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Fishing Bait Balls

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So this year we have been marking a ton of bait out of Holland. We have seen bait spread out across the bottom, coming up off the bottom, and suspended. With all this bait there has to be predator fish chasing them and we've seen the marks in and around them, but we haven't been catching around them. My question is if you find bait, do you hang around it and try to fish it? If so, what do you do to trigger fish? Types of lures, speeds, directions, etc? Seems like I would catch fish near them but that hasn't been the case.

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Seems to be related to time of day and whether fish are actively feeding. At first light with early bite, I have no problems fishing in the bait. After that if I come across a bait school, more than likely I won't get hit

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I agree completely.Attached is a pic of my HDS from this past Wed. We marked tons of bait and fish all evening....caught two 4 yr olds. As the evening progressed, what was closer to bottom came up and looked like this. No takers despite all of our efforts to change baits, depths, speed, dir, etc.

Will be making an effort to skirt the edges next time.


Edited by Nailer
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Fishing inside of concentrated bait is never option number one. But if its your only option at the time, running much faster than normal. Ie 3.0-3.3 at the ball will produce more strikes.

Ideally you want to avoid fishing in the concentrated bait. Move to the inside or outside edges. Aka stop marking bait and fish that new line.

Salmon are not very bright, but even they can tell that a spoon or fly/attractor is not real when they have thousands of alewives swimming around.

The theory behind increasing your speed is that most of the time when this bait has been so heavily concentrated its been at low light hours. They're relying on their sense of vibration to help them... not giving them time to hone in on your baits make them accidentally strike you instead of one of the 300 alewives your right next to.

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I never catch fish while marking bait and also catch lots more fish when marking no fish at all caught limits earlier in the year and one of the days never marked a fish we were fishing 75-100' behind the cannon ball though

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