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  • Locating Schools of Bass

    Posted by 17studios on June 20, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Hey there everyone!

    I’ve had a difficult time locating “quality” bass on Priest. I’ve been catch some “dinks” up shallow but nothing of good size. I’ve been seeing guys mid lake fishing and not sure if there fishing for crappie on brush piles or if they’ve located a school of bass. I use a Humminbird Helix 5 SI-GPS and find it difficult to locate schools of fish, I occasionally see “bait balls” but that’s it.

    Anyone have any good advice, pointers, or suggestions on locating these schools of bass on Preist and what you’d throw to poetically catch them.

    Thank you for any info you may have.
    (This is my first post)

    Brett D
    D3 Fishing

    17studios replied 7 years, 8 months ago 7 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • fishpat

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Call Brian. I have been fishing Priest since it was opean. I mostly fish for crappie. I took some customers out with him on the pontoon last year and out with Trey on the bass boat this year. I learned something each time. Couldn’t believe I was doing the same thing over and over. Will be out with them again this year.

  • krogers79

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Finding schools of bass is all about knowing what your looking at. This may sound obvious, but it’s truly the only way you will ever consistently find these schools when they get out in 15-25 feet of water. Sure you can blind cast and haphazardly run into a school. I would suggest venturing over to bass boat central and looking in the Humminbird image forum to get some idea of what you are looking at. Bass schools tend to be more horizontal in the water column where as crappie will tend to stack vertically. As for where you will find the fish this time of year, look at the Navionics webapp and located humps, points, and ledges on main river channels. Anything that provides an ambush point for the bass is a good place to start. Idle from deep to shallow and vice versa for your best chance to find the fish. Set you SI range to 3 times the water depth. So if you are in 20 ft…set your SI range to 60 ft. As for baits, I love throwing the Carolina rig first, if the fish are relating to the bottom. This technique allows you to maintain bottom contact throughout the retrieve. If and when I get a bite, I will switch over to a reaction bait (Strike King 5xd or 6xd or a big spoon). If the fish are suspended…I move on. 🙂 I have never had much luck catching suspended fish, so I don’t waste my time. Marker buoys are also a plus when you are fishing deep. I will drop a buoy when I find the fish and then back off and throw around the buoy. If I get bit, I drop another buoy around the trolling motor. This gives me a pinpoint location to place my boat and make consistent casts to the same spot. Other baits that I throw when the fish are deep:
    Football jig
    Swimbait
    Magnum shakey head with a big trickworm

    I’m far from an expert, but this is what I have done to locate more fish deep. I still struggle at times when the school isn’t in session where I have found them previously.

  • Brian

    Administrator
    June 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I concur….good response Krogers!

  • blockel

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm
    quote Krogers79:

    Finding schools of bass is all about knowing what your looking at. This may sound obvious, but it’s truly the only way you will ever consistently find these schools when they get out in 15-25 feet of water. Sure you can blind cast and haphazardly run into a school. I would suggest venturing over to bass boat central and looking in the Humminbird image forum to get some idea of what you are looking at. Bass schools tend to be more horizontal in the water column where as crappie will tend to stack vertically. As for where you will find the fish this time of year, look at the Navionics webapp and located humps, points, and ledges on main river channels. Anything that provides an ambush point for the bass is a good place to start. Idle from deep to shallow and vice versa for your best chance to find the fish. Set you SI range to 3 times the water depth. So if you are in 20 ft…set your SI range to 60 ft. As for baits, I love throwing the Carolina rig first, if the fish are relating to the bottom. This technique allows you to maintain bottom contact throughout the retrieve. If and when I get a bite, I will switch over to a reaction bait (Strike King 5xd or 6xd or a big spoon). If the fish are suspended…I move on. 🙂 I have never had much luck catching suspended fish, so I don’t waste my time. Marker buoys are also a plus when you are fishing deep. I will drop a buoy when I find the fish and then back off and throw around the buoy. If I get bit, I drop another buoy around the trolling motor. This gives me a pinpoint location to place my boat and make consistent casts to the same spot. Other baits that I throw when the fish are deep:
    Football jig
    Swimbait
    Magnum shakey head with a big trickworm

    I’m far from an expert, but this is what I have done to locate more fish deep. I still struggle at times when the school isn’t in session where I have found them previously.

    Thanks for the input, Kroger. This is really great stuff. Two things I’ve always wondered about with finding summertime bass was the angle that your typically scan them, which you touched upon. Secondly, is there a sweetspot when it comes to the speed you are idling and scanning for these fish, is 3-5mph too fast?

  • krogers79

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Match the chart speed with the trolling speed. I usually am going between 3 and 5 MPH and I have my chart speed set at that. If you want to elongate the picture, jack the chart speed up greater than the boat speed. This is something I just found out a few weeks back when I had a Humminbird expert come through Nashville. He volunteered to meet me on Priest and go through my units with me. I knew a lot of what he talked about, but the elevated chart speed was new to me.

  • blockel

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm
    quote Krogers79:

    Match the chart speed with the trolling speed. I usually am going between 3 and 5 MPH and I have my chart speed set at that. If you want to elongate the picture, jack the chart speed up greater than the boat speed. This is something I just found out a few weeks back when I had a Humminbird expert come through Nashville. He volunteered to meet me on Priest and go through my units with me. I knew a lot of what he talked about, but the elevated chart speed was new to me.

    Just so I’m understanding, and I’m not familiar with Hummindbirds, if you’re idling you’ll have your chart speed set at say, a 3-5/10? Also, wouldn’t it be advantageous to have an elongated or larger picture or can it be an issue b/c it just blurs the image, not allowing you to seperate the targets as well?

    Also, on Priest, I know we’re not talking mega schools like on KY lake but how many fish do you look for before your actually throw a bouy and fish?

  • krogers79

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Hummbirds have a setting that allows you to quickly change the chart speed. Since my boat idles better around 5 mph, I tend to set my chart speed at that speed. I hardly ever change it. By ramping the chart speed up higher than the boat speed, you do loose some clarity, but it also helps to bring out some of the detail…such as structure. I went over a sunken boat with my chart speed and boat speed matched. Didn’t look like much on the bottom. We then went back over it with the chart speed jacked up and you could clearly see the outline of the boat. If I am looking for schools of fish, I will keep my boat and chart speed matched. As far as the number of fish on Priest…don’t think there aren’t mega schools. I went over the famous school at Jones Mill last year and there were easily 150 fish in that school. I caught a mixture of hybrid and largemouth out of that school and they were some good fish. If I can see some well defined bigger fish on the graph, I will stop regardless of numbers.

  • blockel

    Member
    June 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks a ton for your help, Krogers!

  • jard

    Member
    June 21, 2016 at 2:10 am

    I run humminbirds. Watch youtube videos till your tired of them. I have learned so much from settings and what you are looking at. I also changed the colors on mine to all blue on SI/DI. Everyone sees a little different and I couldn’t see the red dots but blue jumps out at me (green did as well). Also, fish are much, much smaller than you think (especially on a 5 or 7″ screen) they are essentially dots, not the big blobs of bait. When you have it dialed in, you will see fish sitting on the rocks when you scan over. That all being said, I am struggling mightily this year compared to other years and am just not catching much.

  • blockel

    Member
    June 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Kroger – I’ve been messing around with a carolina rig this year with little success, what are some of your conifidence lures on “the rig”, brush hog?

  • krogers79

    Member
    June 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I almost exclusively throw a Zoom 6″ lizard in watermelon red, watermelon purple, or watermelon with orange glitter. Last year I got to messing around with Senkos and Yum Dingers and I had good success on them. At night I switch to the same Zoom 6″ lizard in black/blue and black/chart tail and the same stick baits.

    I absolutely love my Carolina Rig. For the longest I wouldn’t throw a football jig because I had so much confidence in the C rig. I got away from using it so much over the last couple of years, but I am throwing it a lot this year because I like to feel all of the bottom contours plus there is nothing like dragging that thing on the bottom and one yanking the rod out of your hand when he hits it.

  • philip-nichols

    Member
    June 23, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Once you start finding deep schools don’t get discouraged if they don’t bite. You really have to play around and fish every angle possible. Lining up on them right is the key. I fished a tournament last Saturday marked a big school on a drop and fished for an hour until I hit the right angle with the right bait (10 inch black w/ purple flake Texas rig worm) and then boom I caught probably 20-30 fish over the next hour.

  • blockel

    Member
    June 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm
    quote Philip Nichols:

    Once you start finding deep schools don’t get discouraged if they don’t bite. You really have to play around and fish every angle possible. Lining up on them right is the key. I fished a tournament last Saturday marked a big school on a drop and fished for an hour until I hit the right angle with the right bait (10 inch black w/ purple flake Texas rig worm) and then boom I caught probably 20-30 fish over the next hour.

    You guys rock! Very, very helpful stuff.

    Are you primarily night fishing time of year, hence the black worm?

  • krogers79

    Member
    June 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    I’m usually out at night this time of year, but the temps have kept me by the pool most evenings. But that black 10″ worm is a stone cold killer during the day as well. I like Tequila Sunrise, June Bug, Black and Blue, & Blackberry.

  • blockel

    Member
    June 23, 2016 at 8:49 pm
    quote Krogers79:

    I’m usually out at night this time of year, but the temps have kept me by the pool most evenings. But that black 10″ worm is a stone cold killer during the day as well. I like Tequila Sunrise, June Bug, Black and Blue, & Blackberry.

    Can’t blame you for hanging out by the pool this time of year. It’s funny you bring up the 10″ in tequila sunrise, that’s the very bait I learned to bass fish on and somehow it’s lost it’s luster over the years. Looks like it might be time to get reacquainted with it!

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