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jalberg

Matching The Hatch

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You always hear the phrase "Match the hatch" used to determine the size and color of the bait you should use.

So... how exactly do you do this? Should I bring panfish gear in the boat with me to see what size the bluegills and perch are?

I've read that you can just go and turn over a few rocks to find crayfish. Is this true... or neccesary?

If I want to imitate some other type of minnow, how do I know what is in the lake, and what they look like?

I guess what I want to know is, are there any resources that give general sizes of bass prey through out their lifecycle. Like average size of fry and yearlings, adults, etc. MN specific?

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i don't put much stake in it to be honest with bassin...maybe fly fishin it comes into play more?

but certain baits gives off certain actions, vibrations and what not along with retrieve speed and whatever the fisherman is doing presentation wise...sometimes they feel like a nut & sometimes they don't...

i consistently go out bassin & have good days...its very very rare i don't get a tourny limit + a bunch more...not talking a bunch of dinks either...

never followed that notion but i just try different confidence baits whether its topwater, in the water column to bottom bouncing that work for me...with various different presentations, speed & colors etc...til i find what they want that particular day, works great for me...

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Ill spill my secrets if you show me how to hunt those hogs in the fall! cool

Honestly what I do is try to match the predominant forage at the time of yr with the color im throwing. Ie. I throw alot of bluegil colors in the shallows in the spring cause i know the sunfish are spawning. And I throw alot of white and silver in the fall in. the creeks of river because thats were the shad are. Don't over complicate it.

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should of thrown bait profile in that mix also...

you'll hear match the hatch & but you'll also see hear guys & pros alike that don't believe in it...where its more combinations of the above that is what it boils down to...

just figuring out what they prefer on a given day moreso than other presentations/baits...which on other days those other baits and presentations will beat out those that couldn't get consistently bit prior...

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For me, it means I usually dont throw a crawfish type bait on Rainy Lake where the fish are conditioned to look up for their meals. The same as I throw more shad type colors on rivers than I do on lakes. Not to say a bass won't eat a shad looking bait on a small lake around here that has no shad in it. But, your odds seem to be better if you go with a craw or sunfish type bait on those types of lakes.

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I think 'matching the hatch' is maybe over complicating things. "Suggesting the hatch" is probably a better way to think about it, and that doesn't always mean using colors or shapes we think of as matching the forage.

When Berkley was developing the first Power Bait shapes back in the late 1980s, they worked really extensively on the shape of the original Power Craw. They wanted to get THE best crawfish imitation, so they experimented with all kinds of shapes - legs, no legs, big claws, small claws... As a control on their experiments when they tested fish reaction in their tanks, they also used a 4" cylindrical slug of power bait with no appendages or anything. Guess which shape bass hit most often? It might have worked better, but what fisherman would buy a 4" cylinder of plastic with no arms or legs as a 'craw imitation?' But...what's a tube?

Take crankbaits, just as an another example from the color side of things. I fish clear water with lots of bluegills. So you'd think the ideal color would be a bluegill pattern, and I do like patterns like the Rapala DT bluegill color, and the Strike King bluegill pattern sometimes. (I like the Strike King color especially because it's translucent...)

But...I catch the holy bejeezus out of them on Strike King's Green Gizzard color. It's far and away my #1 crankbait color, and there isn't a shad within 100 miles of me. Why? If you look at a small 2"-3" bluegill from clear water, they aren't brightly colored - they're pale blueish green on their backs with a white or lightish cream belly, and when you hold one up to the light you can basically see through it like a potato chip. Green Gizzard is a translucent pale green with a cream belly... Moving fast it's very suggestive of a YOY bluegill, but it's far from an exact immitation.

For other baits like jigs or plastics - for LMB and SMB - I pick colors that are going to blend in to the surroundings - watermelon or green pumpkin around weeds, sand colored tubes for smallies, etc. Colors that make a fish hunt a little bit for the bait. They probably don't look anything like the actual forage - not a lot of watermelon green baitfish around - but the hard to find color, along with speed and erratic movement, exploits other aspects of the fish's nature, like their predatory instincts.

I think for sure you can tweak color selection to suggest the main forage. Chartreuse dye on a jig trailer gives a little bit of the bluegill tail flash, for example, or copper flake in a green pumpkin tube to make it a little perchy-looking.

All in all, I think you suggest forage with size and shape, then color based on water clarity. But for me at least *exactly* imitating forage isn't something I pay a lot of attention to.

Cheers,

RK

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But...I catch the holy bejeezus out of them on Strike King's Green Gizzard color.

*writes this down for a future trip to the store*

wink

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Interesting, I have a pearl grey shiner DT Fat 3 that's on about its 5th different set of hooks because it catches more fish. No idea why, it's the dullest color there is but on lakes with green water it just works so well.

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Interesting, I have a pearl grey shiner DT Fat 3 that's on about its 5th different set of hooks because it catches more fish. No idea why, it's the dullest color there is but on lakes with green water it just works so well.

Might be a color thing, or might just be a 'good one.' With crankbaits, especially wood ones, some baits 'have it' and some don't. Seen it many, many times trolling crankbaits in open water for muskies and walleyes - 3 identical baits in the water, one catches most of the fish, the others don't catch nearly as many. It's a little less noticeable casting cranks since there are so many variations in retrieve, hitting cover, all the triggering stuff that can change the equation...but still. Some baits just catch them better than others. I have a few wood Poe's crankbaits that are just lights out in some situations, where identical Poe's cranks - color and everything - don't work nearly as well.

It's the darndest thing...

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