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Fever

Deep vs. Shallow... Torn & a Bit Frustrated

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The past two summers now I've commited myself to becoming a better deep water fisherman. I've spend hundreds of dollars on deep cranks and a variety of other lures that I felt would up my success. I've upgraded boats and added a new Lawrance 525c to the arsenal. I've found spots and caught fish that I just a few years ago would not have. And to be honest have had quite a bit of fun doing so as it has openned the door to a new set of opportunities. HOWEVER... in my league... We have about 12-13 boats per week and for the most part as far as overall knowledge of the lakes, knowledge of fishing in general, and tackle, I'd put myself in the top 4 out of the 13. I've been trying to fish the less pressured waters of the deep and unfortunately have been finishing towards the bottom of our leageue on a far too consistant basis. I have been getting beat by guys that don't know how to cast a baitcaster and basically throw a spinnerbait or toppwater 90% of the time. I am currently in 7th place and am pretty frustrated about it. My wife says I should chill out and not over think things so much. I think she may be right and I should start pounding the shallows more. Everyone in teh top 6 spends most of their time covering water and fishing shallow. Last thursday I spend 2.5 hours cranking and jigging a deep water hump with gravel, bolders, and some grass and came away without a bite. Prefishing that spot I did well and had fish range from 19.5 to 17 on a fairly regular basis. I came in last place.... And to be honest I'm getting real frustraited abotu the whole deal and thinking I need to change my entire approach.

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First off.. I'm no pro.... but I do know how I fish. To me.. confidence is key. I fish where the fish are! That is all. If they're deep... I fish deep. If not.. I fish shallow. Being well rounded and having multiple techniques is cool.. but for tournament fishing.. I think consistency is key. Everything comes into play.... lure, line, time, weather, location.. even a little bit of luck. But all in all.. fish where you find fish. Being able to confidently fish a technique is great... but know when and where to use it and where to test your luck. If they're just throwing top water.. but are pulling in big fish.. then maybe you should try it too. Patterns change but I think sometimes... we focus too much energy on what works for us... not what's working that day.

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I am not sure if the fish are in their traditional summer deep haunts yet - its gotta get a little warmer for that and if these lakes are unpressured there is no reason for them to move past the flats to the deapths. But like said before - i am no pro - if i was i probably wouldn't be cruising fishing sites nor typing this.

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Cecil, yeah it was 2.5 hours straight. This spot I'm talking about is about 40 yds long and maybe 10 yars wide in the middle of nowhere. it rises to about 14ish feet from the mid twentys all around it. It is made up of boulders and gravel with some small spots of grass with slopping sand on it's sides and ends. I fished it three days prior to the league night event and pulled 4 fish off it in about 1.5 hours so it wasn't fast and furious but the best three fish out of those four would have gone about 12 ish pounds which would have won it for me that night as the best weight out of 13 boats was 10 ish lbs. I wasn't really thinking I'd go out there and light it up. I was thinking hey, I need about 3 bites in three hours as I know the average size of these fish out there is good. I've also pulled 3 pike off the spot with Deep crnks that were 33, 34, and 33 inches. and we also have a side (cash) pot for larges Pike of the night... we ended up with a 4 lb 4oz pike thast finsished second to a 4 lb 7 ozer. I tried DT 16's, jigs, virtical spoons, drop shot, carolina rigg, texas rigg with craw, worm, creature bait. partner tried a jig and a leech and he missed something big (fought it for about 5 sec as his pole was doubled over but fish shook hook somehow.

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If I have confidence in a spot and dont catch anything when I start there, I will leave after about 30-45 minutes and then check back a few other times throughout the day. Sometimes the movements are just odd like that. They could of moved up an hour after you left for some reason. I know league night doesn't really allow for that schedule though.

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Exactly. That's the frustrating part. We have three hours. I just figured rather than zipping all around I'd find my spot, be as patient as possible and just get my 3 or so bites. I honestly had nothing but confidence going into that night. I did know that i'd have to fight the urge to leave eventually if they weren't active. We did leave at 8:30 with 30 min left to pound some shore line. Parnter caught the pike and I missed a bass on a shallow crank and then boated ONE with about 3 min to spare. A solid 12.5 incher. Just enough to not get skunked acording to our scoring system.

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To me it sounds like you may be out-thinking yourself. Congrats on being determined to make yourself a better fisherman by adding the deep water to you arsenal but if placing and doing well in the tournaments is important to you then I would move on when the fish tell me to. If it's not that important (tournament results), keep doing what your doing if you enjoy it...eventually, I'm sure, the bite will turn in your favor.

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Exactly, maybe the tourny nights arnt the best time to hone your skills if you really are determined to win. Fish what you are confident in if its shallow do that. It sounded like you were on the fish but it didnt work out in the tournament, it happens. Id say pound the shores if you want catch a few fish or a limit then back off and work deep water for some upgrades.

Not to be a jerk but to put it in perspective, those guys that cant even use a baitcaster and fish spinnerbaits and topwaters are catching fish, having fun, and finishing higher than you sometimes. Instead of criticizing them you could maybe learn from them.

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Deep water is just that. Deep. Big. Expansive.

It's harder to find exactly where the fish are, and in general they aren't as concentrated except in very specific spots.

The plus side really is that big water makes for big fish.

I think many people overthink bass. Spinners and topwaters WORK. They really do. Heck, nightcrawlers with some split shot work wonders! These are the absolute fundamentals of bass fishing, it's important to not dismiss them just because you can teach an 8 year old to do it.

Hitting deep water is always a good idea to try, but in general fishing I find it makes my overall number of fish caught drastically decrease unless I know a very specific spot that seriously concentrates fish. There is more time needed to search deep water, and that can really cut into a 3 hour time limit.

I just think of it as taking a bigger risk of being skunked as I chase bigger rewards.

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Another thought.. if you're pulling multiple big pike off a spot, it's not somewhere I'd be trying to hit for bass. They do co-mingle in similar locations, but multiple big pike really can chase off other fish from a spot.

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Sounds to me you're like a lot of fishermen trying to get past the level you're currently on. The climb from one level to the next in fishing isn't an easy climb and often filled with frustrating unknowns. Sounds like you're going in the right direction. Learn what you can and be more open to the fact you're going to fail once in a while and that can be very frustrating. Take a step back and write down what you want to accomplish.

Do you want to learn to fish deep water?

Sounds like yes.

Do you want to place high in your league?

Sounds like yes.

Do you want to learn to fish deep in a tournament sacrificing your standing?

Sounds like no.

Try to learn outside of league night. If it isn't there don't force it on league night. Have had both shallow and deep bites go off for no reason I can tell but that's just the nature of it. Sounds like you were dealing with only a few good fish on one spot. Not to over simplify but fill a limit then go after the fewer good fish. Remember most guys fish shallow water because it's easier and there's a lot of bass in it.

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Turn up, No, I'm not critisizing. I see how I could come across that way... but I didn't intend it that way. I am simply saying that because I am attempting to learn from all. They are having success and the reason for the post is to put that out there. Thanks for the responses. I will re- think (not too much) my approach to league. funny, in the past I've done better by sticking to shallow now that I have better equipment I feel the need to go deeper because I can. I should re think that and go with what others are having fair consistant positive results with. For my upgrades (after a limit is in the well) I'll go to my deeper spots from here out. Also, the pike. Weird thing. When I was attempting to net one of the 33inchers I dang near netted a bass that followed the pike up to the side of the boat. It was in the ball park of 19-20 inches too. I think Big bass aren't too concerned with the presence of pike. At least in this circumstance because I've caught them both on this spot fan casting deep cranks.

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Fever... Sounds like you had a nice spot there! The only things that I can think maybe happended is that the fish left, went dormant, or you maybe burned them by catching too many. With that said, I always go into a tournament with an open mind and never get stuck in the mindset, " I don't know what to do"... Because when you start thinking like that you are wasting time and not catching fish. You would honestly be better off fishing 180 degrees from what your doing at that time, on a random spot on the other end of the lake... IMHO...

I normally only fish a deep spot until I get a gut feeling to leave... Then, sometimes, I will come back to see if I can catch them. smile

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I feel ya. I too am getting frustrated when the bitin' hasn't been good and guys with "less-than-competitive" juices with "less-than-competitive" equipment are out fishing me.

I've been told to get a different perspective in this sport.I'm still working on it but yeah it's digging into me too.

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I think I learned a lesson through it all. I'll cover water to start with to get a limit and for up grades I'll probe the deeper humps and points. I think what I may have been doing is forcing my approach. If theyre not there after an hour of casting I should have moved off and used my remaining time more wisely. This week were on a clear highly recreationally pressured lake. From what I know there are no stand out deep spots. The weed line itself is around 15-17 fow. I haven't fished there in over a year and did get 3rd place last time basically casting shallow cranks, spinnerbaits, buzsbaits, and lipless cranks in shallwer water. That was before I decided to fish deep more often. Back to basics (what works).

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Fever, You nailed it on the head. Several years ago I fished the BASS series as a coangler - learned a lot but the most important thing I learned was you can't force a pattern when sometimes one doesn't exist. The fact that you are learning the deep water pattern will make you a complete angler and a better fisherman so that can only benefit you. The only thing I observed with the pros is they would sometimes force their confidence lure on a shallow or deeper pattern but they always made the decision to go shallow or deep based on prefishing and what seemed to be the hot depth at that time.

About the only one that would go against the grain was Kevin Van Dam and as good as he is, sometimes that would bite him in the backside.Definitely get your limit, then upgrade, especially in a short time format tournament.

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I think I learned a lesson through it all. I'll cover water to start with to get a limit and for up grades I'll probe the deeper humps and points.

Excactly what I was going to say!!!! You got the idea now , I'm only 17 and fish against all the "big boys" in my area, in a 16' Lund and 25hp Evinrude with minimal electronics and the boat is just enought to get by. I really dont pre-fish anymore than everybody else, I just focus on getting a quick limit and then upgrade one by one. In 2 summers I have only not weighed a limit in one tourney. You just have to stay positive and have fun, dont get too serious or cocky (thats never good shocked ) and just fish, success will surely follow wink

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