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Fall Feed Bag?


Mike G
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Fall Feed  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you believe that Smallmouth Bass go on a feeding binge in Fall?

    • Yes
      15
    • No
      5
    • Maybe
      4


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Steve K wrote this, "I see that there is only one ISA outing scheduled in October and November, the months during which smallmouth (and other species) enhance their food intake in preparation for winter."

 

Since I did not want to hi-jack the thread, I will ask my question here. Is there really a heavier feeding period in fall? Or is that just an explanation for the good fishing in fall? As we get into fall, the abundant bait of the summer starts to disappear while the fish are just as hungry as before. The cooling of the waters knocks down weed growth and brings fish shallower where we can get at them. Added O2 perks up fish that were lethargic in warmer summer water. As a result the fishing is good just as if the bass were trying to fatten up like a sow bear getting ready to hibernate. But bass do not hibernate. So I am putting up the survey question.

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I've never experienced the so-called "fall bite" explosion.

I sometimes wonder if is a fallacy due to the fact more people are fishing more often, because the season will come to an end too soon.

 

You do offer some convincing arguments though, Mike.

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crayfish hibernate and i'm sure the minnow population dwindles a bit causing the fish to say, hey i better eat now cause it's not going to be there later, (at least not in abundance)..just my opinion of course.

as for the fisherman side, the weather is more comfortable, less bugs, less weeds, and beautiful scenery, and the water is crisp and clear.. :lol:

scott

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I see articles and shows on TV that show various animals putting on the feed bag before winter. So is that to say that fish do not because they have an abundance of food and don't need to. I would think that they as other animals do get more active in the feeding zone then normal and put on fat for the winter months when they can't move about as muck as usual.

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Steve K wrote this, "I see that there is only one ISA outing scheduled in October and November, the months during which smallmouth (and other species) enhance their food intake in preparation for winter."

As a result the fishing is good just as if the bass were trying to fatten up like a sow bear getting ready to hibernate. But bass do not hibernate. So I am putting up the survey question.

 

Fish are cold blooded creatures. Their metabolism changes based on water temperature. As the water cools their metabolism slows down and they need much less food so they feed less in the winter. I'd consider this a mild hibernation compared to the summer when water temps are high and they need to feed more often.

 

I'm not sure about a feeding binge thing, but big fish are a lot more accessible. The largest fish in the system are often caught in the fall where they were harder to come by during the summer.

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I fish for smallies year round. I've noticed over the years that I hardly if at all catch smaller smallmouth as the water gets colder. I have thought that it may be account the lower metabolism of the small fish tends to shut them down a lot more that the larger fish. They may go into some sort of hibernative state or it may be that they need to feed so infrequently that I just don't encounter them. Well that and the fact that I use larger than normal baits that may intimidate them.

 

Is there a fall feeding frenzy of large fish or is it that the smaller fish are actually feeding less than the larger fish due to thier metabolic rate dropping?

It would be interesting to know for the sake of pure knowledge but in the long run I'd say sit back and enjoy the ride for the average guy.

 

Maybe it has to due with less fishing pressure as some put down the rod in favor of the bow or the shotgun. You also have the kids back in school, others that don't like colder weather and for some thier weekends are consumed by college and pro football.With less pressure the larger bass may return to the classic spots and day time feeding after spending the summer feeding at night or in off the wall spots. If so then they are more likely to be encountered by the average fisherman.

 

It may also be that over the years due to the preception that there is a fall feeding frenzy of large fish that folks actually start fishing techniques that catch large fish thus making it a self fuliing prophecy.

 

Or it could be that I'm bonkers and these are the just ravings of a lunatic instead of the musings of an experinced[not old] river rat.

 

Whatever it is, enjoy the fishing and tight lines.

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I have had some of my best big fish days (most big smallies in a day) in the fall, but I am not sure if that constitutes a binge. I think that if you happen to be on the water when the smallmouth are active, you can be in for a binge. Sometimes the "binge" window might be for several hours and other times it might for only ten or twenty minutes. I have fished quite a few times in the fall where I have been lucky enough to be fishing in the twenty minute period when the fish get turned on and that is a blast until the fish instantly turn off.

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Guest airbornemike

I think its more of an early fall bite people experience, I've hit this bite good a couple seasons past. When you get a combination of water temps in low to mid sixty degree temps with a depleeting forage base, the smallmouths metobolism is still high enough to require heavy feeding. as far as there forage never going away, they dont go away but the do deplete. The minnows stop producing and the craws they have been feeding on all summer are less active, stop producing and molting, that means less and less yummy softshells.

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Many of my largest river smallies have come during the fall. It seems, as Norm alluded to, the ratio between big fish and small fish tilts towards the large size. I don't know if there truly is a fall binge period, but I will say the month of October is my favorite month to be on the river. Awesome temps. and beautiful foliage make fishing a real treat.

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River smallmouth fishing is definately better in the fall IMHO. When I did the fishing log project, September was the peak month for both overall numbers and number of smallmouth bass 16" or better. August was 2nd best for total numbers of fish and October was 2nd for fish over 16". We can make theories on why but maybe its just better to know that "it just is better". I think all of the points mentioned before are all conributing factors and I'll add in lower more stable weather and river flows.

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I gotta say, Norm is all over the stratosphere in his assumptions as a seasoned river rat.

I learned absolutely nothing from that dialogue, other than the fact I need to throw lots of lures to catch lots of fish.

;)

But something about it told me to get out tomorrow to get them however possible.

 

Are we flooded yet?

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Survey says! Most people believe there is something there. When I read the comments, I do not find much agreement on exactly what it is. Water conditions, weaher conditions, food chain, fewer competing fishermen, an internal clock in the bass, and so on pop up. All agree that it is a good time to fish. Pick your theory.

 

BTW my favorite is something the Lindners came up with-the fall frog migration. They said that as the weather cools frogs migrate out of the woods, marshes, and wetlands to open water where they will bury themselves in the mud to hibernate for the winter. To hear Al describe it bass line up at the edge of the water like dolphins do when they see a trainer with a bucket of fish. Is this far fetched? Long ago I caught a 24" Largemouth Bass on a Plummer Frog on October 12. One of my biggest :blink:

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My Biology degree tells me that the healthiest fish grew and got bigger over the summer. They beat the odds of mortality. Also, with the decreasing amount of light the smallies begin to behave differently. Instead of being spread out into various niches along a river they begin to group up and school, seeking out various structure and food. There may be fewer baitfish and food supplies but that's negligible...I don't think the smallies have trouble finding food...they know where it is and how to get it.

 

As it gets colder, the water also clears, the fish can see their food from a much farther distance. I think the larger baits are only effective because the fish are bigger and they can see the larger lure more clear and determine your lure as a food source rather than a predator. The smallies also are more efficient, they will eat a larger meal versus chasing down several smaller meals.

 

In my opinion, for the reasons above, I don't think a binge occurs.

 

I think the fish are slightly more vulnerable.

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Efficient?

 

"The smallies also are more efficient, they will eat a larger meal versus chasing down several smaller meals."

 

Here we come close to my issue. That would be giving fish human attributes, like learning to be more efficient. Do they develop an internal ROI calculation. :lol:

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Fallacy.

 

You catch bigger smallmouth bass on average during anyof the colder months.

 

In summer, big bass like to hide out during the day and often feed at night. Smaller fish are actively eating so numbers go way up. Summer feed bag.

 

Fish metabolism slows in Fall and they take longer to digest meals as well. Appearing fatter.

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Efficient?

 

"The smallies also are more efficient, they will eat a larger meal versus chasing down several smaller meals."

 

Here we come close to my issue. That would be giving fish human attributes, like learning to be more efficient. Do they develop an internal ROI calculation. :lol:

Yep it's called instinct.

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Your answer to the poll can be skewed by what you consider Fall to be. The traditional months or when Fall like symptoms happen. Most of September is Summer pattern here.

 

I'd break the fishing season into: January-mid March winter pattern. Mid March to early May- pre spawn. May-June spawn. July-September Summer pattern October-Early December- Fall December- Mid March Winter.

 

Keeping a log can give the answers as mentioned upthread. I'll take a look at mine and see if actual fact is the same as recollection.

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Your answer to the poll can be skewed by what you consider Fall to be. The traditional months or when Fall like symptoms happen. Most of September is Summer pattern here.

 

I'd break the fishing season into: January-mid March winter pattern. Mid March to early May- pre spawn. May-June spawn. July-September Summer pattern October-Early December- Fall December- Mid March Winter.

 

Keeping a log can give the answers as mentioned upthread. I'll take a look at mine and see if actual fact is the same as recollection.

 

Good insight. As you point out, Fall is a fuzzy notion. For example, metereoligical Fal began September 1; astrological Fall begins September 22. by your calendar it starts October 1. I admit my notions are fuzzy. Therefore, I can't wait to hear what your log tells us.

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yes, fall starts september 22 (equinox wise), however i think mother nature may have different ideas on when it starts.. as this year, temps are unseasonably cool and they will most likely stay that way the way it looks. i like to watch nature this time of year. it can tell you a lot about the upcoming seasons. squirrels around our place are gathering like crazy..as far as setting september as a summer pattern? at least this year, i'm not to sure about that, temps at night have been in the 40's/low 50's. i don't know but maybe a fall pattern might be closer than what we think?

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Still a small sample size, of course. But look. In May, it is the hardest month to catch a 18-20" SMB. I wonder why? :)

 

Fewest hours for a 18"-20"+ Smallmouth would appear to be December-April.

 

June- October big fish get dilluted by all the small ones.

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No kidding!

 

I'm no mathmagagician, but if reading this right, 235 hours for the month of July! Thats an average of 7 1/2 hours a day!31% of the all the hours in the month of July. August not far behind.

I don't think I've fished that many hours in the last 5 years!

 

Both of you guys are way out of my league.

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