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Thread: Suspicious Fish

  1. #1

    Default Suspicious Fish

    Today I was fishing in some old quarries that were full of largemouth bass and some trout. The one I was fishing today seemed to hold just largemouths, the water is crystal clear. I was using clousers (grey, blue, and chartreuse) and black woolly buggers with 2X tippet. I had some luck and caught a couple, but for the most part they were very wary of my flies especially the big ones. I am thinking since the water was so clear they could see my tippet. Could this be the problem or could there be another factor I am not seeing? Or do I just need to try something different for still water? Any ideas would be great.
    Thanks, Cabot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    Cabot: I don't really know, I haven't done much bass fishing. I know that when throwing streamers in rivers the fish don't seem to be leader shy. You might experiment and try dropping your tippet down to a 3x or maybe a 4x to see if it makes any difference.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    Hi bekiu002,

    I fish a spring feed river that has lots of boat traffic. It is not very wide and you can see fish laying in the river. The boat traffic does not bother them and they just move away from the boat. If you cast a line in the river they will more away from it. It is really hard fishing but you can get good results by selecting the right spot to cast from and using stealth techniques.

    In your case I think you should try a Fluro tippet and if they are really spooky use a Fluro leader. You should try a 15' leader. You need to position yourself so the fly is all the fish see. Your presence may be alerting the fish so make long cast and keep as far away as you can. You don't say if you are fishing from the shore or a boat. It is easier with a boat and you can get a long way from the fish. LM like black and that is always a good choice.

    You say the fish move away from the bigger flies. This tells me you are too close to the fish because you can see them. You want to locate the fish and then move away and give them time to settle down. Then cast to the close edge of the area they are occupying. Slow down your retrieve. You can let a Clouser set on the bottom and slowly, I mean really slow, make short delicate retrieves. LM Bass are use to picking up food off of the bottom. If you don't have any luck then cast two or three feet into the area the fish were located. Eventually cover that area. Keep in mind that LM may look at a bait for a long time before it finally decides to try a bite. Don't give up if the fish refuses your presentation. Change your speed and depth you are fishing. Unless the fish are suspended you best bet is on or close to the bottom. So fish each cast as if this is the one you get bit. Bass bite flies/lures as food and also as a reactionary bite. Sometimes you can aggravate a Bass and it bites just to get rid of the nuisance.

    Using the same distance techniques you can fish a popper on top early and late. Still use the Fluro tipper or leader. LM can be attracted by a lot of commotion if it represents their food source. So you need to pop, pop pop and rest until all the ripples are gone around the popper, then repeat. You will have figure out the cadence that the fish want.

    So what you have to do is figure out what the fish have for food in the lake and try to use a fly that is close to the food source. Get as much distance as you can from the fish. Vary your retrieve speeds and get close to the bottom. If you can see the fish refuse your fly then you are probably too close.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    I will give that a try. I didn't realize you could let clousers sit on the bottom. But I can see the fish from 50 feet away and I don't my casting is up to farther than that.

  5. Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    As an ex-bass fisherman I can shed some light.

    Two things might be occuring in this situation. When fishing clear water bass are really spooky. You have to make longer casts and keep distance between you and the fish. Bait size is also important. When I fished touranments I used smaller baits in natural colors. Olives and browns are very effective colors in clear water.

    Weather is also a huge factor with clearer water. Cloudy weather is often the best since it hides your shadow. When the sun is out fish can see you from down deep.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Truckee, CA.
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    I like to fish a floating streamer on a sinking tip line. Then I adjust my count down to fish the whole water column.
    Generally bass like #6 streamers. They may eat bigger if conditions are right, but I'd rather have more takes than less.
    I tie to match the bait fish present color wise, but also size wise (small early season...larger latter). Do not use a mechanical strip! Watch bait fish swim for awhile.
    I like a dark colored line or will color it in bands the last 10ft. to break up it's profile. Flouro in 4x is advisable, unless they are big enough to break you off. Then 3x is better. If you fish a floating line, wait awhile after the cast. They have a short memory, and are very curious. I play stripper music in my head to help close the sale!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Chatham County, North Carolina

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    I think the big fish were wary of your fly because, well, that's how they got to be big fish.

    All good suggestions above, but in my experience largemouths are not particularly leader shy. I usually start with about an 8ft leader, usually 1X or even 0X, and will fish it down to 7ft before I consider re-adding tippet. Now smallmouths are another matter, but you mentioned only bucketmouths.

    Your issue may be more the clear water spookiness, as folks have suggested here, or very likely the time of day. These summer days, if it isn't early or late in the day, they're probably just looking.

    And I tend to either fish the top or bounce the bottom; seldom in between. But that's just me.

    And Frank's point about annoynce is very true. Fishing trout and largemouths are completely different. Drop a fly on a trout's head and he's gone. Drop one on a largemouth and he's lible to hit it out of sheer meanness. When it comes to threat reactions, trout are flight, bass are fight. It's part of their charm..

    Good luck!!!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border

    Default Re: Suspicious Fish

    I have Bass fished a ton. I used to walk the shore of a small lake where I used to live and found that if I could see the Bass, they could see me. I started wearing camo and moving slow. You may want to go with a longer leader but bass are not generally a line shy fish. Look at the background the bass see you against, and try to camo up for it. Casting for distance will help you a lot as well. I would think this would go double for the trout. They are way easier to spook. The lake I did this in was right in town and I got some odd looks for being entirely camoflauged, but It worked.
    Last edited by Guest1; 08-05-2009 at 07:25 PM. Reason: delete a non-working smiley face

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