FishyAl

Targeting 40+lb fish CCC

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I'm no canal expert, being out of state and all, but I would like to add my 2cents on big fish hunting. Here are a few common themes from when I have had the luck of stumbling across BIG fish bites. 

 

-I am working hard for the fish and its a consistent but spread apart bite

-The fish will get larger and larger

-Fishing near deep water

-Fishing slower than normal (boredom or ZONED IN)

-Fishing away from the crowds (albeit sometimes this is only 25 yards from a hotspot)

-The silence 

 

Big fish habits wont change too much but there are always exceptions. If you are experiencing these themes on any given night I highly suggest you zone in, have a plan, and make sure your gear is ready. I dropped a 50+ this spring because I was excited and tried to horse the fish. I lost focus after catching a 40+ just 5 casts before.

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10 mins ago, DragonsLax48 said:

I'm no canal expert, being out of state and all, but I would like to add my 2cents on big fish hunting. Here are a few common themes from when I have had the luck of stumbling across BIG fish bites. 

 

-I am working hard for the fish and its a consistent but spread apart bite

-The fish will get larger and larger

-Fishing near deep water

-Fishing slower than normal (boredom or ZONED IN)

-Fishing away from the crowds (albeit sometimes this is only 25 yards from a hotspot)

-The silence 

 

Big fish habits wont change too much but there are always exceptions. If you are experiencing these themes on any given night I highly suggest you zone in, have a plan, and make sure your gear is ready. I dropped a 50+ this spring because I was excited and tried to horse the fish. I lost focus after catching a 40+ just 5 casts before.

"-I am working hard for the fish and its a consistent but spread apart bite"

Consistent but spread apart as in during the same tide i.e. every 30 minutes you are getting hits? so it's spread out but consistent throughout the tide? I have seen where the small fish show up first and then they get progressively larger.. then it shuts off.

It's funny how just slowing a retrieve down to a crawl could draw the interest of some lurking fish. I've noticed sometimes just barely dragging it on the bottom is the ticket.

Sorry about losing the big one.... I would've been excited as well from the previous fish and lost focus. Sounds like a great outing to have at least 2 opportunities at fish 40+ in one swing.

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Just now, FishyAl said:

"-I am working hard for the fish and its a consistent but spread apart bite"

Consistent but spread apart as in during the same tide i.e. every 30 minutes you are getting hits? so it's spread out but consistent throughout the tide? I have seen where the small fish show up first and then they get progressively larger.. then it shuts off.

It's funny how just slowing a retrieve down to a crawl could draw the interest of some lurking fish. I've noticed sometimes just barely dragging it on the bottom is the ticket.

Sorry about losing the big one.... I would've been excited as well from the previous fish and lost focus. Sounds like a great outing to have at least 2 opportunities at fish 40+ in one swing.

On that particular night it was a very late tide. I had told myself 5 more casts and I'll pack it up and make the hour and half ride back home. On my fifth cast I caught a 20# fish. So again, i said to myself, 5 more casts and Im headed home. On my fifth cast I caught a 25-30# fish. 5 casts later I caught a 30#, 5 casts later a 35#, 4 casts later a 40#, 6 casts later I hooked into a freight train that headed to the bottom of channel I was fishing. I leaned a bit too hard and my leverage along with the fishes downward angle put me in a bad predicament and the hooks pulled.

 

Each of my casts were as slow as I could reel because I was initially falling asleep. The guys 25 yard away were catching 15# fish. So these big fish were not interested in fighting for their food with schoolies. 

 

This is all my interpretation of the events that took place but I have been invovled in very similar bites in the past. One such night I had the opposite happen where we took a potential 60 and 50+ on the first few casts and the fish got progressively smaller to 30# as the tide panned out, but the rest of the "themes" held true in that scenario as well. 

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8 hours ago, Sandbar1 said:

I use this, It will give you a rough estimate that's good enough.

There are length & girth weight estimate charts out there as well. There can be a big weight swing between a skinny spring fish and a fat, end of summer fish.

Edited by zak-striper

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Well if you ask most guys now a days, catching a 50 in the ditch is like catching sunnies in a little pond. Of course this is not the case, it is hard and only getting harder. Cow sized bass are becoming increasingly rare and having a good strategy to deal with crowds and people are just as important as your strategy for finding/landing large fish.

 

But it sounds like you have a big fish mentality and IMO I think that goes a long way. That doesn't mean constantly throwing foot long plugs, I've seen 40 lb + caught on 4 " sand eels and bucktails with no trailers. But constantly thinking of the "one" will help you eliminate distractions and stay focused. 

 

I kind of don't want to post some of this but WTF. Some things I think increase your chances of hooking a cow: 1) fish true dark and dawn as much as possible. Big fish are weary and often lazy but they do have short windows of vulnerability where they will chase and feed a bit more recklessly. This window is often predawn- sunrise.

2) Fish slack. The slow moving water of a dying tide is my favorite time for big fish. Most anglers put down the rods when the tide and bite slows down but big fish do feed in slack or very slow moving water. This makes it more difficult to locate the fish and present your plug/jig properly but it's worth the effort. When the water is dead or slow, fish have a chance to get a good look or sniff of what their eating, so it can be frustrating but fishing this time can be worth the effort despite the lack of action. Also the water at slack is quieter, so a crowd throwing a barrage of stick shads slapping down may discourage wary bass. The times I have seen big fish pop up at slack seems to be where no one has been casting. I like to throw big spooks at this time but chunking is a time tested slack strategy. And plus without current, your odds of landing a giant once hooked go up big time.

3) Maintain that big fish mentality during blitzes. Even if your into 20+ lbers keep looking for that bigger fish. Get those "smaller" fish in and out as efficiently as possible. And sometimes you can tell a size difference in pods of breaking fish. Cast accordingly.

4) Do not get discouraged by losing big fish. Everyone I know who catches large, loses plenty of monsters too. These fish are big, powerful and have likely been hooked a couple times before and know how to get that annoying thing out of their face. Learn from each lost fish. I often see anglers throw a tantrum when a big fish is lost. Not only do you look like a dip**** when you do this but your wasting precious time when big fish are feeding. I always like to have 2 rods rigged up ready to go. When I have lost what I thought was a big fish, I bottle up my anger, grab a rigged rod and immediately start casting out the disappointment and fury.

 

I hope I didn't come off as too arrogant but these are some things I do as part of my big fish mentality. Keep doing what your doing, put in your time, learn from each outing and with some luck you'll get into the fish your looking for.

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21 mins ago, zak-striper said:

There are length & girth charts weight estimates out there as well. There can be a big weight swing between a skinny spring fish and a fat, end of summer fish.

Agreed the chart I posted gives a max, min and average for the lenght so I usually make my best judgment but taping for length and girth is definitely best, especially on a real trophy.

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1 hour ago, zak-striper said:

There are length & girth charts weight estimates out there as well. There can be a big weight swing between a skinny spring fish and a fat, end of summer fish.

 

My biggest fish to date was 52" long but only weighted 43lbs.   Caught in October.

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2 hours ago, pogie_boy said:

 

My biggest fish to date was 52" long but only weighted 43lbs.   Caught in October.

Nice fish, I got 1 that was 56’’ and weighed 52 lbs off the target ship in the middle of CCB in September on a 130

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ONe thing for sure when you target large fish, make sure that the gear you are using has the backbone and line stretgh to handle it in the canal . A forty in the canal is like a fifty on the beach when it comes to fighting a fish in moving current and the fish decides to take you for a ride. Big bait or lures generally brings big fish   Whole mackerel on the bottom or one half of a pogie with its head. A rod with backbone with a reel loaded to the top of the spool . patience learn the spot you plan on fishing and know when to let the fish run and when to stop it . Big fish are not sitting in the middle of the canal most of the time , once they settle in for the summer, holes close to shore where the water is turning back on its self and a nice fat chunk on the bottom just waiting for the big girl to make a visit Peace and Prayers

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Depends on a lot of factors but yes I’m pulling them from certain points or spots in an area I fish. Not going to get to specific but try different things in the area that’s been productive for you.

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