I could think of other things to call this article but just in case kids are reading I thought I would keep it family friendly.
Recently fishing the freshwater we started marking heaps of yellowbelly on the sounder but the trouble is we couldn’t get them to eat. The barometer was dropping the fish of course are getting ready to spawn and the water level was also dropping.
We weren’t going to be beaten, pretty determined that we had to win the lotto with at least one or two hungry fish out the schools we were spotting or at least make them strike out of aggression for the territory.
Unfortunately these fish were lockjaw. They were situated off a pretty open bank so we tried a few different methods. We trolled through them having our lures run through at their depth, waiting for the hit as we reached the school but nothing. Then tying on a jackal mask and a blade for a subtle approach, nothing. Soft plastics and light jig heads were the next out of the bag but still nothing. We tried sitting off them and casting through them, we tried vertical jigging and trolling to no avail.
We left this school alone for a while and went in search for another but the fish just seemed to become scarcer. Trolling back past the open bank where the fish were holding and we discovered they were gone, they have moved. Not far from them were the natural creek bed and some trees lining it.
Scanning our sounder it wasn’t long before we discovered they had moved into the deeper water as the day progressed. We had literally thrown the whole tackle box at them and tried a number of different methods to no avail yet.
Talking tactics we decided to tie a jackal on one rod and troll past them. We know jackal’s run at about 10 feet when trolled so weren’t sure if they were going to produce the goods. Just as we passed a tree bang the rod goes off. A pretty pale looking fish took the lure. We decided to keep going and see if we can develop a pattern, bang the rod goes off again. From our results it seemed that the jackal got to their level and perhaps from the noise stirred them up into a bite.
Similar situations have happened in bream tournaments when dead sticking plastics. We could see the bream on the sounder but they don’t seem to bite. We would mix up the retrieve and use a more aggressive retrieve and it seemed to stir the fishing into a bite.
Don’t be afraid to mix up everything but remember what you were doing when you got that bite, this may turn into a more productive session on the water.