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Old 06-20-2006, 12:08 PM
PMSKnives PMSKnives is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 28
Default Feeding Habits...

Are the feeding habits of large mouth bass different from state to state? I know it is an odd question, but I pose it because of the following. I grew up in Southern FL where the bass hit as follows. They would give you a tug, then you would open the bail and let them run w/it for 10-15 sec, and then you would set the hook.

Here in NJ, yesterday I landed my first fish on a new rig that I bought last weekend. I was using a rubber worm and the sequence was totally different from that of the Souther FL days.....Now this fishing spot has a lot of large stones and such. So it feels like the worm is always being hit, but it isn't. This adds to the confusion. But this bass tapped, I stopped, and then resumed the steady reel in. The line felt a bit tighter than normal, so I gave it a snap tug thinking it was debris....Nothing...Tension remained so I did a "set the hook" tug and there it was.....Brought up a #4-#5 large mouth bass...

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Old 06-21-2006, 09:16 AM
Torpedo Torpedo is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 30

Maybe has something to do with the cooler water up here. Maybe the fish aren't quite as aggressive. I do a lot of bass fishing and what you described is normal for this area. When fishing plastic worms, you will usually only feel a little tension on the line. They will often swim with the worm in their mouth, so it sounds like the fish you caught may have been swimming towards you. This happens a lot and can be confusing at first. I've fished with a few people who weren't used to plastic worms and all of them had a hard time feeling when they had a fish. It takes some time, but you'll get the feel for it. Heck, I fish them a lot and I even have a hard time once in a while so when in doubt, I set the hook.
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:05 AM
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Jigman Jigman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Maine
Posts: 472

if I feel anything that I didn't create with my retrieve, I set the hook, no waiting, no pause, if you feel them on by a tap or drag or slack, set the hook cuz they have it in their mouth either way.. about the only time there should be a pause in the hookset is when your sight-fishing, you should wait just enough for the fish to turn after the take.. count to 1 and whack 'em... if you didn't see the take you feel it when they turn, so in essence it's the same...
Beware the "sneak attack"!!
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:25 AM
PMSKnives PMSKnives is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 28

The confusion is also aided by the fact that I know the "weed/rock" structure of the fishing hole. So it is a balance of knowing where the natural hinderences are and where they are not. Too many false "hook sets" result in too many lost rubber worms...

There is a lot of truth in getting to know the eating habits of the fish from spot to spot. Guess I am still on that learning curve...

Thanks Guys
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:52 AM
TonyDB TonyDB is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,058

Your question of varying feeding habits from state to state...yes, they vary from lake to lake within a given state. It just depends on what the primary LMB forage is in a specific lake.

Now as I understand, your issue is that you feel bass in Jersey don't take rubber worms as they did in Florida. I have never fished for LMB in Jersey but I have in Florida as well as other states in the Northeast. Aside from the fact that bass grow faster and bigger in Florida, I don't see much of any differences in their dealings with rubber worms.

I am predominatly a rubber worm fisherman when it comes to LMB...especially as the dog days of summer approach. I usually fish them unweighted and rigged weedless mostlt in 7" lengths.

Things I do:

I never let a fish run with the rubber worm for more than 5 seconds and most times less. They don't call them large mouths for nothing. Even a 3/4 lb. LM will inhale a 7" worm in milliseconds. If you wait more than 5 seconds, you'll be gut-hooking a lot of fish. If your waiting 10-15 seconds to set the hook and you're missing a lot of fish then my guess is that it's not a bass...sunfish or crappie maybe. If it is, it's mighty small.

When I first started fishing LM's, I used the open-bail technique for worming cause that's what someone showed me. I almost never use that technique anymore when worming. Instead, I hold the rod angled back or to the side such that by dropping the rod to the same angle of your line entering the water, you will provide 4-6 feet of line travel before the line will tighten on a run. That's usually more than enough travel for the fish to inhale the bait and for you to gather your wits and strike. Most times I end up reeling in a few feet of that before I strike.

You always want to try to maintain contact with your bait. When you open your bail and free-spool, you lose that. In addition, watch your line. Even if a bass runs at you, you will notice a line twitch and movement of the line at the point of its entry below the water.

If a bass is willing to pick-up your worm it means they're hungry or pissed. Therefore most times the fish won't drop it at the first hint of a little resistance. To prove this point to one of my LMB fishing partners, I sat there for upwards of a minute playing tug-a-war with a 1 lb. large mouth that we could both see from the boat. In fact I had difficulty making him drop it.

Hope this helps.
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