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MuskieFever

When to Bomb the Depths

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Mid summer is often referred to as prime time for deep water bass. I have always wondered, do you think there are always bass out deep?

I haven't put in enough time out deep early in the year to really know. I'm assuming it's all relative to weed growth for the outside weed edge as well. Are you having success out deep yet? Do 'deep water fish' spawn quick and then retreat to deep water?

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You can fish deep right off the bat, for sure. Sometimes it's a really good way to get some bigger fish post-spawn. In my experience you have to be a little more thoughtful about where, but deep bites can be great early.

What I experience on clear deep lakes is that some fish move out pretty quickly after spawn. They'll set up on early deep weedgrowth, or stands of weeds left over and still growing from the previous season. It can be a really good time for deep cranks, since you can cover a lot of water with them and find deep stands of weeds, plus walking them through a deep weedline is a good trigger to get a reaction bite. Big jigs can be good too, for the same reason. I start by looking at the edges of the first break off spawning areas, like big flats or points at the mouths of bays, etc. Most of the time it's shoreline-connected stuff vs. offshore humps. Basically, if you're where they spawn, turn your back on the spawning area and see what the first thing they're going to run into is.

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This summer I plan on running more deep divers. I bought a deep diving cranking rod and a Concept C reel and a bunch of Storm ST8 cranks. Anyone else got any other good cranks to get for this type of fishing? I usually don't bass fish but getting into it more.

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I've fished the Strike King 6XD and I really like it. I've also used the Norman deep diver. I'm not sure the model name but it says it dives 11-17'. I have typically used them in the mid summer months, late June, July and August. RK made some good points about early deep fish though. I think it's more likely that they will be "off the edge" more so in later summer. But deep weed edge, being relative, is good now too.

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I looked at my cranks last night and they were the 6XD's.... I do like them but broke 2 of them last Saturday out fishing. The lip split in half on one and another lip was all that came back on another haha... Not sure what happened, but I need to get a few more to replace them. I like them though.

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I love fishing cranks. That and jigs are probably my two favorite ways to catch bass. I find though that I'm rarely concerned with getting super deep. I carry some deep divers like DD-22s and my old Bandits, but most often I'm in the 9-15' range, even along deep weed edges. 

To me there are two parts of a weed edge that are key. One is the depth at the base of the weed edge and just out from it. That might be 16' on a clear lake, or 7 or 8 on a darker lake. The other is what I call the 'pivot point' on a deep weedline, which is the depth of the top of the weedline at the outside edge. Sometimes that's 8 or 9 feet, sometimes it's 3 or 4 feet. That pivot point is where you see bluegills and crappies suspending, etc., and when bass are eating that's often where they end up to. So you can be fishing a deep weedline where your boat is in 21 FOW, and your casts are landing in 15, but fishing it with a squarebill that runs 4' down.

So depth control is what matters, rather than just getting as deep as you can. In the 9-13 or so range, I really like Strike King Series 5s. I bet I throw them 75% of the time honestly. On the clear lakes I fish a lot they run at about the right depth, and fish eat 'em. I have both the silent and rattling versions, and switch them up at times. Some days silent outfishes rattling badly, less often it's the opposite. YMMV on darker water. I also do like DT-10s and DT-14s a lot. I also have a few Series 3 XDs that run about that range. For deeper edges, I like DT-16s, Series 5XDs, or my old Poes 400s,  

For shallower, like fishing the pivot point when weeds top out at 5-8 feet, squarebills on lighter line work, or deeper divers on heavier line. If I'm throwing a Series 5 on 12# FC and plowing weeds vs ticking the tops, I'll switch to a rod with 14 or even 17 FC, Every jump up in line diameter is @ a foot in depth or so on a long cast. 

For as much as I throw and like cranks though, I really don't carry that many. I carry basically two colors for clear water, and a couple for dark water, in 3 or 4 different models. Used to carry way more but eventually narrowed it down to what I know I use...

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gee, I sure like learning!

RK or anyone really, my favorite lake is has clear water, but has very limited "standing" vegetation.  At shore, the lake has hardstem bulrush out to about 3 ft.  After that, the vegetation turns to almost exclusively bladderwort and some short coontail out into at least 12ft maybe even deeper.

We have not really been able to find bass in deeper water (10ft plus is deeper to me for bass) on this lake,  we know they move out as shoreline fish numbers fall as the summer moves forward. 

I have tried cranks as it seems it should work, but not real sure of what I am doing when it comes to cranks. with nearly zero luck.

I have also tried jigs, however I seem to foul way to often in the bladderwort.

any suggestion on how to work this kind of deepwater situation? 

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Anyfish-- gaining the confidence to fish deeper water can be tricky.  You really have to rely on your electronics.  Once you understand what they are telling you it can open up deep water fishing to you.  So, my biggest suggestion is to get to know your electronics much better than you already do.  Learn what hard bottom looks like, then start looking for it.  Try and find flats and other food shelf areas as well.

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You can rip a crankbait through just about any kind of weedgrowth...except bladderwort. Ugh. I hate that stuff. It's like snagging 1/8" rope. It's kind of amazing stuff though if you set aside how hard it is to fish around. It's one of the rare predatory plants.

DD is right about electronics. If you're confident that fish are moving out to weed edges, electronics are critical. Use them to find all the points and inside turns on a weedline, or transition areas where you find areas of hard bottom. Really what you're looking for are edges - either hard to soft edges, changes in bottom composition (sand/gravel to rock, etc). If you have bullrushes, you probably have more hard bottom than not, so you have to look for areas of thicker weeds, spots where weeds transition from one type to another, etc. They can be hard to find, but the good news is once you find them they can produce consistently throughout the day, and year after year.  

The learning curve fishing deeper can be a challenge, especially if you're used to fishing what you can see. It's a mental hurdle more than anything. Sometimes when I'm learning something new, I don't give myself any other options, Take a rod with a few crankabits, and maybe a jig rod and a few jigs, and leave everything else at home. Commit the time to go learn, and try everything. Do it when conditions feel like fish should be biting (stable weather, etc.) and just go grind it out. If you give yourself the option of doing what you always do, that's what you'll end up doing if you get frustrated, whether what you always do is working or not.   

For jigs in bladderwort, by the way, you have to have the right kind of jighead. Some jigheads just don't work in the stuff. You have to have a good weedguard and a line tie right on the nose of the jig. Northland Jungle Jigs are good, and the North Star South Paw is another good one. Traditional head styles like Arkie heads can be miserable in coontail and bladderwort. You'll still pick up some, but not as bad.

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Anyone seeing an unusually high amount of curly leaf this year?  RumRiverRat and I fished a local lake on Saturday and it was absolutely out of control.  We fish this lake a lot and I've never seen it even close to this bad.  

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Anyone seeing an unusually high amount of curly leaf this year?  RumRiverRat and I fished a local lake on Saturday and it was absolutely out of control.  We fish this lake a lot and I've never seen it even close to this bad.  

That lake is usually treated and had not been done, at least up to a week and a half ago.  They usually treat it before it reaches the surface, however I agree it is out of control out there.  It is kind of fun to find the open pockets in the curly pond leaf, as there is always a bass in there.

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Ideal conditions for it I suppose. Lakes seem unusually clear I think because up until now, there hasn't been any runoff to wash nutrients into the lake and the lake levels are low besides - at least on the lakes I've been on. Lake my cabin on is normally pretty clear - 8-10' visibility isn't unusual. This year on walleye opener I could see bottom coloration changes in 15 feet. 

Interesting though - friend of mine in Eastern SD says theirs is barely up. He's usually hammering walleyes pitching jigs into pockets in the stuff by now, and they haven't even moved in there much yet. I'll be there this weekend so will see for myself I guess.

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I fished a lake opening weekend and it also was pretty full of curly leaf already too. I'm sure now it is even worse. I agree the early spring and clear water has allowed it to grow quicker and sooner. Good thing it usually dies off mid summer.

As far as deep bass, I've gotten a few in about 10-12ft of water, but nothing deeper yet.

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Fished up in Ottertail County last week and had some great action shallow. .. Swimbaits and Frogs worked best.  Tried deeper for a little with no success. Good topic, I need to try deeper more next time.... There were times we were getting mostly smaller bass, probably a good sign that the females may have moved deeper. 

 

 

20150529_120706-1.jpg

Edited by Lals

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The best thing to do is throw a big swimbait over the deep edge. Especially with clear water.

A big Glide Bait has been money for me this year.

A key fish attracting and bite triggering feature of glide baits is there smooth s shaped glide and the ability to turn 180 degrees when twitched followed by a pause. Good way to trigger followers. Bait spins around to challenge the follower, either they open their mouth and eat it or it runs into them.

The bait pictured is a Gancraft Jointed Claw 178s. Slow sink 7" glide bait. No perch in this particular lake, but the fish crush this bait. Also get a lot of followers to the boat. 

20150613_094956_RichtoneHDR_zpssicadkjg.

 

This is a Jackall Gantarel 6.25 " 2.5oz Bluegill Glide bait. Has been a great bait as well. Been chewed on a lot missing both eyes and some paint.

20150613_182445_RichtoneHDR_zps6ffn1cpx.

20150613_113504_RichtoneHDR_zps9covwi8z.

Edited by SwimbaitChucker

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Hey swimbait, what kind of line are you using for your glide baits?  Those gan crafts look a little spendy to lose to pike....

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20lb Suffix Siege Mono.

That particular lake has Pike in it, I have landed several with no issues so far.

If I was really worried I would use a homemade Fluorocarbon leader.

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