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Suspended Fish

Article: August, 2005
Lake Fork Pro Jim ReaneauOne of the key words that strikes fear into most bass fishermen’s soul is suspended fish. This happens many times during the year. The fall and after the fronts in the winter is a key time to see suspended fish. The worst is when they open the gates at the dam. On some lakes when the gates are open there is a current and the fish move to the points or creek bends, but on constant level lakes this can spell problems for the angler. This is a time the fish will move out to the deepest water available and suspend. Lake Fork is a constant level lake. This is normally a time the fish are in a neutral or non feeding mood. Following weather changes bass may know that the food chain will become inactive and they want to conserve energy so they move out and suspend. This is not always the case. The key way to catch these fish is to get down to where they are. The fish will sometimes come up and take a bait but not always. Most of the time you have to be right in the strike zone. There are many lures you can get down to the fish with. I have used spinner baits, crank baits, lipless crank baits, jigs, jigging spoons, and Carolina rigs. The drop shot is another new presentation that keeps the bait in the strike zone. When using the spinner baits and jigs you have to swim the baits at a constant speed through the fish. I have ripped spinner baits off the bottom up through suspended fish and had them strike. Lead tail spinners are a good bait to swim through fish. Vertical jigging a spoon over the top of the school will catch a lot of fish. John Fox who was on the tournament circuit many years ago passed along a good tip for catching suspended fish with a jigging spoon. If you drop the spoon down to the depth of the fish and hold it very still the natural line twist will start to unwind and a small amount of movement will sometimes be the best presentation. This has worked for me on Lake Fork on bass and bar fish. I have held the spoon just a half of a reel crank off the bottom and let it sit and had fish come and hammer the bait. A good tip when you are vertical jigging a bait is to mark your line with a water proof marker at the tip of your rod where you catch a fish so you can go back to the exact spot. To many times we over work our lures. A small amount of movement whether it is a bottom or top water bait will often draw strikes. Crank baits can be reeled down to suspended fish but line size will play a major part in this presentation as the smaller diameter lines will get down further than big sizes. Look for fish out on points That are no deeper than 20 feet. If the fish are deeper than this you may have to troll to get the bait down to the fish. The Carolina rig can be lowered to the right depth and hopped up and let fall and sometimes will draw a strike. You can put small crank baits, suspending jerk baits, or any other bait of your choice on a Carolina rig and lower it down to where the fish are. The lipless crank bait has been one of my favorite lures for catching suspending fish. You have to cast past where the fish are and count it down and slow reel through the fish. Still the key is to get the bait right in front of the fish. Look for suspended fish over creeks, points, flooded timber. Don’t be afraid to fish for these fish. I have had many good days on finding and catching suspended fish. The summer and winter is a good time to find suspending fish. The deeper clear water lakes on the whole are known for suspended fish. With no cover to speak of the bait fish have to go to deeper water to find a place to hide. The bass will suspend and wait for them to come by. You will need some good electronics when you start your quest on catching suspended fish. This is a must. A good map of your lake will help you find the right places to start looking for suspended fish.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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