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The Bass Professor Answers Your Questions

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Here is a small sample of the hundreds of questions Doug is asked each week. If you have a question for Doug, ask it here.

Hi Doug, Do fish respond to eletric current and what amp if true.

Thanks in advance for your time,
Nelson 

Nelson...Fish can detect very weak electric fields from quite far away.  Sharks can actually find flounder buried in the sand by homing in on their electro-cardiac impulse, in other words, they can feel the nerves firing in the heartbeat.
Doug Hannon

Hello Professor.

Latteral Lines and how Bass use them.
I just watched a clip on YouTube regarding how Bass or fish in general, use their latteral line. I'm now a little confused, as I thought what I knew before made perfect and total sense. I could have gotten the info in that video wrong. Here's what I thought the latteral line was used for, in my experience:
This year, 2007, I uncovered a technique for catching Bass on moonless nights, or while waiting for the moon to rise. I decided to play with a dark red crankbait in the early evening without a hit, switching back and forth with a Senko and Drop Shot. I really wanted to nail one on that crank, so I didn't give up on it. Just at dark, I fished over the areas I threw that crank around, and started nailing great quality fish. Now, I know that Bass will come up shallow at low light just before dark at up to 6 inches off the bank, and I know during moonlit nights, Bass use the silhouettes to see their' prey. I guess my question is, if Bass are as blind at night as we humans are, why would they strike at something they couldn't see? If they can't see the bait, what sense do they utilize to attack? I played with the situation that night, and did my own studies on night trips since, and I chalked it up to the latteral line theory. That crankbait I used put out a very strong vibration that I was sure the Bass used to hone in on the bait, nothing else. When I varied speeds, they couldn't catch it. When I paused it in mid-retrieve, they could not hone in on it. Anyway, I'm really interested in developing this technique, as no one I know ever heard of or has tried fishing on moonless nights. I'm hoping you can confirm or correct my thoughts on the latteral line. I really thought that was the reason they were able to find my crank.
Thanks!
Justin Hensley

Justin...Remember, especially in fishing, you can misunderstand something and still make a working scenario, because there are many ways a fish can respond to your presentation that may be difficult to see or understand.  That is why there is so much disagreement in fish-lore.    First of all, thank you for watching us on YouTube, and thanks for listening.  Here are a few of your misconceptions.  First, people are not blind at night, they see, it is just dim.  The same is true with bass, although they undoubtedly see better at night than do we, if only for the fact that the colder the retina the more sensitive it is to light, and the water is seldom 98.6F.  Bass are also skilled at positioning themselves to taking best advantage of low light vision, mostly by feeding up and backlighting objects.  Color is not important at night, but contrast is.  Those black worms with white spots on them are great, for obvious reasons.  Bass also key in on the way prey moves, and movement, itself, is quite visible.  This is why a steady, predictable retrieve is easier for them to home in on.  This is also why your stop-and-go retrieve drew less bites.  That is not to say that I have not caught bass at night deadsticking a plastic worm on the bottom, because I have.  I have also caught a lot on a white 1/4 ounce bucktail jig using a soft, pumping, swimming retrieve.   Here is a little bit of what I believe I have come to know about the lateral line:   I believe the lateral line in most fish, and bass in particular, gets the emphasis it does because it is a conspicuous organ and unique to fish.  Anglers have a keen interest in appealing to their quarry on every level possible and cannot ignore the lateral line.  People have also been assaulted by marketing claims made by lure companies, claiming, with no scientific basis, that their product has some extraordinary appeal to the lateral line sense of the bass.  This despite the fact that we know for a fact that we know bass have highly developed eyes oriented to the front for feeding. As a result they tend to be extremely stimulated by visual cues like patterns of movement, shape, speed and color. The lateral line on the other hand is on the side of the fish. It runs along the full length of the fish because maximum length is critical to its function.  The only benefit to being long would be to resolve impulses that vary along its length.  This advantage of length would be enhanced greatly as the source of vibration got progressively closer to the fish and the lateral line.  If the source of stimulation were extremely close, the lateral line would span almost 180 degrees of the circle of energy being radiated.  If the vibration occurred a mere 10 feet away, the foot long lateral line of an eight pound bass would have only a 6 degree sliver of that arc to work with.  This leads me to believe that the major use of the lateral line is to sense things very close to the fish, the closer the betterYclose enough and you get your ideal 180 degrees no matter how small the fish.  I believe it would be great for sensing current direction, the most efficient flow pattern of water over the body during high speed swimming, and I believe it is the lateral line that, by feeling the water flow off of the bodies of adjacent fish, allows large schools of fish to swim in surreal unison. When they are packed in huge schools of tiny fry shortly after hatching, even bass exhibit this amazing skill that so mesmerizes and thwarts predators.   So are patterns of vibration important to consider in your choice of lures?  I would have to say yes, but most in terms of how they affect the visual signature of motion rather than the subsonic profiles that they emit. And remember, the most productive lure of all time is the plastic worm, which is often fished in a way that produces no vibration at all.   Justin, when I was coming up, I hated to get the feeling that I really understood some aspect of fish, like the lateral line, because it closed my mind to observing and thinking, and basically put me at a dead end. That is not a good feeling for an open-minded thinker.  So keep your mind open as well and don't close any doors before the room is full.  You might just be locking the best there is to come on the outside.
Doug Hannon

What are you the most pleased or proud of in your many contributions?
Robert Fulton, Jr., PhD
Member of Florida Outdoor Writers
Southeast Outdoor Writers Association
Editor-in-Chief
Palmland Publishing

Robert...The first article I ever wrote was for Bassmaster Magazine and the theme was to release all big fish. It took them two years and numerous nagging phone calls to publish it, even though they paid for it within a month, because they said their resident biologist, Richard Coleman, took the position that it was worthless to release bass, because they had virtually no chance of survival. They later had to initiate Catch and Release tournaments.
I later went on to help design and develop the first Catch and Release formula for Jungle Laboratories and led the fight with Dewey Kendrick, BASS tournament director, to use chemical and ice treatments in tournaments over the objections of Hal Schramm and the American Fisheries Society. I believe this combined effort has saved millions of valuable fish and prevented heavy regulation or even banning of large, commercial bass fishing tournaments. I am proud of this.

I also invented and patented the weedless trolling motor prop in 1980, which gave fishermen the chance to fish 100% of the fishing water back where they live rather than the 10% or less around the edge. I think this invention, which was on every trolling motor within two years and ever since, has given fishermen easy access to millions of acres of water that was previously inaccessible, yet I have never seen it mentioned in the numerous annual published anthologies of landmarks in fishing. I am proud of that.

Today I have pending the release of a new spinning reel spool that completely and 100% eliminates all tangles and birdnest as well as casts 30% farther. This should allow entry level fishermen to fish with real tackle instead of looking forward to graduating from spincast (which has its place even for advance fishermen). This should change the world for countless millions who have suffered the vagaries of spinning tackle as a necessary evil, and I believe will be licensed to every reel sold in the the next few years. If I ever did anything to actually change the lives of fishermen all over the world and draw and hold many more into our favorite sport, this is it. As such, this is what I am most proud of.

Doug Hannon

Hi Professor Hannon. I would like to ask you a question about Gobal Warming and how it effects fish. Good or Bad? I greatly enjoyed your episode on crankbait tips. Also What is you advice on crankbaits retrieves?
Alex M
South Korea

Alex...
Global warming, if it existed, would be beneficial to bass, since they are a warm water specie and exist even on the equator. I do not think Global Warming is anything but a political football, even though we are going through a warm phase in climate in some parts of the country. Ask the people in Colorado if their opinion on Global Warming changed in the past month. Remember that we had tropical rainforests all the way up to the Oregon border less than 10,000 years ago, and no one was burning fossil fuel then. Of course there were no politicians around to notice.

As to crankbaits, crank them down to depth and then go to a slow, variable retrieve. Choose one that gets down into the cover or bottom you are fishing, and, if you need to, use a small rubber band to hold the belly treble hook against the body. If you think about it, you will have observed that the tail treble hook almost never hangs up on cover. Doug Hannon

Doug, I've heard/read you discuss the number of bass per acre a lake can sustain. My example: 58 acre lake in South Hillsborough Cty., Florida. Not much cover or vegetation due to use of carp to control. Plenty of bluegills, shellcracker, & other panfish, a huge number of > minnows and a good population of tylapia. The herons, egrets, ospreys, cormorants, and kingfishers do well. Knee deep at sea wall to max of 8 ft. Very little fishing pressure. As the professor - what could we expect in the way of numbers of bass?
Thanks for providing this forum.

Jay S
Sun City Center, FL

Jay...
Usually the carp excrete so much fish s____ that the water changes from a vegetation based ecology to an algae base. If it is green, it will support many more fish that if it turns brown, especially if it has threadfin shad. Tilapia are good for big bass, so you are looking at 100 pounds of bass an acre under the most ideal of scenarios, and 50 pounds at the least. If the bass are fat from one pound all the way up to the lunkers, you are good. If any size group is leaner than the rest, you are missing a component in the baitfish chain that would feed that size fish and this will choke everything above that to some degree. If all the fish are lean, you have too many bass. Doug Hannon

What signs do I look for when picking a pond or lake to fish that makes it more productive than others? Also, will you be holding another seminar at the Worcester Centrum's fishing expo this February? 
John C
Somerset, MA

John...

I look for lakes with all the elements. I want the water to be relatively clear with plenty of and a good variety of vegetation. This is a stable environment, compared to lakes with a lot of algae, and gives fish plenty of time to grow big. It also provides dissolved oxygen to greater depths to support a wider variety of forage. I also think it is important for at least 50% of the lake to have a depth of 8 feet or less in the South and maybe a little deeper (15 feet or so) in the North due to ice formation and fall turnover. Also, the more incoming creeks and adjacent shoreline bogs or swamps, the better.

I will be in Worcester again this winter. I only do two public shows a year, so this is a rare chance to catch up with me in person. Hope to see you there! Check Eastern Fishing Expo's website for dates and times. The other show I do is in Suffern, NY. I love coming and seeing my friends up north in the winter, and coming back home to Florida isn't so bad either. Doug Hannon

Doug, I find that smallmouth bass in a river system tend to relate to deep structure regardless of the location of baitfish schools. Do you think that this observation is accurate, that smallmouth will maintain their ambush points and wait for the opportunity to feed on passing prey or do you think they will move position to follow the greater concentration of bait?

I agree with you, but it is important to understand that you are talking about a river system. The fish need to deal with the current and avoid the energy drain of fighting the water flow as much as possible.  You see this in extreme with trout and their dependence on a good lay or place to hunt from.  The moving water tends to bring food by the fish, so, in essence, it is the forage that is the moving dynamic, not the predator. In a static water situation, the smallmouth is definitely more mobile than the largemouth and will follow the largest concentrations of bait, and this becomes their primary positioning factor. This tendency in lakes is what give the smallmouth its reputation for mobility. Doug Hannon

Doug, what do you attribute to your success in catching so many record bass? Is it style and technique, the lures used, scouting the area, weather and water conditions? What would you say was the greatest single contributor to your success?

My success with big fish is definitely multi-faceted and a result of putting many things together. Like so many others, I picked up on these things one-at-time and gradually added to my methodology. The first thing I tried to do was learn everything I could about big fish, and it took quite a while before the knowledge became complete enough to effectively employ into stategies. A little knowledge can be limiting, if you allow it to be. I found that big fish follow simpler rules and were actually more predictable than the small fish, which were still learning how to be effective predators. I tried to find everything a bass needs for the whole season, from abundant food, to spawning areas, to deep winter quarters in the smallest possible area. I called these complete units "smart terretories". I simplified my lure selection and even used a lot of live bait. All in all, I tried to be a good observer and sensitive to everything going on around me. The most important thing has to be that you need to reverse your role. We see the names of lures like Hawg Hunter, Terminator, Bass Assassin, etc. This is the wrong idea, because you need to realize that, while your objective is as a hunter, you are doing so fooling the bass into thinking you are the prey. You must learn to take the submissive, not the aggressive role, and play the victim, not the bully role. This will win you big dividends when it comes to big bass. Doug Hannon

Doug, I would like to know your thoughts on the effect of pre-fishing on bass. How soon after you hook one is it likely to bite again? Does releasing a fish that has been caught right away have a negative effect on the other bass in that area, and for how long does that negative effect last?

I think prefishing and fishing pressure have a profound effect on fish.  The effect of fishing is so profound on pressured lakes where there are closed seasons that fishing success drops off  90% after the first day, and stays that way throughout the season.  I didn't see the post you have referenced, but I can tell you that, when we tagged 500 fish in a Guntersville Megabucks tournament and they were released in the area reserved for the last two day fish-off that 20% of the fish caught in those final two days were tagged. So, will they bite the next day after being caught? Definitely, under some circumstances. I think these fish were displaced and not relating to the whole scenario of where and when they were caught.  How soon would they bite, if released in the place where caught? Maybe not as soon.  Hook shyness is definitely real, but too complicated to explain here.  As to released fish turning the other fish in the area off, I would say that difinitely happens, if fish are in tight groups, and the effect can last from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. This is especially true if the fish are grouped.  The other side of it is that the immediate effect of catching a fish can excite the others in the school to biting in the short term.  When you catch a fish, try casting immediately half way to where you got the bite.  This will tell you if you are in a school and if the others followed the hooked fish to the boat. Doug Hannon

Doug, what is your current favorite rod and reel combo, hooks, line ect. for an all round, all purpose, do-it-all set up?

I prefer an 7 foot medium to medium heavy rod spec-ed for 10-17 pound line and 2/8 to 3/4 ounce lure weights. Match this with a good quality baitcaster and 12-14 pound flourocarbon line, and you can do just about anything.  Doug Hannon

Mr.Hannon, what is the single most important factor in an area (any area during any seasonal pattern) to look for in finding a larger than average fish?

It takes a combination of at least two things to hold big fish that will bite.  Remember that it does no good to find fish if they are not feeding. One is heavy cover, especially vegetation and hopefully with some overhead component, 8 feet of water or less, and the abundance of food - especially a soft-rayed baitfish, like shad or minnows, but bluegills will do in a pinch.  Also, look to the Northern portion of the area you are searching.  Doug Hannon

What's Doug's viewpoint on water temperature? Water temperatures that are relatively "Stable" ( e.g. Summer - Winter) or water temperatures that are "Rising" (Anytime of year)

I prefer stability, because good things happen on trends with consistency.  That is not to say that changing temperatures won't drive fish, and you might encounter a good group in the right mood in those situations, but stability means predictable behavior and activity cycles.  Once the fish get the predator/prey thing wired and know it won't change they become very dependent on that cycle, and tend to group and feed in larger numbers. Productivity is all about consistency and predictability, not random change and chaos.  Doug Hannon

I go up to minnesota to fish every year and at the lake I fish i never see any snakes... Certaintly there must be snakes but I never seen any..Would this be a good lake to fish the snake?
Logan J
Columbus, OH

Logan,
Snakes are indigenous to every state in the USA- they are found and exist in and around bodies of water. Furthewr predatory gamefish will eat them, just because you do not see them does not mean they do not exist, some siwm underwater as well.

Sure the fish will eat them, have you seen the multi species fish pics we have had sent in? see naturalmotionlures.com website for examples Muskie,Pike,Snook, Tarpon,redfish on and on my friend.

Be safe
Doug

Hi Professor Hannon. I would like to ask you a question about Gobal Warming and how it effects fish. Good or Bad? I greatly enjoyed your episode on crankbait tips. Also What is you advice on crankbaits retrieves?
Alex M
South Korea

Alex...
Global warming, if it existed, would be beneficial to bass, since they are a warm water specie and exist even on the equator. I do not think Global Warming is anything but a political football, even though we are going through a warm phase in climate in some parts of the country. Ask the people in Colorado if their opinion on Global Warming changed in the past month. Remember that we had tropical rainforests all the way up to the Oregon border less than 10,000 years ago, and no one was burning fossil fuel then. Of course there were no politicians around to notice.

As to crankbaits, crank them down to depth and then go to a slow, variable retrieve. Choose one that gets down into the cover or bottom you are fishing, and, if you need to, use a small rubber band to hold the belly treble hook against the body. If you think about it, you will have observed that the tail treble hook almost never hangs up on cover.
Doug Hannon


Doug, I've heard/read you discuss the number of bass per acre a lake can sustain. My example: 58 acre lake in South Hillsborough Cty., Florida. Not much cover or vegetation due to use of carp to control. Plenty of bluegills, shellcracker, & other panfish, a huge number of minnows and a good population of tylapia. The herons, egrets, ospreys, cormorants, and kingfishers do well. Knee deep at sea wall to max of 8 ft. Very little fishing pressure. As the professor - what could we expect in the way of numbers of bass?
Thanks for providing this forum.
Jay S
Sun City Center, FL

Jay...
Usually the carp excrete so much fish s____ that the water changes from a vegetation based ecology to an algae base. If it is green, it will support many more fish that if it turns brown, especially if it has threadfin shad. Tilapia are good for big bass, so you are looking at 100 pounds of bass an acre under the most ideal of scenarios, and 50 pounds at the least. If the bass are fat from one pound all the way up to the lunkers, you are good. If any size group is leaner than the rest, you are missing a component in the baitfish chain that would feed that size fish and this will choke everything above that to some degree. If all the fish are lean, you have too many bass.
Doug Hannon


What signs do I look for when picking a pond or lake to fish that makes it more productive than others? Also, will you be holding another seminar at the Worcester Centrum's fishing expo this February? 
John C
Somerset, MA

John...

I look for lakes with all the elements. I want the water to be relatively clear with plenty of and a good variety of vegetation. This is a stable environment, compared to lakes with a lot of algae, and gives fish plenty of time to grow big. It also provides dissolved oxygen to greater depths to support a wider variety of forage. I also think it is important for at least 50% of the lake to have a depth of 8 feet or less in the South and maybe a little deeper (15 feet or so) in the North due to ice formation and fall turnover. Also, the more incoming creeks and adjacent shoreline bogs or swamps, the better.

I will be in Worcester again this winter. I only do two public shows a year, so this is a rare chance to catch up with me in person. Hope to see you there! Check Eastern Fishing Expo's website for dates and times. The other show I do is in Suffern, NY. I love coming and seeing my friends up north in the winter, and coming back home to Florida isn't so bad either.
Doug Hannon


Keep that light off and use a red one for the things you need to see in the boat. Also, no running lights allowed and keep the depth finder off. When you shine the shoreline, you put every bass in the area off for at least 30 minutes. Good luck, Doug Hannon

The following are some basics for night fishing success:

It now seems kind of stupid to have actually let a bass take a boat away from me, but it happened to me several years ago. It was the only larceny I ever detected in a largemouth, but when one hauled away my small aluminum jonboat this favorite species of mine went too far---miles too far actually. I had caught the big fish after dark from Keystone Lake. I beached our little boat and we walked to the waterfront home of friends to invite them to come out and look at the lunker, which we had left on a stringer-tied to the boat. When we returned, the boat was nowhere to be seen. I located it after a flashlight search, an hour later and a mile away, still being pulled by the bass at a steady clip. After reclaiming the boat and our possessions, I turned the fish loose, without the boat. I learned something that night. Now I always make sure the boat is pulled up high enough so that even a 20-pounder couldn't drag it off. Long before that, however, I was learning many things about the night moves of bass--things which eventually led to my flat conclusion that the average bass angler is bound to catch more and bigger 'bass at night than he can in daylight. At the same time, I'm con­vinced that bass feed much more actively during the day than they do after dark. Contradictory? It certainly seems so. But my explanation is logical and simple. The darkness covers up an angler's presence and, most of all, his mistakes. Fish don't feed as regularly at night as they do in the day, but when they are feeding, it's far less of a problem to catch them. I feel that bass have long since become conditioned to the fact that man spells danger. My studies have shown that only one in 10 bass which sees a lure will strike it and that one makes a mistake.

Errors are more easily made at night. Few bass would ever take a lure if they stopped to investigate it. It just wouldn't be the same as the shiner or the frog that they nor- mally gulped down, and they could spot the difference. At night, this close inspection is more difficult for a fish, and he may strike without any investigation, even before the sound of the lure's splash fades. He just hears and sees something that may be food or foe and hits it blindly. It gives the night caster a big advantage over the fisherman in the sunshine. I believe that down through the years the bass has been picked on and pushed around so much by man that he has developed a natural caution and reacts to the very presence of fishermen. At night he may not have the same awareness that man is there. The fishiest-looking daytime honey holes may not hold bass simply because bass have learned that man frequently throws his lures there. It's different at night, and often those same places will pro- duce when darkness arrives. Fish can see well enough at night to attack any fishy silhouette between them and the sky, even when there is no moonlight. But I am convinced that "lunar" influences have a big impact on bass and also that they will strike more frequently on those nights when the moon comes up in the evening before the sun goes down. There are lots of theories about bass fishing at night. Some say they won't bite until after midnight, or only on full moons or new moons. I have studied all the possibilities and now ignore everything but the moon periods. I just begin fishing on those evenings when the moon comes up before the sun goes down and fish until the action starts, and that is almost always during a major or minor moon ~,, period. That's when they usually feed. Because bass at night strike at a silhouette, not a distinct color, I am certain that the darkest lures are the best. Fish eyes have rods and cones similar to those of man, and color perception is about the same, but in the fish there is some emphasis upon blues and purples that the cones pick up. Rods see only black and white. I believe that colors may have a great deal to do with whether a bass strikes a lure in the daytime, but they have almost no effect at night. Bass daytime vision, which is capable of excellent color percep- tion, dominated by the cones of the retina, is called "photopic" vi- sion. The night-adapted vision of the rods is called "scotopic" vi- sion. While these rods have the disadvantage of not being able to discriminate colors, elaborate studies indicate that the rods may be as much as 100,000 times more sensitive to low light levels than are the cones. Creatures that depend upon nocturnal existence, like the owl, do not even have cones. The very presence of cones in the retina of the bass makes hogwash of the theories that bass shun the light of day and feed mostly in deep shadows or at night. There are other advantages to night fishing. Bass can't detect the line tied to the hook. Regardless of how heavy the line you use at night, it is invisible and won't bother the lunkers. While most people consider the plastic worm only as a daytime bait, it is equally good at night. I like to swim the worm without any weight, well off the bottom so the bass can see it outlined against lighter sky. Fish seem to feed more in brief spurts at night. When bass are not feeding at night, you just aren't going to get any bites. You have to wait it out, and pessimism sometimes makes the fish seem even slower. But suddenly fish may begin to feed like crazy. I have seen them hit just about everything for an hour or more. You persevere right into a major or minor moon period and they become active. With their vision so limited at night, bass tend to rely much more heavily on the mechanism of "school feeding". As a result, feeding sprees are sporadic and not often very long sustained. However, they can be so intense that all the fish in the area seem to be feeding at once, and the lucky angler can often catch a limit in only a few minutes. I have tried shiners for comparison, but big, dark lures are bet- ter at night. A silver, mirror-like shiner blends into the cover too well to be a good bait in the dark. The shiner's best defense is his scales, which reflect the natural colors of his habitat, making him blend in and become nearly invisible. During / the day, a shiner held up by a cork near the surface, in bright light at the edge of the weeds, catches the sunlight, and the flashes give him away. This is why most shiner experts will tell you they catch their lunkers during the middle of the day when the light is best. At night, with no flashing sun, the shiner's silver sides blend into a charcoal gray sky, making him almost invisible to the bass below. A quarter-ounce, shad-patterned jig is a good lure at night. You should hop it and reel, at a frequency of about one turn of the reel handle every two seconds, keeping it off the bottom and trying to silhouette the jig right over where you think the fish may be suspended. I caught that 12½ -pound mutineer on a jig, and I have caught many weighing over 13 pounds with that lure.

Some of my biggest fish have been taken at night with lures. My favorite artificial hardware includes the jig, an eight-inch plastic worm and a big, noisy surface plug called a 'Musky Monk'. Many Florida lakes are gin-clear, and you have difficulty cat­ching big bass from them in the daytime, whether with live baits or lures. Man is just too obvious to the fish. They hide. But at night, these same lakes become real havens for good bass angling. They can have fine bass populations, and the big lunkers can see the lures well in the clear water. I am sure that night fishing for bass is better in summer than in winter because the eyes of bass adjust to darkness more quickly when they are warm, when their metabolism is faster. It takes the eyes of men only about 30 minutes to adjust from light to the best night vision because man is warm-blooded. It can take the cold­-blooded fish much longer. The first color to fade for bass and man in marginal light is red. This lack of sensitivity to red light is why the gauges in an airplane cockpit are illuminated with red lights. In situations where night vision is critical, red light causes the least night blind­ness. This suggests that other fishermen should do as I do and paint the lenses of their night-fishing flashlights with red nail polish. It really helps preserve your night vision and spooks the fish less too. My encapsulated advice to bass fishermen is as follows: While bass are more likely to feed in the daytime, they are easier to catch at night. You'll do better with a big, dark lure than a live bait. You should fish summer nights during "lunar" periods and when the moon and sun can be seen at the same time at or before sunset. Don't be too impatient. Sometimes you may have to wait well in­to the night before they feed. Fish up and off the bottom, so your lure will be silhouetted against the sky. And one more bit of advice: try fishing against light-colored boathouses and docks, or along sandy beaches. Bass tend to orient toward these pale-colored backgrounds in order to see the outline of their prey. If you make mistakes, and what fisherman doesn't, let the darkness cover them up for you. Chances are you'll bring in bass that made more mistakes than you did.

Doug Hannon


Hi Doug,
Fishing the St. John river in Central FL out of Lake Monroe and points due north. Fishing tips for river fishing this body of water. Are the fish going to be generally deep in the river channel or are they going to be along the rivers edge under over hanging trees. Lure choice for locating the bass?
Thanks
Mark

The St. John's river is a beautiful meandering waterway; the largest river in the world with water flow running south to north. As typical of most Florida waters, this river supports a large population of wild shiners (the preferred food of choice for the Predatory game, specifically LM Bass.) Shiner imitators like Yo- Zuri and Rapala models, plastic worms, and my Original Fishing Snake work extremely well here when slithered off the bank around tree roots, limbs and pad beds. I tend to fish as much water as possible, and once I catch a few fish, I tend to try to locate areas that are similar in depth, nearby structure, etc. and make a note seeking those further down the waterway. This concept should be applied in other types of water as well.
Doug Hannon


I just wanted to thank you Prof. Hannon for your video about big fish are active in mid-day. I took your advice and caught my biggest bass so far. After a long morning of fishing, I was about to give up. Then walking to a spot and casting to a shallow group of lily pads, hooked a 5 pounder...I looked at my watch and it was after 1:15 PM....I thought to myself, "Doug Hannon was right!!!!!"
Thanks again!
Jeremiah L
Brooklyn, NY


Doug,
In a couple of months I'm going fishing at Devil's River close to Del Rio. There are lot of nice smallies and was wondering if they would take your snakes? Thanks for the great product and keep up the good work.
Andrew

Andrew- we have actually received numerous "Smallie", pictures and comments re: the Snakes- Had a guide from W.Va. state he had caught a 8.5lb'r on the Red Viper, and was determined to get a 10. "2 days, nothing but stares. 3rd day, an 8.5lb'r." Remember, snakes are found in every state of the US except Alaska. They are forage for predatory gamefish. Whenever you or I walk up to a pond, river, lake's edge on foot, we as humans are constantly looking down at our feet. Why? Because we don't want to step on a snake and snakes have babies which often travel near the waters edge; where ultimately many of them become food for the bigger predatory gamefish of all species, not just largemouth Bass.
Doug Hannon\


I purchased some of your snakes in late 2005, but never really gave them an honest shake. Today, I went out on one of the local lakes specifically planning to throw the snake. My buddies like to laugh at me for using all the "gimmick" lures, but in the same breath, they'll say to throw something different from what everyone else is. Well, to make a long story short, I tore them up today. The average water temp was 66 degrees, and the skies were partly cloudy with occasional storm clouds threatening. The one thing that surprised me was that very few fish hit when I was doing the slow, twitching retrieve. Once I started really cranking the snake across the water, the fish couldn't resist. I've now got the confidence to fish this lure during my next tournament. I look forward to sending you the results.

Thanks for a great product,
Craig S.
Williamsburg, VA

 


Doug, My college/work schedule pretty much forces me to fish mostly at night. Fishing an extremely clear lake maybe it's best. I haven't caught any fish over 4lbs. I don't use lights at all (it's a 150 acre trolling motor only lake)except occasionally before a cast I'll scan the bank with a bright light so I can see my target. Could this be spooking the fish? Would it be better to have a light burning continuously? Any night bassin' tips appreciated!
Andrew G
Harlan, KY

 

Would the snake work at night?

Steve

Steve...
One of the most deadly lures of all is a big snake or worm fished at night under the moon.

Tighten your drag!

Doug Hannon


The lakes near me are small and clear with depths to 40-60ft. No pads or weeds above water. Lots of rock ledges in them. The only shallow cover in them is trees down in the water. After spawn the only time I catch bass 4-6lbs is at night on plastic worms and jitter bugs, or down deep with drop shots or carolina rigs. I never catch or see big bass in the shallows. What's going on? Would it be worth trying your snake method after what I've explained. Not many 10lb. bass in here. Most are 3 to 6 or 7. What size line do you use? I like Stealth By Spider line. What strength do you recommend? I see snakes swimming around a lot but never seen a bass get one. I've used top and shallow plugs, but just don't seem to get strikes that way. Oh, i seen you rig a plastic worm 1 time with i big hook and it swam side to side with a good action i liked. I forgot how to rig it. Would you tell me how yoy do that? Thanks.

Steve S
Jackson, Ohio

Steve...
You are seeing snakes yet question if it would be a bait to try? Of course snakes are natural forage for predatory game fish - plus your catching fish on jitterbugs topwater and big worms Which imitate snakes. Be low in your profile/approach to the waters edge (no loud noises) and cast parallel to the shoreline. Twitch them back slowly and hang on you will get blasted. Try power pro 40lb braid or a camo leader with a doubled improved clinch knot attached to the hook. I discuss how to rig the worm you mention in my book Big Bass Magic which comes on CD-ROM with my Hannon Big Bass system.

Doug Hannon


One of the lakes I fish is about 100 acres of extremely clear water. It ranges from about 60 feet to shore depth with some shoreline drop offs. How would you suggest fishing the snake in such clear water. When fishing normal lures, I have to make longer casts to keep the fish from detecting me. I try to keep as low a profile as possible, but sometimes it seems as if the fish know that it is not natural, and just ignore the lure. Thanks for the advice you give us. I have followed your career for probably 20 or more years and your dedication is remarkable. A lot of the other pros could learn some valuable lessons form you.

Jim
Carnesville, Ga

Jim...
Thanks for the kind words I certainly appreciate them. Regarding catching those fish, I would try casting parallel to the shoreline and working my way out/further from shore. Also try a camo leader or fluorocarbon leader 2-3' above your hook/lure. Yes it may be low light situations are best for this body of water. Generally the case to catch what I term mistake fish.-Hint- A storm is coming 2-3 hours away, go try this body of water and see how aggressive these fish will be then. I have found them at times almost swimming near my legs as I wade the waters edge.

Doug Hannon


How good is the hook-up ratio with your snakes? Doesn't the stretchy material in most baits that are bouyant and flexible make it harder to set the hook? Thanks.

Taylor
Richardson, Texas

Taylor,
We use a 5/0 custom VMC widegap hook which allows a very good hook up ratio 8/10, I would say. Really it seems as though the fish savagely hammer this Snake and they always hit him in the head first. Therefore your hooked ratio is higher. The major problem is 90% of anglers fishing topwater baits is, once the strike occurs , not waiting 3-5 seconds before setting the hook, As the fish has to expel water, weeds, etc through its gills after the attack on the lure. Unfortunately many of us get so excited we instinctively immediately set the hook. You need to let her close her mouth down around that lure, point that tip at her and try to break your rod. Try this and I assure you your hook up ratio will increase dramatically.

Doug Hannon


Does your snake lure have a separate floating head?

Roark F
Charleston, SC

Roark...
You may have seen an earlier incarnation of my snake lure that had a foam head, but the plastic tail section hung down 90 degrees unless you were constantly retrieving it. My current Fishing Snake does not have a separate head. The material we use is extremely buoyant and stretchy allowing the entire lure to float. It coils up into what we term a defensive posture right on the water surface.

Doug Hannon


I am trying to find a good brand of jigs or spinnerbaits. There are not many out there that I really like as they don't seem to be well built. Do you have any brnads you prefer, or have you built your own to suit your needs? I am staring to think I just need to build my own. Thanks for everything you do.

Kenny M
Cedar Rapids, IA

Kenny...
I have always used Stanley's stuff and find them OK. I don't like the titanium ones, because they are so springy that the setting the hook is difficult and many more fish bounce off of them. My favorite are the ones that are two piece like a beetle spin or the old H&H, because they run true at any speed and they don't bend when you catch a fish. Because the jig is snapped on and swinging free, it doesn't put pressure on the wire frame when you pull on it.
Good luck.

Doug Hannon


How do I fish the snake on a semi-highland lake that has no grass? The two major creeks have some standing timber in deep water. The lake has rocks and some stumps. Does the water temp need to be above 70? How would you fish this lake.

Roy L
Manchester, TN

Roy...
Trial and error always works, however, yes I would certainly fish the stumps/wood. Then the creeks for sure - the mouths especially. Where do you find turtles? Snakes are nearby as well. Try the white first. I caught 44 yesterday, slow 2-4 inch twitches. Cast to the shoreline and slither him off. The shore temperature is much warmer than deeper water, therefore active fish. Send me a picture.

Doug Hannon


Where would you suggest using the snake while fishing from a bank, rocky weedy,ect...also would you suggest using a snake on rivers.
Thanks

Jr
Midland, TX

Jr...
Think logically here- wherever you would naturally find snakes is where you need to fish this lure. We have caught fish from all bodies of water - Rivers, Lakes, Ponds, even Streams. The fact is, snakes are found everywhere and in every state except Alaska, and Large predatory gamefish make them a normal part of their feeding regime. Catch a big one and send me a picture.

Doug Hannon


How long does large mouth bass stay on the bed?

Chris
Lexington, SC

Chris...
Males:two to three weeks.  Females: three to six days. 

Doug Hannon


Doug, I have recently been devoting my time to the study and pursuit of big bass in my area. The Chicagoland area of county preserve lakes and ponds make up the majority of my fishing due to time restraints and opportunity. I was wondering with all of the literature on big plastic worms and natural swimming lures, that if I take a normal 12inch plastic worm with an undulating tail, if pinching off the tail, making it about 10in straight, is better than keeping the tail on as a full 12inch worm with a curly tail? Which is a preferred more natural action, in your opinion???

Josh
Winfield,IL

Josh...
Neither. Take advantage of the e-mail special  I sent you. This NEW material my snakes are made of will allow you to fish slowly, and not have to retrieve the bait constantly to try to keep it near the surface. Plus it has action never seen before in any fishing lure ever.  Watch the videos on my home page. Big fish are finicky they have seen everything imaginable and the type of  heavily fished waters you mention are exactly those that your lure must be as natural as possible, this lure gives you that. -they are awesome---

Doug Hannon


How soon will a large mouth bass bite after it has been hooked? 

Mark
Brandon, MS

Mark...
If the water is warm, it can take several hours, but it is usually less than 30 minutes.  The colder the water is, the slower a bass brain works.  If the water is in the 50's F, the fish may not even realize it has been caught before it is over and has been released.  In that case, I have caught and released bass and watched them hit the same lure on the next cast...amazing!  Good question deserving of a good answer 

Doug Hannon


I totally respect and seek any information you provide. Not to bash others, but you truly have the most Bass-specific knowledge of any other person walking the face of the planet. After reading your articles about live bait I wanted to know the best way to hook and present it. I have access to minnows, shad, waterdogs, shiners, and perch. I hook the watrerdogs thru the lips, but other than that I don't know the best way to hook the other baits. I've read where you have stated that Bass approach different live baits I would like to know how you would hook and present them. Could you include size and types of hooks? Right know I'm just using kale hooks with the bait keeper wire thing.
Thanks in advance sir!

Frank M
Pflugerville, TX

Frank...
It would take a book to properly answer your question, and I can't properly address it here, so you win the prize for short questions requiring a long answer. If you'll look in "Big Bass Magic", you will find details on rigging live bait for many situations. You hook a shiner differently for electric motor trolling (through the lips), float fishing (behind the dorsal fin), or freelining under overhead mats (behind the anal fin). The main thing to do is hook it lightly, so that it rips free with any hook set, and handle it delicately to keep it from pulling off the hook (don't hang it in the air and let it shake off). You want only the hook left in the bass after the set. For instance, when hooked through the nose, I only go through the lips, not through the nostril. This might lose a few baits that get off, but when you set the hook, it immediately rips loose from the bait making for an easier hook-up and giving the fish no weight with which to throw the hook. Your hook of Kahle is a bad choice for percentage hook-ups. You need to change to a True-turn weedless spinnerbait trailer hook in about 3/0. You can remove the weedguard or re-attach it as needed. When weedless, you definitely need a slack line hook set to get enough snap to deflect the weedguard. Hope this helps. The hook is the most important thing in livebait fishing, and I have given you the best there. I made my own hooks, and True-turn is the closest you can come to it commercially. Good
luck!

Doug Hannon


I am wanting to know if the 'snake' lure has ever been field tested or used with any success in the northern part of the US inparticular the state of Michigan. We have many clear lakes up here and our bass do not get much over 6#s. Will this 11" snake lure be effective on smaller bass in the 1# to 3# range?

Thank you,

Rob M
Kalamazoo, MI

Rob...
Do you have snakes in Michigan? Do they get well over 11"s long? Could a 3lb Smallmouth hammer and kill and eat a 11" snake? Absolutely-not to mention Pike, Muskie. See the Muskie pics sent to us from Michigan.

These things work everywhere,

Doug Hannon


I was wondering what the difference between the current snakes and last years (red, green, black) version would be? The scent added and new colors are the differences? How important is it to keep them in the fridge between trips?

Thanks a lot.

Marc C
Mayo, SC

Marc...
Yes keep them in the fridge. That new scent is powerful in attracting many species, and keeping cool has been a great way to help these Snakes last and last, and retain the natural shape. Colo- wise, we wanted to try some other colors we knew would work and yes they sure do, although Sunday on Lake Kissimmee I caught 6 in 45 minutes using the old Red Viper. Send me some pictures of the Kids with Fish caught on snakes we will post them, and send them No Dinks allowed- T- shirts. Glad your enjoying them.

Doug Hannon


What is the best place to use your snake? Lakes, rivers, or streams? For $39.95 how many snakes do you get?

Chris
West Memphis, AR

Chris...
Rivers, lakes, ponds all are great for the snakes, 9 snakes in the package plus many more items. These snakes last 10X's what 1 plastic worm lasts - they stretch to 4 feet without breaking, and float on the surface of the water, and swim like nothing you have ever seen. BIG fish crush them I caught 24 fish on 1 snake Yesterday and it  is still in great shape.

If you don't like them, send them back we will refund your $.

Doug Hannon


I sort of remember an In Fisherman article you were in that talked about going after big bass in weeds. It was probably around 1990 or so and had in there things about fishing the edges, the tops and through the weeds. One was about a Cabela's rod that was real short but packed a punch with dropping tubes in holes. I want to say it was like 4'9". Also to use Silver Thread or Triple Fish lines. As compared to that article what do you think is the lures of today that would be used to fish in the same manner. I know I can't fish like that in Iowa but just interested to hear what you think. You have been the most informative person I have ever read about.

Thanks for everything.

Kenny M
Cedar Rapids,IA

Kenny...
Thank you for the kind words about my work. It is that aspect recognition of my career that has been most satisfying to me on a personal level...the best reason in the world I can think of for never "selling out". I remember the issue you mentioned. I used a 4 1/2 tip section from a good graphite 12-13 weight flyrod as a blank. It makes wonderfully precise underhanded casts up under and into cover. Use a spinner or downsized casting reel and load it today with 12 pound Berkley Iron Silk line or Power Pro braid in 20 pound test. All you have to remember is to crank really fast and hard to get slack away from the fish, since you do not have a lot of sweep distance in such a short rod to do it for you. Try it; is quite exciting, intense, and more like hand-to-hand combat.
GOOD LUCK....

Doug Hannon


I've been trying to find a knot I'm comfortable with for connecting spectra braid line with a flourocarbon leader. Braid is 30lb, with 14-20lb leader. My first question is which knot, or other method of connection, would you recommend? My second question is, how long is ideal for your flourocarbon leader?
Thanks for the help

Nate
Dallas, TX

Nate...
A uni- Knot works well when connecting the 2, it is described/visually explained on our CD-rom in the Hannon big Bass system, as for the length of the leader I would suggest 3' as a good length.

Doug Hannon


Doug I commend you for the fast shipping of my lures. I fish in brackish water and see real snakes on occasion. The problem is there is no deep water, just 4' max. I have caught some 6 lber's, but I know there are some bigger ones. Should I concentrate on the laydowns? I catch most fish of the banks like 3-4 ft at the edges of some nasty grass.

Carl G
Swansboro, NC

Carl...
Certainly fish where you have seen the snakes, and yes the lay down areas are good . We have also had success fishing off of points and sand bars if available. Even retrieving the bait parallel to these types of structure works. Fish em' everywhere, cause when you get a big one you'll be hooked. We caught 51 yesterday from 1-4pm on Brown snakes - Kissimmee area. Super fun topwater hits.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
How can I tell which is a male vs. female Bass?

George G
Los Angeles, CA

George...
The only time it is obvious is during the spawn when the colors of the female change to highly mottled and slightly turquoise at times, with a very dark, almost black eye, while the male's markings fade and he takes on a pale gold color with a orange to even bright yellow colored eye.  Further when LM Bass reach a weight of typically 3lb's plus, 98% of them are females.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
I purchased your awesome snakes, but does the water have to be in the 80's before they hit it? I tried the rapala thing for high, cold and murky water, and caught bass just a tad bigger than the lure itself. It seems it might be too cold for the snake. I've tried it and topwaters, but no hits yet. What do you suggest? Thanks for all the info and respect for fish.

Curtis C
Eastland, TX

Curtis...
Try the Snake mid day,12pm-4pm when it has warmed up a bit, We have had real good success once the water hits the mid 60's and above, Be sure to cast it onto the shore and twitch/slither off slowly, pausing for 10-30- seconds at times, and letting it coil up into the natural defensive posture. They will often Smoke it when it is just sitting there not moving. Remember we are after the bigger, wiser fish that have seen it all and typically know when you are in the area.Use a stealthy approach, let the wind  drift you into target areas, turn off all electronics,  try to not bang the boat or talk loudly, even posture the boat so the wave action slapping on the gunnels will not create much noise- remember sound travels 100x's the distance underwater as it does above, you are entering her territory and she will often realize when intruders are nearby which will in effect put her on a non feed, defensive posture mode of her own. This is much like stalking a Big Buck, be focused and conscientious of all your actions. You will achieve the desired results,  if she is there sooner or later she will eat this Snake .

P.S.  I've also found that some days I can't get them to hit the Snake on top.  So, I put a split-shot about 12-18 inches above the Snake. Then I bring it back with a slow retrieve constantly twitching it.  This makes the Snake swim in a bobbing motion about 6-12 inches under the water. I get a lot that way.  You just have to remember to give her a good 4 seconds before setting the hook because they hit it with a little tension in the line.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
Is there any type of line that will work well for the Original Fishing Snake that is not a braid. I only like to fish with monofilament? Thanks.

Stewart P.
Lake Worth, FL

Stewart...
Try the new Cajun Red line 15 lb, has very little light refraction under water and does a nice job. Also the old standby Trilene big game green/clear in 15-17lb will work well for you with the Snake. I do recommend using a spinning rod 7.5 or longer in MH/Heavy action to cast this serpent, unless you are real good with a baitcaster. Real slow retrieve. Even let it sit for 20-30 seconds w/o moving it. Big Gals are not easy to fool.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
I came down in March to the Haines City-Winter Haven chain and had a tough time finding fish. Was it fished out, or just the wrong time? Locals talked about Nile perch and tilapia, but what are this fish really? Big 6 foot spawning beds and fish rolling in shallow waters.

Tom W
johnstown, OH

Tom...
Nile perch and Tilapia are the same- trash fish that serve as forage for our Bass. However, they do spawn numerous times, up to 6 times per year and create huge beds in our lakes. You need to fish the river here and contact me prior to coming down, as many guys act as guides, few actually produce.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
Most of the Lakes in Texas are low due to the drought we had this year. I was wondering if this will have an effect on the bass ? Will they bed in deeper water? Also , I am looking to buy a new bass boat. Does the color of the hull affect or alarm fish?

Stoney
Somewhere in Texas

Stoney...
I believe color of the hull can make a difference, especially in clear and/or shallow water. I would stick with a dark bottom and avoid metal flake (which adds 150+ pounds to the hull) at least on the sides of the boat. I can see the advantage in making bright colored, flashy hulls for advertising, but, if you don't need to, you might as well put every ounce you can on your side of the scales. The fish spawn usually on the outer third of the spawning coves and creeks in falling water. On rising water, they will get back as far as they can go. The key is not so much whether the water is high or low, but whether it is rising or falling.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
I have been fishing the central Florida area now of numerous years, there was a time when the RED SHAD color worm was the chosen color in the clear water that makes up most the lakes. This past February, I started fishing again and could not buy a bite on red shad, I then went to my second choice in color, the "JUNEBUG" AND started getting bites. Last week I made a discovery while buying worms! There are several companies that make the JUNEBUG color. Some brands are based on a red tint worm and others make it on a purple base. After fishing for three days straight, using the same size worms, the JUNEBUG color from the "Purple" based worm got more bites and even attracted larger bass! My question to you is why and how is this possible? Can bass really tell the slightest difference in color? What colors have you found to be more effective in clear water? Thank you!

David B
Orlando, FL

David...
It is true that bass can see subtle changes in color and that their ability to discriminate is quite refined. I can't explain the preference of junebug over red shad. I always did well on both, but I guess we have to let the fish tell us what they want. One of my favorite colors in clear water has always been blue and black combinations, but I wouldn't hesitate to respect a difference of opinion offered by the bass.

Doug Hannon


what is the deepest you've ever located spawning Florida largemouth? Thanks just ordered the snake. Been fishing very hard this spring with only an 8 1/2 lb on a wacky worm on a submerged point. Since Jan 1 maybe 30 days... 2 5's and too many 3lb fish to count most flipping. small canals and some small ponds. should I give up on these areas?

Robert C
Fort Pierce, FL

Robert...
I have seen spawning bass with the nest as much as 8-9 feet below the surface in crystal clear lakes, but usually the beds are less than 4 feet down, even in clear water.  Big fish are just rare, as you are finding, and I wouldn't give up on my spots.  Try being quieter and stealthier.  Get off the trolling motor or keep it very low.  Turn off the SONAR and use natural lures with a quiet presentation.  Finally, fish the same areas casting on the other side of the boat, away from the bank, and fishing up the 8 to 10 foot break lines. Good Luck...

Doug Hannon


Doug I fish BASS tournaments from the "back deck" as a non-boater and usually do okay; I am respectful to my boater and don't want to interfere with his livelihood, but at the same time I paid good money to fish with and learn from him. Any suggestions on how to best approach the day with one of these guys? ie: do something different or copy his technique? (side note: I like BASS Elite Series format of 3 fish/day for non-boaters)

Allen R
Huntsville, TX

Allen...
There is much to be learned in the obvious ways you state, but here are some things that are not so obvious: I would try to stay opposite in my presentation and maybe fish a lipless crank bait or jerk bait fast on the offshore side of the boat, if the pro was fishing the shore structure with slow moving lures like jigs and soft plastics. Get the idea...? Remember it is the area that holds fish on lots of patterns, not the fish holding on lots of specific structures within the area. This also does not require a great deal of concentration on your part, so you can pay close attention to the pro. If you will watch his line carefully, I promise you will see many strikes he completely misses on the initial sink of the lure, because he is concentrating on targeting the cast. You can go back to these after they pass to your area of fishing and catch them almost every time. Remember, you need to be considerate of the pro, but you don't need to be diffident.

Doug Hannon


I was wanting to ask about the migratory patterns of largemouth bass. I fish a power plant lake here in Illinois and it is in a horseshoe shape with land separating each side. One side of the lake the farther down you go, the warmer the water gets where they dump the water back in, and one side of the lake the cooler the lake gets and may even freeze far down the "cold water" side if it gets cold enough. In the summertime the "hot water" side can reach surface temps up to 110 degrees, while they cold water side only gets to about 92 or so. Now in the winter time depending on plant run and down time the hot water side rarely gets below 50 degrees and like I said the cold water can freeze way down on the far side. It is a 1,750 acre lake. I was wondering would a bass migrate in the summertime all the way down the hot water side when it reaches extreme hot temps to the cold water side, and would bass from the cold water side when the water gets extremely cold migrate to the hot water side. There is a lot of talk about that among us bass fisherman that fish that lake a lot. I was just wondering what your opinion was on that. Thank you for any information you can give me. Have a good day.

Brian A
Casey, IL

Brian...
Realize that there is not a comfort factor involved in temperature with bass.  They tend to gravitate to water in the range of 78F to 83F, but this has to do with metabolic activity levels and food availability. It is not all about temperature, because the reason to seek peak metabolic efficiency is to eat the most food.  The dominant forage might choose a different temperature range, so look for the areas of concentration of bait closest to the preferred temperature range of the bass. Put those two together for a winning combination.  Remember that the areas where that temperature range exists closest to the bottom, not the surface, has the best chance of holding bass.

Doug Hannon


Doug,
I ordered your snake kit and I know that Vanish Fluorocarbon came with the kit, I use a blue water line called Momoi's Hi-Catch nylon mono line smoke blue. I use 20 lb test that brakes at 30lb pull. When I put this line in the palm of my hand in tap water I can not see the line in my hand. Do you feel that I need to use the fluorocarbon line? I have read your book Big Bass Magic several times. The tactics contained in that book have got to be the most deadly set of tools that a bass angler could use. That book has got to be a real thorn in the side of some Pro Bass anglers. Thanks Doug.

Ray W
Hawley, TX

Ray...Thanks for the kind words on the book. I made every effort to make it timeless and the best book for knowledge and appreciation of bass fishing ever published. As to your question on the line. I have used that line in the past and it was one of the first lines that was fluorocarbon. That is why it is invisible. It was a little foggy in color, but it worked fine. We just want to make sure that everything you need is in our kit and make it a complete system. That doesn't mean anglers won't have some of the necessary elements already.  

Doug Hannon


Which is better? Full moon or new moon concerning spawn and bass fishing.

Dudley B
Stephenville, TX

Dudley...I prefer fishing the new moon.  The fish will spawn on both new and full, but skewed toward the full.  Fishing is good on both, but tends to be best on the days leading up to the full moon and on the days just after the new moon.  To simplify it, it seems the fishing is best when the moon is getting bigger, not smaller, with each succeeding day.  

Doug Hannon


Are blue-bird skies(not a single cloud)an indication of a high pressure area?  I have fished several honey-holes on those type of days and fishing was not normal. Anyway to combat this? Most of the time I am already committed to fishing those places. 
Dudley B
Stephenville, TX

You are right Dudley.... There is nothing you can do to make it right. What you have with post-frontal highs is accompanying low humidity from the cooler, less water-absorbent air, and water is a shield for ultraviolet radiation. What happens is that harmful U-V radiation from the sun increases and the small prey species have to seek shelter and cease activity and this shuts predation off, because there is nothing to feed on. The fish will go deep to the bottom or nearby ledges or into the shade of heavy cover to conserve energy, even if it is shallower, because of the shade. You see, when there is humidity, there is a lot of water over the fish in 12 miles of atmosphere, before you even get to the surface of the lake. That is why the sky is blue; because it is scattering and absorbing the light in the blue (visible)-violet (invisible) part of the spectrum. Fair weather skies are a darker blue than high pressure skies, because they are blocking so much more of this harmful light spectrum, and fishing is good. Try finding moving water, which is more constant in conditions, or go to nearby heavy cover with some overhead shade protection and fish carefully. Unfortunately, sometimes knowing the answer, doesn't fix the problem, it just makes it easier to accept.

Good luck,
Doug Hannon


 

I am currently using a Pure Anise spray as a means to kill human scent on my fishing lures. I also wash my hands with pure Ivory soap prior to going fishing. The anise also serves to lubricate my plastic baits in their storage bags. Would I get any benefit from using a crawfish scent in addition to the anise spray?

Keith... No...anise is one of the best products to mask odors, and it is a natural scent. None of this probably makes any difference with bass except that it lubricates soft plastics and improves their glossy look in the water. It can have an effect on saltwater species and freshwater species that are more dependent on scents. Crawfish will make you smell bad and ruin your carpet and cork grips.

Doug Hannon


Dear Doug.  Thanks for all the great information.  I have been a fan of yours for many years.  I often fish a 1500 acre "power plant" lake.  The primary food source is shad and crayfish.  The lake was created by damming a small creek.  Most of the water is 5 to 8 feet deep, with a very deep east end where the dam is located.  10 to 25 feet deep!  If you were fishing this lake for the first time, what would you look for to best increase your chance of catching a trophy bass?  Thanks.  By the way... I'm a strong believer in CPR!
Denny Rich
Butler, MO

Denny... Not knowing anything else about the lake, I would have to start my search on the Northwest and North sides of the lake in 5 to 8 foot water near the densest cover and would prefer vegetation over any other cover, if available.

Doug Hannon


Newly returned to fishing and now find the L shaped configuration just before the eye of the hook. I cannot see the advantage of this development!Am I missing something? Straight shanked hooks are becoming scarce in my neck of the woods.
Lloyd D
Scranton, PA

Lloyd...The offset brings the hook point in line with the line at the eye without adding excessive length to the shank.  This means that, when you pull, the hook point is straight with and in line with the pulling force, greatly improving the hook set penetration. It also causes an interlocking effect with the head of the Snake, so that it does not slide down the shank when encountering heavy cover and works much better than the old method of placing a couple of small barbs on the shank.

Doug Hannon


Doug, you say the topwater bite is best at about 72 degrees. Does that change at all for northern lakes? I'm up in Maine.
Bill V
Bridgton, ME

Bill... The way the fish feed always depends on abundance and position of prey. As far north as Maine, you have more cold tolerant forage species available and that would lower the temperature threshold for a topwater bite. Topwater would definitely be worth trying from 63° F and up in your area.

Doug Hannon


Hello Doug. Your snake kit comes with "vanish" fluorocarbon line to be used as a leader. I now feel more confident in my recent choice of line; I was planning on buying that same line. What do you think about using the line to load up the entire reel and how about a heavy weight test, say 20 pounds, to get the big bass out of heavy cover? It's one thing to hook a big bass and quite another to bring her in. If I hook a state record bass ( the RI record now stands at 10.6), I want to be able to land him and not have to worry about the line holding up. Thank you and I hope that you catch many more 10lbs. plus bass!!
Andy P
Rhode Island

Andy,
I couldn't think of a better line. Of course, it is important to be invisible only in the vicinity of the lure. Fluorocarbon is somewhat denser than nylon monofilament, which itself sinks, and, if fished as slowly as the snake is best fished, could tend to sink and pull the lure underwater with every twitch of the rod. That is why we recommend a Spectra braid with a leader attached. Spectra floats and has all the strength and stretch resistance to control the biggest of bass. Good luck on catching the biggest bass in the littlest State.

Doug Hannon


I want to thank you for sharing all this information. I realize it's your life's work and appreciate what it took for you to become such an expert. If anyone deserves to catch a world record bass, it is you and I sincerely hope you succeed one day. Good luck with that. I have two questions.

1. I just got a standard baitcast reel (XPS from Bass Pro Shops) for my birthday. What type of line would you recommend for it? It suggests 12 pound test, but I want to go higher and use what you recommend.

2. My lake has been off limits since 2004. They lowered it 20 feet and raised the dam. It will reopen in 2006 and be raised 10 feet from the previous level. How could that effect the fishing there? They only allow floating docks, so there's not much structure on the lake.
Thanks a lot,
Marc C
Mayo, SC

Marc,
My suggestion for baitcasting equipment  would be 12 -14 lb fluorocarbon line "ultimate invisible", or Trilene-Big Game - good stuff. Your preference.

As far as raising of the water levels, while the water level is low, be sure to note any and all structure along the shoreline, depressions, points, humps, even very minute contour or  bottom differences. They will hold fish once the levels are raised.

You might even video tape the whole area so to have a record to refer back to as you will no doubt forget some of the structure this water will present upon refill. Once you locate fish there, refer to the video tape and you may be able to find fish in similar areas during the same times of year.

Best Regards,
Doug


Professor, Does a predatory fish use their lateral lines ( or other ) to locate a distressed bait fish in low visibility conditions? If so, are they receiving movement, or some type of electrical impulse? Remembering a documentary on sharks locating injured prey through sensors around their nose.
B.C.Cook
Memphis, TN

B. C.,
The sensors on a shark are electrical and send the electrical nerve discharges of their prey, including the electro-cardiac impulse.

You can draw your own conclusions about the lateral line's role in predation by reading my discourse on the lateral line.

Doug


How long does a bass stay on the bed ? I realize that they might not all bed the same month, but would you explain..(1)when does a bass goes on the bed, (2) how long does she stay there ? (3) what are her habits while on the bed ? I will greatly appreciate your time to answer these questions.
Thanks,
Jim H
Jacksonville, FL

Jim...
Bass tend their beds virtually year round in Florida, but mostly March and early April in your area and January through March in South Florida.  The males come on when the water gets to 60°F and the females when the moon goes new or full and the water reaches 65°F. The biggest fish always bed first. The males are there for about 10 days and thereafter guarding a free swimming swarm for about two weeks.  The females are there from one to three days to lay eggs.  Both will vigorously defend the nest against egg eaters.
Doug


What technique is the best for the snakes?
Tyler A.
Ontario , Canada

Slow 2-4" twitches, as though the snake is searching for a meal himself along the edges. Although, just had a guy Danny G. of Auburndale Fl. call last week, said he caught 41 lb's/ 5 fish limit from Lake Kissimmee, on Black Moccasin snakes, he casts completely onto the bank retrieves just to the edge so that 2-3 inches of the lure are in the water, then slightly bounces it up and down creating ripples/vibrations in the water in effect alerting all predators this snake is about to enter the water. At that point he retrieves in a medium speed retrieve and says hold on as they VICIOUSLY strike this Snake.

PS: Danny also suggests let them hold and run with the snake for 3 seconds before setting the hook, which I agree. Also guys and gals, as Mary D. will attest- the water close to the shore is much warmer than the water which your boat is resting, fish right on the bank this time of year, to 3' depth.
Thanks for asking,
Doug


Does the snake work throughout the year?

As water cools we suggest small weight to punch it dow a bit, Carolina works well also. Top water bite is hot during Spring thru Fall when water is 72 degrees or better typically.

Thanks for asking
Doug


Hi Doug. This time of year I am catching smallies in 15 to 25 feet of water. When fishing for fun I release everything right away and never observe any problems with the fish quickly returning to its original depth. However, in tournaments where the fish may spend half a day in my well, sometimes you see them floating with difficulty in righting themselves. In the cases where you observe this and need to hold the fish for a time do
you advocate 'fizzing' them? Thanks.
Graham D.
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

I advocate releasing them in a weighted basket with a snap lid. Just take them to 20 foot or deeper water. Put them in a weighted basket with the weight secured, so it won't fall out. Drop it down on a 20 foot cord attached to the lid and with some slack to the basket. A tug on the cord should open the lid and release the fish at 20 feet. Fish released immediately do not have the same problem, but holding them at the surface for extended periods of time gives the pressure in the bladder time to stretch and expand it, causing excessive buoyancy. A hook formed out of coat hanger wire with about a pound of lead attached to the eye of the hook and a line tied to the bend of it can be hooked in the mouth of individual fish and send them to a depth of 20 feet or so as well. It is easily lifted out on retrieve, releasing the fish at depth. While there is no need for a release at greater than 20 feet, releasing fish at that level in deeper water will allow the fish to more easily find the depth at which it is in equilibrium.
Doug


I recently caught an 11 pound 4 oz hawg on one of your baits the other day, but unfortunately I was in a area where I wasn't supposed to be and I didn't have a camera. It was on the black moccasin. I'd like to get some more of those baits, but money is a little tight. I guess I'll have to wait. I want to thank you for the invention of this great lure. I can't wait to see what it will do in the summer - especially at night. That's my favorite time to fish- 7:45p.m -9:00p.m - 12:00 a.m. -1:00 a.m. and at 3:00 am for about 45 minutes. I've caught  more and bigger fish at night.
David S
Marietta, GA


A lot of times when I fish, I fish on the shoreline what is the best way to fish the snake while standing on the shore?
Chad
Ballwin, MO

Pitch it out, and slowly retrieve back, or pitch out sideways along shoreline if possible, almost as though as small snake meandering along the shoreline, or that fell out of the trees best of all.
Doug


I wanted to thank you for your moon charts.  On February 24, 2004 I was fishing on Lake Quachita in Arkansas for Stripers.  We were due to stop at lunch time and I asked our guide if we could stay until 2pm as your moon chart says that was going to be excellent times.  We caught 3 strippers with a total weight of 29lbs(12-10oz, 9-8oz & 8) between 1:45pm and 2:15pm.  Thanks for the charts they paid off.
James D
Sandoval, IL


Doug, I'd like your opinion on the effects of tournament fishing during the spawning season. I believe that sight fishing for female bass while they are on the bed severely hampers the females chances of successfully reproducing. A tournament fish caught off the bed and put into the livewell, driven around the lake, then weighed and handled for pictures, etc., and then released miles from its home territory has got to feel the effects of its ordeal. Do you think these bass have any chance of successfully reproducing when subjected to this type of treatment?
Tom M
St. Louis, MO

Very little Tom!
The Bass will sometimes even abort the eggs. And it is an absolute shame, just had another guy email me with a question similar topic - I never fish for spawning bass - Benefits no one.
Thanks for asking,
Doug


I've always believed in allowing all living creatures to reproduce on their own schedule. Thanks for responding to my question. I'm the production manager at KDNL-TV, ABC 30, and have followed your beliefs for many years. If you are ever in the St. Louis area, I'd like to show you a very special place that I've come to appreciate more than any other. It has produced many bass in the 5 to 7 lb. category and I only share it with special people who understand the practice of catch and release. I've been a fan of yours for many years.
Thanks again,
Tom M


If I fish it for a Tournament, will it catch numbers?  When is the best time of the year to use the SNAKE?
Charlie M
Fayetteville, GA

This is your anchor fish bait. Catch the 5 dinks, then catch their mama. Pitch one back and win the tourney. Not really a numbers bait, it's a BIG FISH BAIT! Best time is Spring 70° water through summer into mid fall. Again water temp is a key here.
Thanks,
Doug

 

Hi there Doug, Just saw that you are suggesting the Okuma reels and the Airrus rods. Can you recommend a good baitcaster from them, or is it better to flip the snake with a spinning reel? Thank you for the input and keep up the great job.
Awesome Lures!
Martin B
Orlando, FL

The round bait casters (Induron) are the ID-250 and ID-400. The Epixor High Speed spinning reels are EFS-30 & EFS-50. I hope that helps!
Doug

 

First of all, thanks for your efforts and contributions to the fishing industry. I've been following you since I was a young kid. You had a bait out for awhile that has not been around since forever and I was wondering if there was any way of obtaining the bait. The bait was a snake, head and body was separate. The line would go through the snakes head and tie to the hook. The body was wider tail bait that was the most deadly top water bait I've ever used. Not only did the bass like but, I have also caught red fish and speckled trout on it.
Scott F
New Orleans, LA

  The Hannon Big Bass System improves on an old favorite

Scott, thanks for the kind words. Actually I believe that lure (pictured above) is no longer in production. Was a super bait no doubt. My new bait is even better!! Stays on the surface elongated, whereas the old snake bait tail hung down below the water surface.

I guarantee you'll like em.
Doug

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Hannon WaveCast System Tangle-less reel

WINNER:
"Field & Stream"
Best of the Best - 2008
"Tackle Tour"
Innovation Award - 2008
"FLW Outdoors" Best of the Best In Value - 2008

"OFFICIAL REEL OF WALT DISNEY WORLD GUIDED FISHING EXCURSIONS" !

Best Spinning Reel you will ever use!!!

2007 Hannon Moon Clock
Predictor of fish and game movements and exact feeding periods

"Doug it's uncanny how this moon clock works,I have killed deer and caught more fish based on your feeding periods than I can shake a stick at, I don't go on the water or in the field without knowing when the game is going to be active and this moon clock is right on"
thanks Doug,
Herbert W. Ohio

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