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Discussion Starter #1
I have been fishing since I was a little kid (over 20 years) and I have never caught any "big" fish. The fish I catch are average. Occasionally, I catch one that will be bigger than my normal catch but nothing to really brag about. I have no problems catching fish but I can never seem to catch a "jaw dropper".

This year my goal is to catch "big" Trout, Walleye, or bass.

Is catching bigger fish more luck than skill? Are there certain things I can do to catch bigger fish such as using larger lures or fishing deeper waters, etc. ?
 

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A lot of it has to do with luck. But I believe the biggest thing is picking the correct fishery to do so. If you want huge trout, I mean 10 pounds plus, the gunnison river gorge is the place to go. If you want monster walleyes cherry creek or pueblo would be your best bet. Monster pike, the yampa river or stagecoach. Monster smallmouth the yampa, monster largemouth pueblo. monster bluegill jerry creek.
 

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chatfield has big walleye , i dont know if you like kokanee, but they get up to 24 inches in some waters, trout i like wolford, bluegill bass crappie and pike the rocky mountain arsenal , boyd has some decent crappie, your time will come, patience is key
 

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First off, "jaw droppers" get to be that way because they have avoided fishermen their whole lives, and have probably been educated a few times.  But, they still have to eat, and have brains smaller than a quarter and can be caught.

Three suggestions:
1.  Spend as much time as possible on a given body of water.  If you don't have a lot of time to fish, fish the same lake and learn something every time.  Eventually you will find a kink in the armor of the big fish there.  Once you find some big fish, they will most likely be there often, as the best feeding locations are held by the biggest fish.

2.  Don't spend too much time in one spot.  A lot of people are too patient, thinking that if they stay in one place a big fish will eventually come by.  That's true to a certain extent, but you can speed up the process and go to them.  Bounce around a lot when you're out there - often a big fish will be caught on the first cast at a new location.

3.  Be knowledgable about the food found in a given body of water.  Also, be able to relate the forage to the structure you're fishing.  If you're fishing around large boulders, try a crawdad immitaion, if you're fishing over a weedbed use a minnow immitation etc.

You can use these suggestions to help improve your odds, but nothing beats just being in the right place at the right time!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bass Hunter,

From the looks of the fish you have posted on this forum and other pictures I have seen elsewhere, it is obvious you are person who happens to "be at the right place right time". You regularly catch bass over 4 lbs. I can only think of a few times ever when I caught bass over 4 lbs.


When you fish, are you specifically targeting larger bass?

Is there common characteristic you have noticed when you have caught the bigger bass i.e nightime, deep water, presentation, structure, lure size, etc. ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When I Walleye fish, I primarily fish at Chatfield, the chatfield spillway, and Aurora. Usually, I will catch quite a few walleye, but I hardly catch a keeper (18 inches plus). I primarily fish by trolling with worm harnesses and small curly tail grubs.

If I want to catch bigger Walleye, are there certain areas of a lake I should be focusing on? Is there a certain time of the year when bigger Walleyes are caught more often? What are your techiques for catching Walleye?
 

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You bet I'm targetting big fish!  ;)

But I have spent sooo much time on a few bodies of water that I will hit spots 1-5 at a given pond/lake and a big ole bass will be in one of those spots almost every time.  And interestingly, it's almost always a different fish (it's almost like they just rotate through)I always struggle when I try new water but the challenge is always exciting!

So let's talk narrow "big fish" down to just bass.  Here's a couple of things I look for in new water.

1.  Shallow areas (1-5ft).  These areas are the "food factories" of ponds/lakes.  The transition area from shallow to deep will almost always hold big fish.  Don't get distracted by all the 12" bass that will be visible in the shallows.  Start fishing where you can't see the bottom anymore.
2. Shoreline topography that most likely extends into the water.  Look for ridges/troughs starting above the body of water and imagine how they extend into the body of water.  In some waters, these features provide structure in an otherwise featureless bottom.
3.  Use your polaroid glasses to spot up structure that is barely visible.  If the water is clear enough, this structure will probably be ~ 8 ft deep - a perfect depth for a big ole bass to chill at.  Deep structure is a very good thing!
4.  Water sources.  Does the lake/pond have an outlet?  If so, is there an inlet?  Inlet areas are alway productive, and seem to at least briefly hold the attention of cruising hawgs.  This is one type of place to spend a little extra time.  If there is no inlet, then there must be underwater springs...find them!

Those a just a few points to consider.  As far as lures, here's a few that are great to use until the go-to lure is found:

1.  Mister Twister 6" Purple plastic worm (Gods gift to bassfishing).  Nothing fancy, just a single split shot ~ 12" above the hook.
2.  1/4 and 1/8 oz white spinnerbaits, single colorado blade(clear water = silver, stained water = gold).  Nothing fancy here (no triple willow blades, holographic images etc)
3.  Shad-Raps.  
4.  Rattle-traps.  

You can probably tell that I'm already getting excited about spring bass fishing this year...I hope this helps, it's definately something to think about during the offseason  :)
 

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Michael in Parker said:
Is there common characteristic  you have noticed when you have caught the bigger bass i.e nightime, deep water, presentation, structure, lure size, etc. ?
nightime = anything goes. The best time to find big fish off of structure and in shallow water swimming around with their mouths open. Spinnerbaits, spinnerbaits, spinnerbaits.

deep water = during the daytime, definately. But I focus more on the shallow/deep transition areas ~ 10-15' for bass. This is the easiest areas to fish for me since I don't have a boat, and can't find/target fish suspended in 20+ feet of water.

presentation = nope, location is more important. If your doing things right you'll catch small fish too.

structure = definately. Find structure, and you'll find the big fish (especially if it's not obvious to everyone else)

lure size = yes and no. Yes, big fish love BIG lures. You can also weed out a lot of the small guys by upsizing. However, I can't count how many big bass I've caught on tiny rapalas and 1/8 oz spinnerbaits designed for crappie.
 

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keep in mind that (as basshunter alluded to) large fish of a given species will act and like things that are very different than smaller fish of the same species. If you are targeting big fish of a species you have to have to know the habits of big fish and fish to them.

As an example...Small pike are actually a warmwater fish and like warmer water temps and therefore typically shallower areas. In the summer, small pike can be caught in abundance in shallow weedy areas. Extremely large pike on the other hand are a cold water fish and wouldn't be caught dead in warm, shallow water so they lurk along deep structure where they can regulate their temperature and still have a pathway to food sources.

If you are fishing the shallows for small pike about the only reason you'll catch a monster is by accident or if you happen to be in the 'right place at the right time' when the fish comes shallow. If fishing deep drop offs for large pike, you probably won't catch any small ones unless they've gotten lost...they are very vulnerable in deep, open water.

Other species will have similar differences between habits and habitats of larger and smaller fish. Research your species and then practice and expirement th gain experience on the water. Eventually, you'll get into them.
 

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Michael - All of the posts above have some great information and should help put you on bigger fish. Usually, any body of water you are fishing will hold trophy class fish, besides some rivers that are just too small and shallow to hold large fish. A lot of catching big fish has to do with knowing the body of water you are on and knowing prime locations on that body of water, which can take years to figure out.

One thing I wanted to add, and in my opinion is very important when targeting big fish, is time of year. A big fish can be caught at any time of year, but to improve your odds you have to fish those prime times of year when big fish are more frequent or more accessible. In spring, right at ice off, is generally a great time of year to target big trout, walleye, pike. I'm sure other species as well, but I'm not familiar with the habbits of some other species. Those fish will come shallow to spawn and feed after a long winter and generally will seek warmer water (shallow water that time of year). Fall is another peak time for similar reasons as the spring. As water temps cool in the fall, fish will come from the deeps where their optimum water temp has been for months, and move into shallow water again to feed or spawn. But again these conditions tend to congregate most fish in shallower water, and more accessible to anglers.

I always look forward to Ice Off on our reservoirs because I know it is a great opportunity for big fish. Same thing in the fall, you just have to keep an eye on water temps and how the fish are reacting. In the fall most reservoirs will go through a turnover stage where the different water temps are mixing and this generally throws off the fish for a while, but wait for the turnover stage to become more stable (water temps will stabalize and water clarity will improve).

Try to hit your favorite bodies of water at these times and I think you will find yourself getting into some bigger fish. Good Luck!
 
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