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Skunked Again!
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I have read these Threads throughout this past season with growing certainty that I am missing the vast majority of fish as they move to their summer patterns. i.e.: to deeper water. I cut my bassfishing teeth on shallow water, that which is 8-10' or less, and have had spotty success. This year my shallow prejudice came home to roost...My numbers were WAY down, as was the quality of the fish that I caught.

I thought I would start this Thread and ask for your tips on finding and fishing in water that is deeper....I read over and over again that our members are tubing in 20-30' etc....I have no idea whatsoever as to what I should be looking for as far as bottom goes, or contour, and how to present to fish in those areas. How does one find them? How in the world do you go about fishing deep when there is a persistent wind? How are you confident that your bait is even holding the bottom?

It occurs to me that I have NEVER caught a fish in that much water. It occurs to me equally that I've never really tried, sticking instead to weedbeds I can see, etc....

I predominantly fish at Saratoga Lake, and I do have quality electronics ( though, apparently no clue how to use them).

Please help me get off the schneid.

Thanks.

Zuke.
 

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Zuke: we could write books on this subject....in fact, I don't have to because the best book ever written on deepwater fishing is the classic "Spoonplugging" by Buck Perry...

it is the first book on structure fishing and a fascinating read......

great influence on my fishing.....

I was very fortunate because I cut my bass fishing teeth on Wampus in the mid to late Fall where the only fishing possible at that time successfully was in deep water......so I learned how to catch bass from 25 feet of water before I had even seen a bed!!!!

there is just SO much great fishing to be had past 12 feet deep......

hope many come on and make this a good thread.....

as a starter: first step is to look BEYOND the deep edge of a weedbed.......instead of just fishing the end of the column of milfoil, say at 12 or 13 feet...drop back to about 14 or 15 and start there.......

then you have to look for the first dropoff after the end of the weeds...this varies from lake to lake, some dont even have it, as they just have tapering bottoms, slowly going into deep, but there may be an area where it does drop off quickly....the drop and the water just beyond the drop are other starting points.......

bluff shorelines, 45 degree angled, usually rocky, usually with laydowns, many times the edges of the laydown stick in 20 feet of water......another great place to fish...

wish I could draw some pictures on here! LOL....

also, following the channels on the map, look for spots where the channel bends closely to the shoreline, most of these shorelines will also be quick tapering.....

in many cases, the key here is QUICK access to deep water from the shallows, back and forth.......

that is not the limit of deep fishing of course, because in smallie lakes, you can also fish for suspended fish in almost any depth of water.......

on Cross River reservoir, we used to catch smallies suspended 25 feet down over 70 to 80 feet of water......

could go on and on.....will wait and see other input.....

you know, your water might be a better shallow water than others, think about that! however, I do have to believe there are deeper options also, when the fishing doesn't seem good....

Maps are absolutely ESSENTIAL in planning your deep water attack, as well as quality sonar........
 

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Zuke said:
How does one find them? How in the world do you go about fishing deep when there is a persistent wind? How are you confident that your bait is even holding the bottom?

It occurs to me that I have NEVER caught a fish in that much water. It occurs to me equally that I've never really tried, sticking instead to weedbeds I can see, etc....

I predominantly fish at Saratoga Lake, and I do have quality electronics ( though, apparently no clue how to use them).

Please help me get off the schneid.

Thanks.

Zuke.
I was in the same boat (haha) last year..... I was fishing shallow, shalow, shallow............... when that bite dried up I was determined to find some fish....

My fix was slowly fishing a light C-rigged DT Hula Grub in 10' to 25' of water..... away from deep weed lines and or points...

A light C-rig too me is a 1/4 to 3/8 egg sinker and bead.... Main line 10lb test, leader 8lb Flouro anywhere from 2' to 4'........ (I've used as low as 4lb test on this set up)

I don't have electronics yet, but I'm sure that would help with this technique..... this rig was very easy to feel the bottom....

Recently I modified this rig and used a "splitshot" hook and it seemed to work nicely, could be just the ticket if you start missing hook ups with traditional rigging....

I've never tried the dragging tube thing, but it sounds like a winner.
 

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bass addict
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on titicus by the dam there are massive weedbeds.it's also 80-90 feet deep by the dam.obviously there have to be drops along the way.when the weeds are full bloom you can see spots in between of clear channels.these are deeper.i start there.then i work out towards the dam.as john says a map and sonar help,but i have done it without.i used a texas rigged worm a lot in 25 feet and dragged it slow this summer.it caught many quality fish for me.before i learned this i would have a rough time in the summer catching fish.on windy days you obviously need to use more weight.i try to get away with the lightest weight possible that i can still feel.spoon jigging and blade baiting also work good in deep water.these are both things i learned from other n.y.bass members.hughfish has had much success on crankbaits all year long in deeper water. a crankbait is great to tell you where the weeds stop and the bottom begins.:beerchug:
 

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It's been a long time...
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Deep fishing is a way of life here in WNY...

Although we do a LOT of shallow water bassin' here in Western New York, deep tactics are what brings on Smallmouth on the big water around here.

In the fall, big Smallies begin to relate to bottom structures once again, moving away from open water where they did their "disappearing" act during the hot months.

If you can find changes in bottom contours through ledges and breaks in 20 to 30 feet of water, try dragging a tube jig along the bottom, drifting with the breeze, which will hopefully blow your boat right along the ledge. That's a tactic we WNYers call "the Erie drag." You should be feeling a rocky bottom, with the tube jumping along as it drags. If you aren't feeling the bottom, and the erratic bounce of a rocky bottom at that, then your presentation will probably be useless, so pay out line until you feel it, and then make sure it feels "right." Strikes will pull harder or your line will go slack. Hooksets are always free, so swing that rod when you think a fish is on. ¼ to 3/8 ounce tube heads are a good weight to try. Use 3½ inch tubes and a lighter line, say 8 pound test.

If there are Smallies in the waters you fish, the Erie drag should do you some good. Deep Largemouths will also take a dragged tube readily.

Don't hesitate to drop a ½ to ¾ ounce jigging spoon along such structure as well. Pop it up and let it flutter back down, allowing the spoon to strike the rocky bottom. I wrote an article detailing the subject of "Spoon Feeding Smallies" right here:

Spoon Feeding Smallies

Good luck finding those deep fish. It's not surprising to find the majority of bass down deep as the winter closes in - some of the best quality fish are to be had there, too! :yes:

Tight Lines...
 

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Everything sounds good in theory, but its putting it to work that is the problem...

John laid out a good framework plan...I would agree with all the highlights, especially the importance of maps and electronics...Experience on the lake wont serve as a substitute in every situation...You need the maps for a global perspective, and then your fishfinder for the details during the day...

I personally dont like to fish slow and deep to start surveying an area...My philosophy is to "shotgun" the area with hardbaits or deep moving baits to find the most active fish and get a better feel for the bottom...

Pound for pound, I like lipped cranks because I can almost always estimate what depth they are running at...The majority of them are running less than 20 ft, but a few will near or break that mark also...

Sometimes I'll sink a lipless crank in 20 ft of water and retrieve it slowly...Other times, I will weigh them down to keep them deeper...Unconventional ?...Maybe...But it works...I had two 3 + lb SMB in the same day that were caught on a 3/4 oz trap that was weighted on top of that...Yeah two fish, so what ?...We only had 9 for the day...

Don't discount trolling to locate fish...If you are a catch and release guy, not a TX fisherman, trolling is a great way to spend an otherwise "zero day" catching bass after one of those brief morning bites...No shame in that...After, you hook into a fish on a troll, bomb that area with cranks that will run the same depth at which you intercepted your fish...Besides, If you have your finder on (the one you're gonna buy next season), it's a great way to learn about the body of water you're on...

If you study your hardbaits, and have a fishfinder, you can crank and troll with a lot of precision and accuracy, knowing where you are with respect to depth and bottom, at all times...

Then once you have located some kind of "promise or potential", you can pick that area apart with your "target rifle" and soft plastics or jigs...

I preach this, but this summer I got way off track with this approach that has worked for me so well in past summers...I fished so many more soft plastics this summer, and as a result, I fished a lot slower and for me a lot less effectively...Got a little out of my skin...Don't know how much of a factor that style change played a role, but I had probably the worst bass fishing summer I can remember...The sad thing is that it came on the "tail end"l of the best spring I could have imagined...Horrible segue to say the least...

Next year I'll "re-tweak" my approach to try and get the best of both worlds...I have a whole off-season to prepare...


Mark D

And Zuke, I am gonna hold you to that subpoena you promised me in late May of next year...
 
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