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Could you guys give me some tips for getting thru bait balls to get to the bigger fish feeding on them? Mainly, I am talking about being anchored over them and vertically jigging blades or raps.

I am marking huge balls of bait but cant keep from catching/snagging them before the walleye bite. How do I keep my bait down there for several minutes to attract the bigger fish?
 

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Depends on how deep the ball is? If it is in the top 20 feet of the water column you are better off either throwing a marker out and casting or trolling thru it with planer boards. If the ball is deep suspended off the side or top of a hump or saddle I get on top of them and slab a spoon down thru them. I do this a lot in October- December down at Pueblo.
 

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When the shad are thick this time of year...for predators it's like an all you can eat buffet day after day after day. Whenever they're hungry, they don't have to put out much effort to satisfy their cravings. So, you can try and temp that overfed fish when he's not really hungry..kinda like that third slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving...you don't really want it but it looks so good. Or you can look for the fish that are ready to fill up again and are stepping into that buffet line.

So rather than hunting for food all day long like they would in the early spring and summer..always hungry when food's not as abundant.. they'll feed for shorter periods of time a couple times a day.

So what do you look for on your sonar? If you see a stack of eyes not around any shad..move on. They aren't actively feeding. Oh, it's tempting to fish those fish just like you do in the spring...but, they're full. If you see a school of eyes under the shad more towards the bottom. They're also not actively feeding, but could turn on at anytime. Kinda like they're getting in line, but haven't hit the buffet yet. You can work them and get a few fish. If you see that big ball of shad and you see the eyes mixed into the ball. It's time to eat.

Like cathinabuz said...trolling cranks lets you cover a lot of water and a lot of depths increasing your odds of finding hungry fish. Now as far as big fish..The older the walleye, the more light sensitive their eyes. Deeper water, or shallow water shade, stained water, dawn, dusk and of course nighttime are your best bets.
 

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So what do you look for on your sonar? If you see a stack of eyes not around any shad..move on. They aren't actively feeding. Oh, it's tempting to fish those fish just like you do in the spring...but, they're full. If you see a school of eyes under the shad more towards the bottom. They're also not actively feeding, but could turn on at anytime. Kinda like they're getting in line, but haven't hit the buffet yet. You can work them and get a few fish. If you see that big ball of shad and you see the eyes mixed into the ball. It's time to eat.QUOTE]


Very good analogy.
 

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I've had some success casting a silver kastmaster across the bait ball, counting it down so it's below the bait and snapping it back.
 
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