North American Fishing Guides


by Russ Bassdozer

July is the time of season when regardless of where you are located or what bait species you have there, cohesive schools of miniature young-of-year of all species are abundant. Not just larval shad but larval bluegills, crappies, minnows and all species swarm in dense schools, dimpling the surface in big sheets of life in July.

When bass are feeding on these tiny larval baitfish clouds, it can be very frustrating to anglers. Fussy eaters that they are, bass can dial into this abundant early summer food source almost exclusively - and tune out larger baits, much to our frustration.

This is the situation - bass feeding on larval shad clouds and ignoring other offerings - that prompted me three seasons ago (July, 2001) to produce the 905 Senko Shiner color (clear with gold, silver & black flakes) to imitate these flashing schools of larval baitfish in early summer.

I do feel bass mistake this 905 Senko to be a flashing school of larval bait, not an individual adult baitfish. It is the primordial instinctive perception by the bass of the "larval cloud" contained within the flickering gold, silver and black flakes that matters here. To attempt to prove this point, I've even rigged the 905 Senko in a circular "doughnut" shape on the hook, which is no less effective in these larval shad feeding situations than a
straightly-rigged Senko. In fact, I often watch bass jump from one side to the other of the Senko Shiner as it falls, seeming to use the sides of their bodies as if trying to herd and ball my Senko into a tighter cluster before slurping down the "baitfish school".

During this time of year, look for clouds of larval baitfish in your area. You'll know the bass are keying on them when you see sheets of fry sprinkling out of the surface by the hundreds in unison. These dense larval clusters drift in clouds since they are too tiny to maneuver under their own power. At this size, they really haven't any worthwhile swimming power yet. They can't outswim predators.

When bass are doting on tiny larval shad or other larval species, it is more of a slow-swimming, mouth-open leisurely feeding pace since the small fry with tiny fins do not swim well. They flit and flash about in perfect unison, using the dense school as their only protection, which is not much.

Toss the 905 Senko Shiner into this situation. It was designed to imitate a helpless drifting school of larval baitfish in early summer. It has proven effective at that for me these past three July seasons and can work for you too this glorious month of July, 2003. Please enjoy.


Russ Bassdozer

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