Where are they?Where are they? Man this is the question we all wish we could answer. The way I look at it, there are four major influences and four reactions. We will begin by discussing the influences because these are very important.
They are Temperature, Light, Gravity and Water Movement.
We all know that bass are cold blooded and they match the surrounding water temperature. While winter and summer cause fish to move great distances, a degree or two can make them move as well.
Each day the water temps change because the air changes as well; therefore, you can expect the water to change everyday. This could be the number one reason bass are gone the next day when you return. A temperature gauge is a must to help keep up with the changes.
The sun and, occasionally, the moon are the only sources of light to deal with. This is good because they cause enough problems on their own. Bright days put fish closer to cover while cloudy days spread them out. Sounds simple, but it is not. In spring, bright sun light will cause fish to spread out for warmth, while in summer it will cause the opposite. Cloudy skies in summer will spread the fish out, while in spring it will cause a complete shut down.
The moon and sun do their part. Barometric Pressure has a role that few can grasp. Going up or going down? That is the question. As a rule fishing is better on rising pressure. However, steady high pressure is really the only bad time.
Water movement can be current, wind, changing water levels and in some areas tide. You have to sit back and think about this one for a minute. A little current is great, too much is bad. No wind is bad, a lot is good. Rising water is good for shallow fish and falling water is good for deeper fish.
For every action there are four reactions.
They are: Expand, Feed, Rest, Retreat.I have tried to explain the causes of each and have included some drawings to demonstrate each one.
Expand:"Expand" is a very simple term and means just that. A fish suspending in 20 foot may move to 10. A fish relating to stumps at 15 foot may move to stumps in 10. Fish relating to a deeper section of a pier may move to shallower post. Fish are in a positive mood, moving up in their migration routes. If conditions feel positive you need to be fishing with a positive attitude
Water warming in spring, cooling in summer, changing light conditions, barometric pressure rising or falling after being steady for a few days, pre-frontal conditions, water level changing the right way, current starting, temperature rising to spawning levels.
Feeding is actually a very rare thing. While a bass will usually eat at any given time, the actual feeding process last only a short time. Fish will move from their cover to feed. They may move small distances or they may move a long way. Once again this is a rare and tremendous fishing opportunity.
Some Causes:Food available in large numbers: such as shad kills or insect hatches, perfect conditions, rapidly changing conditions, starting or stopping of current, starting or stopping of wind, changing barometric pressure, moon is moving into prime time positions.
Rest is better defined as "inactive." I had rather use the term "rest" because bass may still be willing to eat. The term rest means to slow down but not leave. Fish that were being caught on the edge of the grass are now imbedded. The fish that were feeding near open water are now holding very tight to cover. Fish along a rip rap did hit a spinner bait but now want a jig on the bottom.
Some Causes:Bright sun light, small changes in water temperature, stopping of current, slight changes in water level, change in wind direction or speed, the time between daybreak and the heat of the day
Retreat:This is a very important part of fish movement. Big time problems in bass fishing. Let say, you go back to a favorite bank. Yesterday you caught them on top water. Last weekend you found they took a jerk bait, but today nothing. They are flat gone, a great way to describe retreat.
Some Causes:Drastic weather changes! Basically, that is about it. Tremendous water level changes may cause this reaction as well. Some other influences could cause a retreat but the weather is boss. This will help you decide, "are they gone or just resting?" If your spot stops producing and the weather has not changed much, the fish shouldn’t have either