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How do you "match the hatch" in freshwater?

jakejake Posts: 326 Deckhand
I've been bass fishing a little more often lately, but it's mostly guesswork as opposed to the salt where I "understand" the bait. It's a lot easier to see the bait in salt I think. Plus, on the off chance I keep a fish, I always cut open its belly to see what it's been eating. But I'm not going to be putting any bass on the dinner table.

In lakes, I feel like I always see shiners in the water, but rarely get bites on baitfish imitations. The best bites I've had come off worms and frogs, which I don't ever see actually in the water.

When you pull up to a lake you've never fished before, how do you decide what the first thing you're going to throw is going to be? Are you looking in the water to determine the bait situation, or other clues?


  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 10,485 Moderator
    I look at cover and what depth it's in to make a decision on what bait to choose. I consider baits as tools to use for different jobs.
    Water is shallow with lots of weeds I can't use the deep diving crankbait I was throwing over a 7' shell bed in open water.

    Next is water color and suspected forage base. ALL bass eat minnows and crayfish and just about anything else that comes by small enough to swallow. How far they are willing to chase it is the question. Lots of puzzle pieces.. That's why it's fun :cool:
    "You'll get your weather"
  • RiverRat22RiverRat22 Posts: 82 Deckhand
    As a general rule, I think thinker cover hold more bream and shiners, where as shad stay more in open water. Time of year can be a good indicator too, I've noticed bass feed a lot more on shad in the summer and fall then in the winter/spring.

    As far as the worm/frog thing, I'm convinced the bass see those as baitfish. For like the classic powerworm or horney toad at least.
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