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...stickin' it to 'em.

Last week found the first real "surge", at least in my boat, of a very promising shallow water bite taking shape. With more guide trips on tap for this weekend, it was business as usual. Crank baits, 1 - 3' of water along wind-blown transitions and upper body endurance.

This weekend was more of an indicator that the fish will feed when they want to in the same locations as last week but it was just a matter of whether or not you wanted to wait them out or not. We fished 6 spots today, of which only 3 produced and I went back to each of those 3 spots twice and we stuck fish each time back. The fish were very much "in and out", meaning we'd get 1 - 3 fish/spot and then it'd go quiet for an hour or so before a few more would decide to slide up to the table for dinner. So, we settled into a rotation after realizing what was happening and we just circulated between the 3 producing spots and picked off fish. Again, we stuck with the game plan and were rewarded with a great day of fishing. The one thing that did elude was anything over 21" but the fish for the pan did not. The fish in the livewell had plenty of company, most of which included fish in that 16 - 19" range, with a few over and a few under.

19.5" and 17"

Back to back casts

shallow003jc3.jpg

The one rut we did get stuck in for a bit was using crank baits with orange bellies only. Perhaps this was a mistake on my part because about half-way through the day, we started mixing it up and the bites became a little more regular on crank baits with white and/or chrome bellies.

Just plain chunky

shallow002di6.jpg

I'm happy when they're happy

Just a portion of today's catch. Start the oil!

shallow001of0.jpg

A big "THANKS" to my clients from today. Great guys! I have some openings in July if you'd like to experience some down-right awesome shallow water fishing. Visit my website and drop me an e-mail if your're interested in booking a trip with Tight Lines Guide Service.

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  • Team Otter

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Nice, Just by looking at the shoreline photos I know what lake they did not come from.

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The livewell was making a lot of noise late in the afternoon...

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Nice fish Jamison! I'll have to give that a try after I get back from vaca. Looks like some good times. wink

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Nice fish Jamison! I'll have to give that a try after I get back from vaca. Looks like some good times. wink

Thanks. You always say that and then your fishing report from the area goes something like this: "Fished the outside weedline with jigs and leeches and night crawlers at a variety of depths. Quite a few rough fish mixed in but we managed some 'eyes too, although most were smaller."

Just ribbin' ya' but hey, it's time to get out of your rut and go ultra-shallow.

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Yeah, although last year I put on a sore arm a few days working the 1' - 4' stuff. Some of those "reports" you didn't receive/see though. smirk However, that outside weedline did treat me pretty darn good a few times last year. wink

I'll keep giving that shallow stuff a try. Doesn't typically work out for me, but I'll keep at it. Come to think of it, only time I ever caught one in <6' was in your boat during a gtg on Madison a couple falls ago. But then again, I don't think your boat even made it out of 7' of water! grinwhistle If it did, it was because we were on plane heading for more shallow spots. smile

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I tried this pattern the other day witn no success, but there was absolutly no wind so I should have known better. I will try it another day with some wind.

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Wind is nice to have but certainly not a necessity. Keep at it.

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Thanks otter, I will. Gotta fix the boat first however. Let the wife put in on the lift and she got it too far forward and broke my transducer!

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I have also noticed that you can't just sit in one area and pound away at it. Hit the spot get a fish or two then move on. hit another spot do the same. Let the area rest for 1/2- 1 hour and you can get alot more fish from a spot. Find 3 or four spots on a lake with the same type of structure and you have a milk run. The only thing wrong with the plan is when you leave a spot and come back there is a good chance there will be 2 or 3 boats anchored on the spot for the day! I will also stop fishing a spot, eat some lunch, setup another rod, just kill some time before making another cast.

On another note; sound travels through water vary fast and doesn't fade with distance like it does in air. It is hard to tell if a boat is 200yds away or 20ft away when your under water. So if there are other boats moving on a lake, I have a hard time thinking a boat motor will spook fish.

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"A milk run" - one of my favorite approaches on any body of water.

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A fish will know how close a boat is. The latteral line is the key to all of thier sense's. Stealth is key to consistant success in the shallows. Why do you think they put rattles in lures?

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I knew you couldn't just stay with the orange bellies. I was getting that feeling when we were out there. Heck I might even make the trek down there again to play with ol' marble 'eyes.

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I wish there were more variations of chrome, red and gold bellies too...

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I see a TO's Custom Lure Painting in business in the future...

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I have some foil tape at work here that I cut small strips off of and add to lures that have a pattern I like but want to add a little flash to. It seems to stay on very well as it is very sticky. Gives it the chrome belly look. Deadly on a hot perch hornet!

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Super glue and glitter flakes from the hobby store will add a great flash to lures. After some pike you may need to touch up , but it can be done in the boat. The gold flakes work very well. There are all kinds of colored metalic flakes so customizeing is easy. A little superglue spreads thin also as to not disrupt the lures action, along with being clear. All this can be done in the boat while the lure is tied to your line.

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It may be easier for me just to call Salmo and Rapala.

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Clown Metallic Dace, Silver Metallic Shiner and Red Tail Shiner size 4 floating hornet grin all have good chrome bellies on them. Might have to get the viking one too.

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It may be easier for me just to call Salmo and Rapala.

Not all of us have the pull you do! smile So I'll just have to stay with the red neck solutions for now.

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I think you've taken advantage of "the pull" though, so tread lightly. Ha!

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How does one find transition areas? Is it mostly via your electronics?

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Yes and no, is deep water your electronics are a key tool for that, unless you have cheap electronics, like me, then I rely on how my jig/sinker feels on the bottom.

In shallow water, there are a few differnt types of transition areas. Weeds to an area of no weeds is a classic and easy one to find. There is normally a reason that they stopped growing. Otherwise the feel of your jig or crank hitting bottom can tell you that it has changed from sand to rock or mud to gravel. Looking on shore can provide some insite, especially with the lakes being lower than normal, (well some of them) if you see an area where rocks start on shore, there is a good chance they carry on into the water.

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riverrat56 did a great job explaining the basics. For me, I mostly use my electronics, shoreline visuals and presentation feel on the way back to the boat.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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