By Mark Fong
December 10, 2014
All across the nation, shorter days and cooler nights combined with the first cold fronts of the season signal the start of the Fall transition. In response to cooling water temperatures, shad and other forage fish are on the move toward the shallows with schools of hungry bass in pursuit. Just as the fish become focused on the bait fish, so do the anglers who pursue them.
While there is no denying that the presence of baitfish can serve to concentrate the fish and super charges their feeding behavior, don't forget that bass are opportunistic predators. Simply because baitfish are present does not mean that bass are not preying on other types of forage as well. Case in point, on my last visit to Lake Oroville, one of California's well known spotted bass fisheries, I caught a large number of fish that regurgitated clouds of pond smelt. During the process of unhooking the fish, I noticed that several of the bass had both pond smelt and crayfish protruding from their gullets.