Details of schooling fish
As we progress into August and fall fishing, the one thing you will notice is the chasing and feeding of the bass all over the schools of bait fish. It’s always a fun time of year for those who wish to catch numbers of fish; one key to it is knowledge. What to fish with, where they are located and how to approach them is necessary if you want to enjoy the “Zen.”
Although, schooling is not always about small fish but understanding where the bigger fish position themselves, how they follow the bait and where they locate is also a key to remember especially if you are in a tournament.
First, schooling fish are generally found in the sunny part of the morning or late afternoon which is the best time of day, so if you are heading out to find them you must fish in the heat and sun this time of year!
The next thing is to remember that the bass follow the bait fish constantly, and when you see big bait balls on your electronics you can bet the bass are there somewhere.
If you’re a tournament angler, you can bet that the bigger bass are underneath the small fish chasing on top. Bigger bass are lazy and will sit under the chasing above and pick off the wounded bait as it drops to the bottom. So, a key is to fish a bait that will drop below the chasing like a swim bait or jig; keep it on the bottom, give it some erratic movement, and you will find the bigger bass.
Fishing the schoolers is fun, but the bait is key to catching them. Some baits I like are rattle baits over the top three-eighths or half oz. are best. Double fluke set-ups, twitching and making erratic movement is always an excellent choice.
If your favorite bait is a jerk bait, you’re in luck as it is one of the best baits on schoolers. Unweighted worms like whacky rigged Senko’s can be deadly as they slowly drop around and through the chasing really loads the boat. It is sometimes easy to put 50 to 100 bass in the boat if you can get them fired up. Be quiet, persistent, and you will load the boat.
-Captain Mike Gerry