it was hook setting bliss. Look at the Erie boys and the slobs they are catching. My guess is that it is a lot colder up there. I'm going out Tues and Wed. and despite the cold, I am confident I will be fine. Change it up, fish new spots, migration routes...etc. I think what guys fail to do is adapt to the changes that Fall has brought with it. If you are relying on your spring fling patterns or summer bank beating, shame on you, you can still certainly catch fish but the majority will not be in those same haunts.
 

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lurecrafter
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The bass know that winter and the lean months are approaching. It is too risky to shut down. They will still need to fatten up.
Craig, fish don't feed to fatten up, like bears going into hibernation. (Sports writers galore fed us that fairy tale for years.)
Their biology requires more feeding coupled with higher metabolism and environmental temperatures and less feeding and slower metabolic activity with lower temperatures. That's the nature of cold blooded animals.

Since fish are cold blooded, they feed in winter as the need is felt and the opportunity arises. A fact based on fish biology, is that fish can go without eating for weeks after consuming one good meal when water temps are in the 30's.

Temps in the 60's falling slowly to 45, offer the same feeding opportunities as those in the 70's, except not as often.

Do mean to tell me that you never have a poor day and that if you do, it's because you haven't found the location of fish that must be feeding?

FrankM
 

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I am fishing shallow waters which technically should cool down and shut off long before deeper waters.
But also stand a better chance of being warmed by a "Indain summer" stretch of weather.

Frank I think your on the right track
 

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I'd like to see Tony the "Bassin Dude" get in on this topic, because it is a great topic, and he's the guy with a lot of study time and knowledge on bass biology.

It seems to me that, based on calendar periods, bass do tend to feed more aggressively in the fall months. I do believe that there are variations in feeding activity within a calendar period (such as the previously mentioned cold front/indian summer scenario), but, in general, the fish appear to put on the feed bag with more vigor and vim in the fall.

Craig touched on the slobs of Lake Erie. Truly, they are noticeably larger in girth this time of year. I should have taken some "belly shots" of those fish we caught in Seth V's recent tournament. Those fish were wide to say the least - frighteningly so. The water temperature was about 55 degrees - a far cry from the upper 70s it was at just weeks before.

It will interesting to see how we do on the Novermber 22nd tournament.

The general consensus we hear on this subject is that the fish are putting on weight to provide nutrition during the cold winter months, when feeding slows down. It could also be linked to the next year's spawn. I dont' know. Although a generalization, the fall "feed bag" theory appears viable. Sure, metabolism in the cold-blooded fish slows down as the waters cool, but I think there's more to the equation.

In a word, it's instinct.

Certain other factors may instigate fall feeding behavior, such as the shortening of the daily photoperiod, and who knows what else.

Tony, your thoughts?

Again, great topic. :yes:

Tight Lines...
 

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Rob touched on a great point...photoperiod. It is the one constant in this ever changing equation. Water temps and air temps fluctuate wildy from year to year, but photoperiod does not, giving the fish at least one contanst factor to rely on...if there is a fall feeding frenzy as we are told.

Frank has made me ponder though, with the following statement:
Craig, fish don't feed to fatten up, like bears going into hibernation. (Sports writers galore fed us that fairy tale for years.)
I always took this for granted as many people have. It seems to make sense, as the fish definitely appear fatter int he fall. And it makes sense that they would beef up like hibernating species since they ostensibly hibernate in the winter. Unfortunately that doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny. I find myself wondering if there is a fall frenzy related to fattenig up for the winter. It could be a conditioned response or a precocial behavior imprinted by genetics. Or it might be a myth based on circumstantial evidence.

The fall bellies could simply be attributed to a slowdown in metabolism due to the colder water temps. I'm not sure why they would eat more than they could normally digest, but a conditioned response to the winter they know is coming from experience makes sense.

Anyway, I'm not making any hypotheses...I'm just questioning a long standing belief many of us (including myself) have.

Mark
 

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lurecrafter
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Mark, well stated and well written!:beerchug: But may I add a few observations that support the heavier weights observed.

1.Water clears with cooling temperatures and aquatic plants thin and die, exposing all types of forage. As we all know, bass and other predators are ever in tune for the free-and-easy, regardless of whether they just ate beyond their stomach's capacity. With no place to hide except in schools, prey of all types are easier targets.

Gregg and John were witness to a 15" pickerel that had a 7" half digested carp pulled from it's gullet, but yet still went after a crankbait. Biologists have stated that conservation of energy is a fact of animal nature and when opportunity knocks, fish don't ask questions, but gorge kind of like the American Indian after a Buffalo hunt - eat until you puke.

2.For the past five years I've noticed large schools of yearlings that either suspend or that slowly move around in shallower water. Not coincidentally, prey fish are always in the area, evidenced by jumping minnows and surface splashes. I've noticed also, the lethargy of the schools due to lower water temps, that does not always pertain to sportfish activity. Again, opportunity knocks because the groceries have arrived in quantity!
Wolf-pack predator fish are commonly known to herd and attack prey fish for hours. I've witnessed this with stripers, bass, crappie and pickerel.

Writers have equated a slow down in early summer fishing due to the competiton anglers have with the seasonal abundance of the real thing. Not so, mainly because of what Craig stated, "what guys fail to do is adapt to the changes", but blame it on fish rejecting the artificial versus the real thing.

(I think most experienced anglers know that fish prefer to strike artificials even when the real thing is present! My feeling is that the artificial, in the hands of an accomplished angler, is perceived as the weakest and slowest, if not the most curious , and therefore the easiest to take down(i.e. lion). The abundance of the real thing just makes things better!)

So coupled with the gigantic, slow-moving smorgesborg in clearer water that have far fewer places to hide, bass partake of the bounty, especially since their energy levels are higher than the prey they're feeding on, especially in the warmer temperatures of the shallows.

Notice also the larger baits that bass accept in colder water - large crankbaits, spoons, spinnerbaits (#5 willow leaf), plastics etc. Is this part of a fall-frenzy, or the fact that everything is now fair game because of a spring-like opportunity? Again, bears hibernate and do not eat, but though bass move slowly and suspend more, they must feed as the need arises. They can't even go three weeks without eating under an ice pack.

To summarize, orgies aren't premeditated, but seasonal availability of slow-moving prey make it seem that fish are packing it in for winter, when all their doing is having a good time.:D

Lastly, I've noticed pre-orgy activity in late August during mid day to late afternoon. Photo period and mammas gaining weight for little Johnnny, may have their effects on an annual basis. Good points!

FrankM
 

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Frank,

You missed your calling.... you should be a mystery writer like Agatha Christie and others of her ilk. You lead the reader on a journey seemingly giving clues to the perpetrator only to introduce a last second twist at the end that changes everything and leaves the reader bewildered and amazed.

I don't have the time now to partake in this thread other then to say thanks to Rob J for the kind words.

As I mentioned, I don't have time for a detailed post now... this subject isn't as simple as it may appear to be on the surface. But, then again it isn't as complicated either. I will say that I really can't disagree with anything that anyone wrote.

Perhaps later tonight I will have time to offer some of my thoughts on the subject.
 

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fish don't feed to fatten up, like bears going into hibernation. (Sports writers galore fed us that fairy tale for years.)Their biology requires more feeding coupled with higher metabolism and environmental temperatures and less feeding and slower metabolic activity with lower temperatures. That's the nature of cold blooded animals. Since fish are cold blooded, they feed in winter as the need is felt and the opportunity arises. A fact based on fish biology, is that fish can go without eating for weeks after consuming one good meal when water temps are in the 30's. Since fish are cold blooded, they feed in winter as the need is felt and the opportunity arises. A fact based on fish biology, is that fish can go without eating for weeks after consuming one good meal when water temps are in the 30's.
These statements above are true. Most of the other comments in this thread are speculation w no basis in fact.
 

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right Paul.....I don't think that fish "know" anything at all, they are responding to their environment and what it presents...

as it presents differently, they will act differently.....period!

Craig, no reason to make fun of your waters: shallow waters heat up faster.....yesterday, Huge had a 60 degree water temperature on Congers Lake, which is only 4 feet deep.....

on a bigger water, it is obviously a lot harder for a few warmer days to heat up the water, case in point, Erie, where, despite the Indian Summer is still producing best in Deep water.....

what Craig has touched upon though, is something that I have said: know your waters, and choose wisely......

if you know your waters well, then you will avoid the ones that should be avoided now and fish the ones that will be more productive....

not everyone has that choice; lack of any boat, lack of bass boat, commitment to a club tourney, etc.....

again, the REC angler does have that choice....


myself, personally, I enjoy a few challenges seasonally, but for the most part, I prefer the surer things.........
 

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Frank,

I agree that fall fishing has been inconsistent and disappointing thus far, at least on the NYC Reservoirs where I fish.

I'm not a biologist but I believe the sudden drop in water temps a few weeks ago had a tremendous impact on the bass. Except for a few occasions, I have yet to experience the typical fall bite on these waters that I'm accustomed to.

I'm curious to see how the next few weeks play out........


Ronnie
 

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Frank, please don't take what I wrote as a slight to you. I didn't mean it that way at all. I didn't mean to imply that you were writing fiction. I meant to suggest that you write well.

I'm posting from work now and really don't have time to get into details.

:beerchug:
 

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Dragging Bass
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It could also be linked to the next year's spawn. I dont' know.
Rob may have answered the "fattening" question and not even known it :D

A couple years ago on Conesus, in late November, Dale kept a smallmouth or two because they weren't gonna make it due to deep hooking. They were 3 pounders and very fat, like they have been gorging themselves. But in fact, once filleted out, they were already full of eggs, for the following Spring. I had no idea eggs developed this early in fish until that day.

This could answer the "fish appear fat in the fall" statement.

As far as our smallies are concerned, I don't think they eat any better in the Fall than they do in the Summer. I think they are more structure oriented this time of year rather than baitfish school oriented like they are in the summer, making them easier to find and catch. I have caught them here in water temps as cold as 34 degrees, and the bites are just as aggressive as when the temps are "way up" in the 50's. The bites are just a little fewer and farther between.
 

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I think they are more structure oriented this time of year rather than baitfish school oriented like they are in the summer,
This might fit what frank said!
During the warmer months they have a metabolism needed to expend all the energy needed to chase bait fish. Cold water slower metabolism = less activity and structure oriented.
 

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Fall Feeding Frenzy

I'm w/ EW.

The best time, IMHO, to catch quality football shaped SM in the southern rivers in my neck of the woods, for me atleast, is fall.

I'm a firm believer that fish know winter is around the corner. Fish also are survivalists.

It just plain makes sense to this simple minded southern boy.

The last week, in NoVA, we've experiance temps in the 80's and the fishing has been nothing short of fantastic.

Football sized smallies and large greenies have dominated.

Even the wife and kid have taken to complaining about me getting up at 4a and returning home after 9p, due to floating rivers on weekends.

The boss is starting to wonder if I started drinking the hard stuff. After 20 hours a weekend on the water, this boy needs to go to work and rest.


With a cold front on the way, I wish I was out today, instead of in my fed cube farm.

I'm sure I'ld have stories to share tomorrow if my line would only get wet.

The fish are there, you just need to look a bit harder for them. But once they are found, step up in size on bait, rod, and reel.
 

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This is my original quote
"The bass know that winter and the lean months are approaching. It is too risky to shut down. They will still need to fatten up."

This is a true statement. Take it how you want to. Could this be due to food shortages or even an early packing it away for egg building? Could be both.

I never said anything about a bass hibernating like a bear! I never said bass do not eat in the Winter. I know bass eat year round. I'm well versed in science and the biological habits of my favorite cold blooded creatures.

There is no doubt in my mind that bass use this period of excess because they do not know where their next meal is coming from. Hence the reason the pickeral hit the crankbait despite having a 7" fish in it already. Either that or the fish is downright bad ass. The bass are on tune with the changes going on around them. As the Temps drop, the metabolism also decreases. It makes sense that the fish gorge themsleves because they do not know if the free meals will last 'til the next day.

Bass do eat in colder months if the opportunity presents itself but expend far less energy due to a tremendous slow down in their metabolism. If you are going to tell me that they don't know any better, then please explain to me why they go on Fall feeding binges and why many of the fish I am catching look like footballs. There is plenty of forage around at other times of the year yet I only see this consistently in the Fall. I also throw the theory that their metabolism has started to slow down because I'm watching fish that are overly aggressive and coming a long way to hit a bait in otherwise forage filled water.

It is a common fact that there is more forage around this time of year than in say January. The bass sense the weather change and instinctually begin to gorge themselves.

And guys, despite what you think about a bass being able to know anything, call it instict if you will, they know it is going to be damn cold soon. Take it to the bank. If they didn't, you'd still be catching them shallow on their beach blankets. The shortness of daylight indicates to them that cold lean times are approaching.

As far as speculation is concerned, the bear/hibernating thing is, but I didn't bring that up. If you don't agree, fine, but don't tell us it is speculation. Please explain why the fish are doing what they are and why at this specific time of year are they so fat. There is no doubt in my mind that bass do fatten up for winter. The ability to store some of this energy in case they have difficulty finding food in the cold months justifies this.
 

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Earthy, as you pointed out , there are myriad factors that determine a fish's behavior......the light period , as you mentioned, obviously has changed.....

so , yes, they sort of "know" something is different and something is coming up, but they only know it by instinct and its programming for them.....they are not thinking this out, they are responding.......

I'm sure you can argue what is the difference How they "know" as long as we can figure out how they might respond......I would agree to that.....

the bottom line is catching fish.....
 

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John, I thought the same thing, if they do hibernate or not, who the "F' cares, I'm catching them now, and it doesn't matter what they do or why they do it in January....I'll be playing video games then! LOL
 

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lurecrafter
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
"The bass know that winter and the lean months are approaching. It is too risky to shut down. They will still need to fatten up."
Could this be due to food shortages or even an early packing it away for egg building? Could be both.
Craig, just the words risky, need and food shortage suggest planning, long term memory, predictive thought patterns and the involuntary avoidance of a possibly dangerous, future seasonal-event. We also give nature more credit than is due when it comes to the reasons why fish behave as they do. Genetic imprinting is thrown around alot and suggests that a logical imbred, complex chain-of-events is part of a fish's survival. A fish knows this or it knows that (a point John was trying to make) and predictably does this or that.

"I never said anything about a bass hibernating like a bear! I never said bass do not eat in the Winter. I know bass eat year round." and "The shortness of daylight indicates to them that cold lean times are approaching."
No one said you believed or mentioned that bass hibernates like a bear. (I stated that sport's writers have suggested this in articles for years.) But the similarity does exist in your statement - "They will still need to fatten up." But hell, they're not squirrels either!"

What is nature's grand plan for a creature that has no idea what forage will be around tomorrow or 3 months from now? Has nature imprinted a seaonal trigger that makes fish eat faster and more at certain times and not at others? Do fish have a biological clock, and if so, does it suggest that as the days get shorter, the population of baitfish will be much lower than usual (which is a fallacy in itself)? This suggests a feast or famine mentality (like the Indian I mentioned).

My theory is not all encompassing, but it is simply, feeding-opportunity oriented, which is nature's way regardless of the time of year. And what better opportune time than when 1. forage is very plentiful, 2. very exposed (due to dying vegetation), 3. slower than bass at lower temperatures and 4. possibly linked to other, more elementary theories suggesting why fish seem to be a little more rotund in the fall.

"They do not know where their next meal is coming from."
Well hell, neither do I, (my wife doesn't cook!) But do they instinctivelycare and get a little nervous as you suggest? Do they know that they don't know where their next meal is coming from?

As far as females fattening up to grow eggs, what about all the heavy males? Do ya thing they want to boost their sperm count by eating more?

Besides, maternal instincts only occur after fertilization; preyear-prenatal instincts have never been even theorized to my knowledge, especially concerning fertility. Though a female may be loaded with eggs, it may have little to do with proper nutrition and bed rest. (couldn't resist LOL)

We've had a similar discussion concerning 'matching' and agreed to disagree. That's okay because neither of us, nor Dr. Jones, nor even the fish will ever know why it puts on a few pounds before the holidays. Theories or hypotheses are just guesses, but we observe more outside the lab with our eyes and our lures than most phDs who never swam with the fishes.

Frank
 
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