Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Fishing Forum
      Bigger Baits     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/02/2018 10:41AM
Master Anglers point about using bigger baits, made me think of my experience with a home aquarium.

I'll tell you guys a little story, that would support the idea of throwing bigger baits.

I own a 55 gallon aquarium, that I used to keep a variety of freshwater fish in. Yes, I know the rules in MN. A child under 16, can keep 4 non-game fish, not more than 10 inches in length for a home aquarium. But you can purchase game fish, at a licensed dealer, just keep the receipt.

I learned alot about the feeding habits of crappies, sunnies, bullheads, and bass (walleye were boring for an aquarium. They are primarly nocturnal feeders, so they were seldom active when people were looking at them.

It's really interesting watching the fish feed, and learning.

Crappies: Horrible eaters. I dump the crappie minnows in the tank and they attack, but cough up half of what they swallow. Often times they grab a minnow, and cough it right back up. sometimes the minnow would swim away, sometimes it would be dead. If the crappie killed it, it wouldn't re-eat it. The crappies primarily ate at or above their level. They rarely went down into the rocks to feed. Crappies had NO interest in worms that I dropped in the tank.

Sunnies: Ever wonder why they always swallow your bait? They didn't so much as go over and eat their pray, so much as they would get their mouth very close, and then inhale their food. The food would be a 1/4" or so away from the bluegill, and then it wouldjust suck it in. Sunnies would eat minnows.

Bullheads: Basically blind. Very good sense of smell, and vibration. When I dump 60 minnows in the tank, the minnows are every where. The bullheads feed almost exclusively near the bottom, and seem oblivious to minnows right in front of them. There would be minnows RIGHT in front of the bullhead, but it was if they didn't know it was there. But they could either smell, hear or feel a minnow to the side of them, and would turn quickly in that direction and swallow them. Either they can only see off to the sides, or they can't see much at all. Hard to say. Sometimes I would drop a night crawler in the far end of the tank with the bullhead at the other end, facing the wrong way. The nightcrawler would crawl down into the rocks and disappear. After about 20 seconds of water circulation, the bullhead would get a wif, and suddenly get energized, and track the smell to the other end of the tank. There it would dig down into the rocks, find the crawler and eat it. So there is little doubt they can hunt strictly on smell.

Bass: Voracious eaters, and territorial. I had a couple large mouth bass, which grew to about 9 inches. Those bass owned the tank, and would push the ones listed above to the edges of the tank. When I dropped 60 crappie minnows in the tank, almost all of those minnows would be gone in 10 or 15 minutes. Most in the two bass. They would easily eat a dozen each. They would aggressively seek out and swallow minnows, and stuff themselves, to the point where they couldn't eat anymore. Sometimes coughing up a couple while they were trying to eat more. The bass eventually killed the crappies and sunnies in the tank.

This is where it got interesting. As an experiment, I once added 3 or 4 large, 4" shiners in with 5 dozen crappie minnows, to see how the bass would react to those larger baits. I dumped the entire bucket of minnows in at one time. The bass targeted and ate the larger minnows first!!! Even though they hadn't eaten in 2 weeks, and had 60 crappie minnows right in their face, all over the place, easy picking.... they went directly after the larger shiners first... and were successful I might add.

Dead minnows get ignored by all species in my tank. If they hadn't eaten in two weeks, and I tossed them in first, they would get eaten, as the bass didnt taken the time to discover they were dead. But anytime there were live minnows as an option, all of the fish would ignore the dead ones. Even after the live ones were gone, they wouldn't eat the dead minnows off the filters or anything.

Mice. That was interesting. I had a small mouth and a large mouth, that were about 8 to 9 inches long. I dropped a feeder mouse into the tank to see if they would eat it. The mouse made two laps around the tank, and the fish least expected to go up and get it did. The bullhead. It came up to the surface to check it out. And this bullhead NEVER feeds up. The mouse made a lap, and banged right into the back of the bullheads head. The next trip around, the bullhead violently grabbed the mouse, and took it to the bottom. I should not have had my daughter watching. She liked the mouse, and screamed when it got eaten. Note, it wasn't her pet, I brought it home that day from the pet store.

I dropped a 5 inch freshwater lobster in the tank (looks like crawfish). It was fine for months. Then it went through some sort of softshell period, and that was that, one of the fish made short work out of it. I just discovered it gone in the morning.

I regret not pinching a barb, and jigging with a dead minnow to see what their reactions would have been.

Here is the funny part. There is no question the bass could see me walking around the room. If I hadn't fed them in 2 weeks, they would get very upset. I would be walking by, and they would be facing me, shaking their head back n forth, and opening and closing their mouth over and over, and aggressively so. There was no question they were begging me to feed them. They would definitely react, when I was walking up to the tank with a bag of minnows, like my dog waiting for a treat. They would go from still, to thrashing back and forth, before I even dumped the bag in.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
retired55
distinguished member (133)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/02/2018 05:24PM
Thanks for a great article. I had a little chuckle about the mouse. You proved that sunnies like to suck in there food in. I like watching them on camera in the winter time with my grand kids. Only problem, when we watch them. they would name them so we always had to put them back to be with there families. That made their grandpa sad!
coastwatcher42
member (10)member
 
06/02/2018 09:31PM
Very interesting and very informative.
bfurlow
distinguished member(1435)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/02/2018 10:13PM
Good info, thanks for sharing. I would love a tank with a few game fish in it. Appreciate your observations!
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2018 12:53AM
bfurlow: "Good info, thanks for sharing. I would love a tank with a few game fish in it. Appreciate your observations! "

I know you don't live in MN, but it should be noted, that in MN, fish in your home aquarium, regardless of species, count against your bag limit.

At one time, I had 3 crappies in the tank, with a possession limit of 10, I was actually down to 7 that I could keep when fishing.

I LOVED having the freshwater fish in the tank. Other people visiting found it interesting too. We would usually have 70 people or so, over for the superbowl, and I always made sure not to feed the fish for a couple weeks, and have an airbag with 5 dozen minnows in it, waiting for halftime.

The little kids got a big kick out of feeding the fish.

It's a bit of a pain in the butt though. When the fish are very little, they are not big enough to eat crappie minnows, so I would have to go to the pet store, and buy smaller feeder guppies or whatever. It would get kinda tedious and spendy.

I think the toughest part is keeping the tank clean. I had to clean it about every 5 or 6 weeks. I would drain about 1/4 of the tank, and clean the algea build up, clean both filters, and fill the tank back up. You have to add drops to the chlorinated water, or it will kill the fish. City water often has chemicals in it. I bought a tank cleaning kit, that comes with a 25 foot hose and vacuuming device. I found it to be very helpful. You just hook it to the sink and suck the debris out of the rocks in the bottom of the tank, like you do with landscaping. Then you flip a lever, and instead of sucking, it now works as a straight hose, and you can fill the tank.

I found it's a bad idea to put sand on the bottom of the tank, as it clogs the filters. Small lake rocks are much better. Although the crappie minnows will try to hide in the them, and often get stuck and die. Its far easier to clean amongst the rocks, than trying to clean sand.
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2018 01:04AM
retired55: " Thanks for a great article. I had a little chuckle about the mouse. You proved that sunnies like to suck in there food in. I like watching them on camera in the winter time with my grand kids. Only problem, when we watch them. they would name them so we always had to put them back to be with there families. That made their grandpa sad!"

It was a "cute",small, white, feeder mouse from the pet store. They have them to purchase to feed snakes or whatever. My daughter was probably 10 or 11 at the time. She instantly thought it was a pet I was bringing home for her. There was no way in hell I was going to have pet mice in the house though.

She was excited to play with it, and curious what I was doing with it. She was surprised it could swim... and unfortunately, I didn't explain to her what was going to happen when I put it in the tank. She was horrified when the bullhead ate it. I tried to reach in and save the mouse, after the bullhead grabbed it, but there was no saving it.

The bullheads would eat just about anything. I could put raw chicken guts or fish guts in there, and they would clean them up.

I put a small channel cat in the tank, and it jumped out the first day and died. It must have done it when I was sleeping. I have a cover on the tank, but there is an opening where the filters hang in the back. No other fish ever jumped out. Considering I can never make a fish pond good enough to hold smallmouth in the boundary waters, I'm surprised my smallie never jumped out of the tank.

I had a small pike in there, that I bought from a dealer. It was very fast, and very fun to watch, but I accidentally killed it in my learning stages, with water and drops etc. A friend once had a long nose gar in his tank , that was really fast too.

Perch were fun, but I would never buy a walleye for the tank. They were boring, unless you get up in the middle of the night, and don't turn the lights on. They were inactive during the day, and would only feed at night. I think the tank may have been a little warm for certain species. I don't think trout would have cared for it, and it may have been a little rough on the walleyes.

I had some fake plants in the aquarium. The pan fish seemed to like the plants to get away/hide from the bass.

It was this kind of stuff that made owning an aquarium with lake fish in it, pretty cool:

bullhead eats sunfish.

No, that's not my video, its off you tube, but similar to what my bullhead would do.
mastertangler
distinguished member(5020)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/03/2018 04:24AM
A fish in your aquarium counts against your daily bag limit? Give me a break. Have we turned into a nation of sheep where the government can micro manage every teeny tiny aspect of our lives and we willingly comply? They are getting to big for their britches as the saying goes. None of their darn business what I have in my aquarium unless it is an exotic import..........and then the nitwits think that is fine and dandy. "Oh yes, you betcha, that snakehead is AOK to bring into the states"!

I have had a bass, perch and sunfish in the tank. The bass are gorgers. The perch was attractive. I also cast netted a small baby channel catfish and stuck it into the tank. Very pretty fish but it liked eating the tropical Neons. Each night one more would disappear.
Basspro69
distinguished member(15077)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
06/03/2018 08:36AM
Very interesting story thanks for posting !
06/03/2018 09:06AM
Very fascinating, I’ve noticed several times that larger bait/shiners are the only ones that will elicit strikes/bites.

T
LightFish
member (34)member
 
06/03/2018 10:21AM
I recently had to take a test to try and get into MRI school to get away from x-ray. It was a test like a GED but I am 30 years past HS so I have to study all the old science stuff and I mean everything! Well one of the things that was Ecology and the term Predation. The feeding of a stronger species on a weaker one. Fish are the same way and very opportunistic. What makes catching them so fun is that they all act a little different. Pike are the top dogs and dont care and will eat everything. It kinda breaks down from there to pan fish. Upper class, middle class and lower class....hmm anyway cool observation! thanks
LightFish
member (34)member
 
06/03/2018 10:39AM
Ya I have never been one to throw small baits because I think it will catch more fish. I like medium to large baits. If a fish is hungry it will go after something that is 3 times or more its size, its doesn't care, there wired for it.
Mickeal
distinguished member(630)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2018 11:37AM
Opening weekend while on Seagull I caught trout on a Doctor Spoons Big Game Series. The overall length of this 2 oz. spoon more than 8 inches. I was catching 20 to 22 inch trout in 70 feet of water jigging it at about 65 foot. Each fish was hooked with a single barb, the hook was so big they could not get the whole thing in their mouth. Like LightFish said "there wired for it".
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2018 12:41PM
Mickeal: "Opening weekend while on Seagull I caught trout on a Doctor Spoons Big Game Series. The overall length of this 2 oz. spoon more than 8 inches. I was catching 20 to 22 inch trout in 70 feet of water jigging it at about 65 foot. Each fish was hooked with a single barb, the hook was so big they could not get the whole thing in their mouth. Like LightFish said "they're wired for it". "

I'm sure we've all had those instances where we catch a small fish on a rapala that seems to be WAY too big for it. You sit there looking at the little fish, saying to yourself "what were you planning to do with that?

Lake Demontreville near my house, has catch and release only for largemouth bass. Those bass see a fair amount of pressure. I know one guy that changes things up, and goes BIG in the fall. In October, he'll sit on the point near deep water, fishing for Largemouth, with large sucker minnows!! He said if you want to catch 5 and 6 lb bass, that's a good way to do it.

We were coming off Alpine one year, heading into Red Rock. This group was going the other way. We stopped and chatted a bit. The night before they had left two eater walleyes on the stringer behind the canoe. When the first guy got up, he went down to clean them to prep for a walleye breakfast. Except that when he got down to shore, he could see one walleye, and one pike on the stringer. It was about a 4 lb pike. He scratched his head a bit, as he could swear they had two walleyes on the stringer.

When he pulled the stringer in for a closer look, he could see the tail of one walleye, emerging from the stomach of the pike. Here the 4 lb pike had swallowed the eater walleye, stringer and all. It's amazing they will eat something half their size.

missmolly
distinguished member(8104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/03/2018 03:52PM
What a great thread, Analyzer! Thanks for all the cool info. I once had a freshwater/native species tank for my students when I taught middle school and you're right about the cleaning. Those guys sure poop!
HotDog
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2018 05:05PM
analyzer: Lake Demontreville near my house, has catch and release only for largemouth bass. Those bass see a fair amount of pressure. I know one guy that changes things up, and goes BIG in the fall. In October, he'll sit on the point near deep water, fishing for Largemouth, with large sucker minnows!! He said if you want to catch 5 and 6 lb bass, that's a good way to do it.
"


I also live near Demontreville and Jane, but rarely fish them anymore. Didn't even know there were any big bass left in there. Thanks for the tip :)
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2018 08:22PM
HotDog: "analyzer: Lake Demontreville near my house, has catch and release only for largemouth bass. Those bass see a fair amount of pressure. I know one guy that changes things up, and goes BIG in the fall. In October, he'll sit on the point near deep water, fishing for Largemouth, with large sucker minnows!! He said if you want to catch 5 and 6 lb bass, that's a good way to do it.
"



I also live near Demontreville and Jane, but rarely fish them anymore. Didn't even know there were any big bass left in there. Thanks for the tip :)"


Well, to be fair, it's been a while since he told me that.

plexmidwest
distinguished member (374)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2018 07:07AM
Analyzer - I have a 55 gal with African Cichlids, but 15 years ago I had a 75 gal with crappie, largemouth and bluegill. I experienced the same thing with crappie, they seemed to spit minnows out more often than not. Then the bass figured out to wait by the crappie to get the stunned minnow before the crappie got it back. It was a good learning tool for species feeding behaviors as you mentioned.
rpike
distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2018 09:38AM
HotDog: "analyzer: Lake Demontreville near my house, has catch and release only for largemouth bass. Those bass see a fair amount of pressure. I know one guy that changes things up, and goes BIG in the fall. In October, he'll sit on the point near deep water, fishing for Largemouth, with large sucker minnows!! He said if you want to catch 5 and 6 lb bass, that's a good way to do it.
"



I also live near Demontreville and Jane, but rarely fish them anymore. Didn't even know there were any big bass left in there. Thanks for the tip :)"


I normally catch my biggest bass of the year in the fall while casting big muskie lures. I've caught way more 5+ pound bass on muskie topwater lures than I have intentionally fishing for bass.

This is a very cool thread! Love to hear about the aquarium adventures.
A1t2o
distinguished member(532)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/06/2018 02:18PM
You feed them once every 2 weeks? That doesn't sound right. I've had a freshwater tank before and we fed them every other day. In my saltwater tank, I feed every day on a timer plus frozen Mysis 2-3 times a week. Is it the size that allows this?

What does that feeding frequency mean for catching them in lakes? Due to activity they probably eat more often and grow faster, so does that mean that they only eat once every couple days or so and hunt aggressively when they choose to eat? I had always thought of timing for catching fish as something that works for a prime time fishing, but not really that important since you can fish all day and usually catch something.
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2018 12:01AM
plexmidwest: "Analyzer - I have a 55 gal I experienced the same thing with crappie, they seemed to spit minnows out more often than not. Then the bass figured out to wait by the crappie to get the stunned minnow before the crappie got it back.
"


That made me laugh.
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/07/2018 12:02AM
A1t2o: "You feed them once every 2 weeks? That doesn't sound right. I've had a freshwater tank before and we fed them every other day. In my saltwater tank, I feed every day on a timer plus frozen Mysis 2-3 times a week. Is it the size that allows this?


"


They were not only surviving feeding them every 2 weeks, they grew from 2 or 3 inch fish, to 7-9 inch fish. So it was working just fine. I found the more I fed them, the more they crapped, and the more I had to clean the tank. I imagine it depends alot on water temps. My basement was rather cool, so I'm guessing the water temps were in the mid 60's or so. But that's just a guess.

When I dumped 5 or 6 dozen minnows in the tank, a handful would survive for a few days. So I suppose in some respects I was feeding them about every 10 days. I tried dumping 100 minnows in there at a time, but too many minnows would die. And whenever I had a large minnow kill, i would have to drain about 1/3rd of the tank. The water would get bad otherwise.

I'm not a biologist, but I think fish and various animals adjust their metabolism to the environment, and available food sources. If you don't feed them very often, they just slow down their metabolism, and are less active. Of course not feeding them very often, may have had something to do with the bass attacking the sunnies and crappies. However, Iit appeared to me to be more of a territorial thing.

Regarding what can we glean from fish feeding behavior in a tank, in comparison to the wild. Probably not a ton. I guess I learn to keep my bait at or above the crappies. I can see why my bobber bounces up and down so much with crappies, as they are sloppy eaters, and suck in, and spit out the bait/hook quite a bit.

I suppose I could have learned, but already suspected, worms are lousy crappie bait.

I can see why sunnies often swallow the hook.

I learned to keep fresh/lively minnows on the end of my hook.

There's a reason people use stinky bait for bullheads, and catfish.

My tank should have taught me to fish for walleyes at night... I guess I haven't learned.

I don't think I'm the best person to speak on fish feeding behavior in natural settings. There are some awfully smart/experienced fisherman/biologists on this forum that have written stuff in the past. As I recall, one poster, Sirlips was an ex-pro walleye fisherman, and he wrote several excellent threads on walleye fishing. I think if you do a search for walleye fishing 101, you'll find it. It was very informative.



toomuchtackle
member (6)member
 
06/11/2018 05:50PM
I've always been a big bait believer, but last week in Q six of us caught 3 pike over 40" and 3 between 35 - 40"....all on walleye/bass crankbaits. Maybe it was just the fishing conditions but we've never done that well with big pike, even when I dedicated a lot of time to fishing big pike baits.
carmike
distinguished member(1391)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/12/2018 08:22AM
Very cool story -- and cool thread.

There are certainly times that fishermen need to use small, finesse presentations. I think those times are fewer and farther between than most of us think, however.
analyzer
distinguished member(1610)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/12/2018 09:20PM
analyzer: "
This is where it got interesting. As an experiment, I once added 3 or 4 large, 4" shiners in with 5 dozen crappie minnows, to see how the bass would react to those larger baits. I dumped the entire bucket of minnows in at one time. The bass targeted and ate the larger minnows first!!! Even though they hadn't eaten in 2 weeks, and had 60 crappie minnows right in their face, all over the place, easy picking.... they went directly after the larger shiners first... and were successful I might add.

"


I realize it's kind of an unusual situation, because the bass haven't been fed in 2 weeks, but think about it for a minute.... a 55 gallon aquarium with 60 crappie minnows. The crappie minnows were E V E R Y W H E R E. There is an EZ meal within an inch or two of both bass, and they single out the bigger shiners. (4) 3" or 4" shiners among 60 crappie minnows, and they maybe survived 12-15 seconds.

There were 4 young kids watching. Each was going to pick out a shiner, and see how long their's lasted.... they didn't even have time to pick. For the bass, it was game on, seek and destroy... and it was over very quickly.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next