coastalfreak

Debate Time: Is Matching the Hatch Necessary?

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I was going to mention water clarity also.  The West Coast has red tide and even just the white caps close to shore from the rough surf changes the water clarity.  I remember recently seeing how the water clarity was poor so I decided to use bright chartreuse colors getting a lot of hits on it.  Even white worked a little better too.  This happened with freshwater recently.

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7 hours ago, ThrowinPlugs said:

I've seen those before, who makes them? They're a great mimic.

"Cape Cod Sand Eel 7 1/2" (mouse tail)"   When it comes to lures I would say its 80 percent he fisherman's skill and 20 percent the lure, what say you??

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I'd say 99% fishermans skill 1% lure.If the fish are feeding and you can get your offering in front of them you will catch,if they aren't feeding then it doesn't matter what you throw.Striped bass are a garbage fish they will feed on anything and everything that is alive in the ocean.i can't tell you how many times that fish where feeding on a certain type of bait and then after keeping one that its stomack was fullof something else.

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I go back and forth like many others. Its a yes and no for me. There are MANY times when matching the hatch whether it is sand eels, peanuts, silversides or macks, sometimes I find the only way to hook up is to have a pretty realistic presentation in both the way it looks and the way it is presented. The most spot on finish on the plug is meaningless if it is being fished in a way that is in no way representative of how the actual baitfish behaves. (I'm a big proponent of fishing only wadd needle fish plugs around squid, if you ever see them swim in the water they pretty much glide in a perfectly straight line hardly straying from their trajectory. Steady roll with hardly any rod tip movement. I've never understood pencil popper or metal lip squid imitation plugs).

 

HOWEVER... there are times getting a reaction strike can be the a very effective way to get a fish to hit especially when they are being finicky. If you think about throwing eels, arguably one of the most effective way to catch large bass from the surf, eels aren't really an exclusive part of a stripers diet and stripers aren't actively scouring the bottom or the water column looking for eels. But when a striper sees an eel slither on by them they often hit it pretty good without hesitation. I've had the same luck with rigged eels too. I also feel the same way about spook style plugs. Albeit, spook plugs work great when there are larger bait fish around, there have been many times where I know there is nothing but small rain bait around like silversides or anchovies and a large, lazy zig zagging target on the surface is able to raise large fish to the surface. Something about the movement of the plug is so enticing or irritates the **** out of them so much that they will rise up out of 20'+ of water and HAMMER a large doc on the surface, even though they might not have been actively feeding. 

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It's hard to add to what several others have said.

From my perspective I start with this: Are fish feeding selectively or opportunistically? Each one then leads to a series of questions. If selective, what, when, where and how. If opportunistically, are they actively feeding or not? Then, how might we entice them to bite, e.g. offering looks and smells like food and too good to pass up, or triggers reaction strike.

I also think it can differ slightly w/ the species. 

This, and what others have said.

Respectfully,

JD

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Posted (edited) · Report post

A lot of artificial baits evoke a reaction strike not an attraction strike. If the fish are keyed in on finfish I throw a finfish profile. If they're on shrimp I throw a shrimp profile. That's as much as I match. As far as color goes, it depends on time of day, time of year, location, water clarity etc.

 

If you reeaally want to match the hatch perfectly use whatever live bait they're feeding on lol

Edited by Badtothebugs

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i fished last nite, adult bunker, just about every where, i threw, larger plugs in my bag, different depths of the water column, nothing... it wasn't until, i put small and smaller lures on , that then i got several good hits, and several decent fish, my point, is must be prepare, and carry in your bag, the unexpected, think outside the box, it could be the difference, in catching....later into the nite found the fish, were on smaller bait....

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3 hours ago, DEM Parking Lot said:

I have still yet find a baitfish that looks like wonder bread pattern...  Or shattered green pattern...

i honestly belief, that fish see certain colors better, than natural bait colors....i agree..

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Sometimes match the hatch makes all the difference in the word. One fall night a few seasons ago I spent several hours throwing eels into one of my favorite boulder fields. All the conditions were perfect, new moon September night, good current movement, etc and for all the casting I had only managed a few taps on my eels. 

Now I started to see in the wash around the boulders small silvery baitfish which I later identified as mullet, an oddity where I fish. The best match the hatch option I had with me was a small mag darter. On the first cast it got slammed by a decent fish and the bite continued until sunrise. 

At one point I switched back to throwing eels and then bigger wood hoping to connect with a truly large fish but didn't get so much as a touch on either. After switching back to the mag darter I continued to get hit on every cast......

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7 hours ago, lureman said:

i honestly belief, that fish see certain colors better, than natural bait colors....i agree..

Agreed, sometimes it's all about sticking out rather than blending in. Like a dark plug creating a silhouette the fish can key in on or a chartreuse plug sticking out in dirty water.

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After reading through all the other replies, I can say all the above. 

 

I believe that "matching" has it's place, but what exactly that may be, is not always something that we can always determine with a high degree of accuracy. So, we make guesses based on what we see, what the fish might be eating, and past experiences. 

 

We base a lot on our sight, which may not be what the fish actually see. As an example, does a wonder bread colored plug match anything? To us, no, but doesn't mean it doesn't to the fish. We can't really know. 

 

I very much agree with what Cary said about realistic or impressionistic approaches. Both with appearance and motion. As someone who makes many of the flies or lures that I use, I tend to go with impressionistic, or  generic might be a better term to use on the visual side, then attempt to make them move as I think they should. That may be matching or it may not, and again only the fish know. I'm sure I take the same approach with lures that I have bought. 

 

I also agree with what jjdbike mentioned about the activity level of the fish and whether they're being more selective or opportunistic. However, I have never seen where only one aspect, such as color, was critical when attempting to imitate something they might be eating. Usually, and as was mentioned, if it's close enough in size, shape and general profile, and sometimes color, plus, I can get it where they see it, I can often get a hit on it. That applies to any type of lure or for flies.

 

 We all make presumptions when we choose a lure or fly to present, and only when the fish take them can we have any degree of assurance that we made a correct choice both with the lure or fly and how we presented it. That's the best we can do IMO. 

 

Oh, and when we don't catch, do we presume it was the wrong lure/fly? Possibly, but then we have to be sure we got it where these fish might have seen it and that's not always possible either. It doesn't matter if it matched anything or not if none of the fish saw it. 

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Definitely depends on the situation: bait  availability and numbers, current speed, fish’s aggression levels...

sometimes ya gotta throw something that stands out from a billion naturals, just to get it noticed.

    Start by matching. If that doesn’t work, try different presentations, then different colors, then different sizes.

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