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"Read the Clues"

Author: Captain Mike Gerry 

We are approaching a time of year where there are plenty of clues that tell you how to react while fishing especially in cold water. The winter can be tough, but if you become observant and understand what is going on you can put a big sack of fish together. The clue that I believe is paramount to all is your first bite; this tells you many things and how to approach going forward for the rest of the day.

The examination I like to do is to understand your first bite, where the fish is hooked; was the bite a competitive bite or was it a reaction bite. All this leads you to some really important decisions going forward. If the fish is just barely hooked it leads me to believe that the fish was lethargic, that I may have been fishing it too fast. Maybe I have to big of bait, or it was the wrong color. You see if the fish just barely ate it, my take is the bass is looking for something else, a different presentation for example, or a slower retrieve, maybe constant retrieve or jerking the bait would have made the fish eat it better.

I also consider that the fish was not being competitive, meaning that the bite that just barely hooked the fish can tell you that they are not grouped up as competitive fish generally have the bait deep into its mouth. This clue can many times lead you to moving because when you get a deep competitive bite you know that there are many more fish where this one came from.

A barely hooked fish many times forces me to go to a darker color, make sure that the bait is truly matching the water or is darker than the water, if not change it. When bass are not eating the bait deep into its mouth, color change can many times fix that. Lastly add a trailer hook, even on a swim bait if the bass seem to be lightly hooked I add a trailer hook to secure the fish better and catch those slower bites. 

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