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Publication: Bass Matters
How Water Affects Bass Behavior

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><> ><>       BASS MATTERS - January 3, 2007        ><> ><> 


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Hello Anglers,

The most overlooked equipment on a bass boat is the easiest to 
operate and is, literally, the most important instrument. This 
tiny meter can tell you where bass should be, and how deep 
they'll be holding; when bass should be most likely to feed 
and the most active. It can even recommend the types of lures 
you should tie on and how they should be fished.
Check out the article below!

P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the new 
Bass Matters forum. Check it out here...
Bass Matters Forum

Enjoy a week of fishing!
email Brock

How Water Temperature Affects Bass Behavior

Knowing the water temperature and tracking it's changes is the 
most important information. And while water temperature, pH 
levels and oxygen content are all interrelated, temperature 
can be most easily determined and used. More research has been 
conducted on water temperature and bass behavior than any 
other in the fish's lifestyle. When the temperature goes up or 
down, anglers can reliably predict what bass will do. It's a 
variable that can be reacted to in a set way.

Why Water Temperature? Bass, like all fish, are cold-blooded. 
They depend upon their environment to provide them with 
adequate warmth so they can live comfortably. As water temper-
ature rises and falls, bass change their lifestyle to match 
conditions. In colder water, for example, their metabolism 
slows and they become less active. When the mercury rises, so 
does their metabolism; they become more active and aggressive. 
Water temperature is also closely related to water oxygen 
content, another key in bass behavior. Without adequate oxygen 
in its bloodstream, a bass will slow its activity level. With 
increased oxygen, it becomes spunky and active again. For the 
average bass anglers, however, measuring water temperature is 
much easier than oxygen levels. Knowing the prevailing water 
temperature will tell an angler a lot about the lake's oxygen 
content without his worrying about measuring it.

Using Water Temperature: When trying to locate fish, many 
anglers use water temperature as a litmus test for bass 
behavior on a seasonal basis. However, it can also be used on 
a day-to-day, and even hour-to-hour, measure during some 
seasons. Generally, when the water temperature rises into the 
mid to upper 50s Fahrenheit, sluggish bass begin moving out of 
deep water into more shallow depths in preparation for the 
spawn. They use both the water temperature and the photoperiod 
the amount of daylight on a given day as their key indicators 
that it's time for spawning. 

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Most biologists agree that a water temperature between the low 
60s and 72 degrees is when bass remain in the shallow-water 
flats to begin spawning. As the spawning cycle ends and water 
temperature levels stabilize somewhat during late spring and 
early summer, most bass move off the flats and into relatively 
deeper water, where they spend the hottest days. A few will 
always live in the shallow flats areas, but most move deep. 

As summer ends and fall arrives, water temperatures cool down 
a bit and many bass again move into shallow-water structure 
areas before heading to the deep water they call home in 
winter. Knowing the water temperature will help you locate 
bass at any given time. It can also help you find the most 
aggressive fish-the ones easier to catch. 

In spring, for example, as the water warms, look for likely 
prespawn areas near protected northern coves and creek mouths. 
Water warms in these areas earlier than all areas on the lake. 
It's because of the way they catch the sun's rays, and because 
creek water flowing into a lake in spring is warmer than the 
lake itself. In these areas, the bass's food-chain creatures 
will also be the most active. By following this pattern around 
the lake as the prespawn period develops, you'll be fishing a 
lake's more aggressive bass. The key, then, in early season is 
to follow, and fish, the warmest areas of the lake. During the 
post-spawn period, however, look for those areas in which the 
water temperature warms up later than it did in other areas. In 
these areas, you'll still find active, aggressive bass. Other 
areas that had good action early in spring are in a sluggish 
summer mode. 

In summer, using a temperature gauge to probe the depths of 
the lake in 1-foot increments is the key to good fishing. Now 
you search for the thermocline, where water temperature at 
different levels breaks sharply. Bass tend to school tightly 
in the thermocline because it provides them with more oxygen. 
Find its depth, then look for structure like rock piles, brush 
piles, trees, creek channel edges, ledges and so on, at the 
thermocline's depth, and you're in business. In winter, when 
bass go deep and are sluggish, again the water temperature 
gauge is your key to success. Now you're searching for deep-
water areas in which the water is a few degrees warmer than 
other areas. Underwater springs, which often pump warm water 
into the cold depths of a reservoir, have huge schools of bass 
living around them in winter.


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Bass rarely eat when the water temperature is below 45 
degrees. Their feeding frequency increases between 47 and 70 
degrees, but shuts off again at around 90 degrees. Dr. Hill's 
magic temperature is 80 degrees. His studies show this is when 
the fish are most aggressive and active, and also when they 
grow the quickest. 

A bass's metabolic rate - controlled by the water temperature 
is the key. When the water's cold, the fish's metabolic rate 
is slowed. Therefore, it doesn't digest foods as quickly as 
when temperatures are warmer. When a bass eats, but doesn't 
digest its food, that means it won't be hungry again for days. 
And since we catch most of our bass simply because they're 
hungry, this affects our catch rates. Also, when metabolic rates 
are slower, the bass want something that's easy to catch. That's 
why slow-moving, bottom-crawling baits and lures work best at 
this time of year. 

Generally, as water temperatures increase in spring during the 
pre-spawn period form 45 degrees through 55 degrees, the bass 
will still be sluggish. They should be fished with slow-moving 
baits like jigs, spoons, worms and the like. When the water 
temperature increases from 60 degrees to 72 degrees, the fish 
enter the spawn mode. Then baits with a medium retrieve speed; 
top waters, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, as wells as 
jigs, worms, and salamanders will produce best. During the 
post-spawn period, with water temperatures ranging from 72 
through 90 degrees, it makes sense to fish fast-moving, 
reaction-type baits. Buzzbaits, top-water plugs, spinnerbaits, 
jerkbaits, jigging spoons and crankbaits make great additions 
to the plastic worm/jighead arsenal. 


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                  FISHING JOKES CORNER

There was a Kentucky redneck and an Ohio buckeye, fishing on 
their respective sides of the Ohio river. Just as soon as the 
redneck put his line in the water, he slung a fish onto the 
bank, and the buckeye was catching nothing, so he yelled 
across to the redneck, ''Buddy, I'd sure like to be on your 
side of the river!'' 

"Aight, tell ya whut, I'll shine my flashlight 'cross this 
river, and you can walk across this little beam of light!" the 
redneck yelled back. 

The buckeye replied, "Hain't no way, buddy. I know you think 
I'm a fool! When I get halfway 'cross, you'll turn your flash-
light off!" 

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Questions? Comments? email: 
Email brock

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