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#820807 - 07/14/08 11:39 AM schooling fish ?
8up
Good ol' Boys
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2666
Loc: Stewart co.

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This morning we fished close to the ramp until about 7:30 and then went to the main channel and there were schools of fish have what looked like a feeding frenzy. I thought it must be striper feeding which I had heard of. We cast all sorts of crankbaits as I chased various schools. I caught 5 small largemouth which confused me because of the way the water was boiling. I did see a small school of minnows with a bass feeding on them too.

I am confused, where were the big fish? Whats the best way to fish if I see this happening again?

Ron
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#820826 - 07/14/08 11:59 AM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: 8up]
Panther78
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Registered: 03/09/08
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#820827 - 07/14/08 11:59 AM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: 8up]
Buckblaster
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Registered: 10/04/06
Posts: 3889
Loc: bradley county,TN/Lancaster,SC

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If thats what you caught then it wasnt stripers. If it was, youd know it. If its early throwing a pop-r topwater plug for those smaller bass, they will tear it up.
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#820952 - 07/14/08 01:10 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: Buckblaster]
shopson
10 Point


Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 4413
Loc: Greeneville

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I like to rip a chrome/blue rattle trap right through the action. I like the pop rs too.
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#821043 - 07/14/08 02:08 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: shopson]
TNDeerGuy
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Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 5894
Loc: Old Hickory/Mt.Juliet, TN

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late season i'll chase the "bait balls" on Old Hickory and throw a shad rap or a shad colored bandit and bring it through the school, caught several nice fish using this method.
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#821073 - 07/14/08 02:23 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: TNDeerGuy]
username
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Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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There are huge wads of small bass schooled up eating the really small bait & fry on KY lake right now. If you can find schools of shad 3-5" long there will be bigger fish close by. The only good sized fish I've been able to catch shallow or on the surface lately, are in the matted grass on the river bars at the mouth of a creek or pocket. They have been few and far between and move around so much its hard to stay on'em. I'm mainly fishing ledges, drops, and the tip ends of long points now from 10-25' deep and have been catching quite a few 3-5lb fish. If you can find a piece of deep structure right now, it will probably have a few fish on it. Especially if there is bait nearby.
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#821219 - 07/14/08 03:55 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
Hook1
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Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 328
Loc: Cleveland Tn.

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U might try a bait that will run deeper and find your bigger fish,,,but my past experience is that schooling fish tend to be schooled by size,,,sometimes U might get lucky and find a bigger fish with schooled up small fish,,,I personally don't chase schooling fish anymore,,,username has it right,,,find the best structure nearby.
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#821397 - 07/14/08 06:01 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: Hook1]
8up
Good ol' Boys
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2666
Loc: Stewart co.

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Thanks guys, I caught 3 on a blue ratlin rap 1 on a shadrap and 1 on a bettle spin. Nothing hit the popr or buzzbaits or spinner baits or inline spinners. We were in the main channel in 40 feet of water. I bought a couple DD-22's today to try.
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#821433 - 07/14/08 06:32 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: 8up]
Buckblaster
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Registered: 10/04/06
Posts: 3889
Loc: bradley county,TN/Lancaster,SC

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how were u fisihng the popr?
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#821470 - 07/14/08 07:05 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: Buckblaster]
username
10 Point


Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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8up,

I'm assuming your fishing the northern mid section of Ky Lake considering your from Stewart county. If so, that DD22 is a very good choice for that area. Especially north of Danville. Most of the river ledges up there aren't covered in grass yet and a man can actually throw a deep diving crankbait. I catch alot of fish on crankbaits with chartreuse in them on that lake for some reason. Get a good lake map and find and fish every cut or creek channel that feeds into the river that you can with that bait. Sit in the river channel and throw as far up on the bar as you can. You should notice that the north side of the cuts being more productive. If you hang up, make note of that spot for future reference. Its most likely a fine peice of structure..... or a trot line! ;\) Good luck!

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#821642 - 07/14/08 08:47 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
8up
Good ol' Boys
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2666
Loc: Stewart co.

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Buckblaster My son actually fished it he was just making short jerks.

Username I am actually fishing Barkley near dover.
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#822369 - 07/15/08 10:04 AM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: Buckblaster]
buckhorn40
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#822918 - 07/15/08 05:19 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: 8up]
Dr. Dickel
12 Point


Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 5153
Loc: Hockins County

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 Originally Posted By: 8up

I am confused, where were the big fish? Whats the best way to fish if I see this happening again?

Ron
More than likely, the bigger fish were deeper than the more aggressive smaller ones. This is actually pretty common with summer schooling fish. Jigging spoons or swimming jigs and plastics near the thermocline depth is usually the ticket with tightly schooled fish. You want heavy weighted baits that fall fast through the pods of smaller ones to keep them from agrivating you. If it is a larger, spread out congregation of them, then a deep running crankbait will work good also. If Barkley is like lakes here in East TN, the thermocline this time of year is usually 18-25 feet deep and this is where the larger ones will hang due to the higher concentration of oxygen (there will be bait at that depth also).
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#823286 - 07/15/08 09:09 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: 8up]
username
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Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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 Originally Posted By: 8up


Username I am actually fishing Barkley near dover.


Doh!

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#823293 - 07/15/08 09:15 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
username
10 Point


Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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Dr. Dickel,

Are you speaking of suspended fish? If so, I'd like to know something. In your experience, have you noticed the schools relating to contours & structure or just bait. Your probably going to say both. I could use a little clinic on suspended fish. I know they tend to be a little more picky but I'm sure they can be caught with the proper presentation. Thats something I'd really like to learn how to do. I've got the electronics for it, just need to put them to good use.

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#824407 - 07/16/08 04:12 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
Dr. Dickel
12 Point


Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 5153
Loc: Hockins County

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Yes, just as he mentioned catching them in 40 feet of water on the surface.......they can't be related to structure like that can they ;\) ? Just ribbing you, dude. But most of the time this time of year, schools of bass are actually suspended in open water along the thermocline depth out in the middle of the lake, coves, and creeks. They are following schools of baitfish that are roaming out there also and every now and then when those bass decide to go on a feeding frenzy and bustin the pods of shad up excitedly, the shad come to the surface to escape the on-slaught and the more aggressive bass follow them while they are packed together tightly to feed on them. This is why schooling, surface-feeding fish just last in short spurts.....the shad realize they have gone as far up in the water column they can and can no longer escape and decide to scatter out. The schools of bass wait for them to bunch up again 10-15 minutes later and push them again. This is why you see them up for a few minutes and then down for a while. The smaller fish are usually more aggressive and on top and the larger,lazy ones just wait for a injured morsel to fall to them.

Relating to a distinct contour change is something they do quite often if the can find a sharp drop next to a flat about the same depth the thermocline is. They will suspend up to a couple of hundred feet horizontally from it and then move towards it if they feel they can pin the bait against something. But there are a lot of times that they just follow the shad in a 100 of water over a bare bottom and just suspend at a certain depth. They are relying on two things this time of year.....oxygen and food. Cover is not that important now as the bait feels safer suspended over deep water so the bass have to go to them if they want to eat.

Don't let nobody kid you though, suspended fish are the hardest to catch because they are not relating to anything stationary. Pay attention to your electronics and don't skimp out on a good one when it comes to finding bait. Finding schools of bait is always important all year long, but is always the most absolute in the hottest water temps of the summer and the coldest of the winter.

The trick to fishing for bass related to a thermocline is not to fish below them. They will go lateral or up for a bait, but seldom down. You are wasting your time fishing on the bottom in 30 feet of water and 99% of the fish staying at the thermocline in 20 feet starving for oxygen. The only time you will get bit in this instance is when they hit a bait on the initial fall as it passes downward by them.

Boy, that was long-winded, huh?
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#824708 - 07/16/08 08:17 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: Dr. Dickel]
username
10 Point


Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 4103
Loc: Williamson County

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 Originally Posted By: Dr. Dickel


Boy, that was long-winded, huh?


Not long enough if you ask me! \:\) Keep it coming.

Tell me this, how do I determine the depth of the thermocline? Can you do it with graph sensitivity levels? I have a Humminbird 997C w/ side imaging sonar capabilities. It has absolutely helped me catch more fish by locating deep structure.

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#825046 - 07/16/08 11:44 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
8up
Good ol' Boys
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Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2666
Loc: Stewart co.

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Thanks for all the info Dr., when are you available for lessons ? \:\)
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#826543 - 07/17/08 09:06 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
bonekelektr
6 Point


Registered: 07/24/07
Posts: 735
Loc: Sullivan Gardens

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Try a spoon or swim a bucktail under the "schoolies".........
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#826641 - 07/17/08 09:57 PM Re: schooling fish ? [Re: username]
Dr. Dickel
12 Point


Registered: 11/22/02
Posts: 5153
Loc: Hockins County

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 Originally Posted By: username
 Originally Posted By: Dr. Dickel


Boy, that was long-winded, huh?


Not long enough if you ask me! \:\) Keep it coming.

Tell me this, how do I determine the depth of the thermocline? Can you do it with graph sensitivity levels? I have a Humminbird 997C w/ side imaging sonar capabilities. It has absolutely helped me catch more fish by locating deep structure.


You got it.....barring swimming down yourself and feeling the temperature change, a good graph with more pixels to show detail better and adjusting the sensitivity is the way to do it. Get the sensitivity right and you can tell the congregation of bait and fish in a 3-5 foot area of depth in the water column. This is where the thermocline exists for that body of water once the temperature exceeds about 85 degrees. When the sensitivity is just right, you can jig a spoon up and down under your transducer and see it on your screen.
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