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Old 06-21-2004, 06:43 PM
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Bait Pictures - Tying Aid

I thought I would try this and see if it was usefull to some. As some of you may know I take pictures as often as possible. People laugh at me when I crawl around poking in the mud.....but every once in a while I get a good one that is useful. So, I am starting a Sticky thread here and every time I get a good new picture of some type of bait we all use I will post it, where I found it, etc. If anyone has any requests I will gladly take them.

My intention with this is not only to give a few pictures of some bait, but talk a bit more about where they are found, how they move, sizes, observations with fish, etc. In the warmer months I spend about as much time under the water as I do casting to it. What I have noticed over the last couple years is that what happens under the water is completely different than what I see looking down from above and that is incredibly usefull for fishing. May also be helpfull when sitting down at the vise. For example, color shading under water is completely different for most baits than when they are out of the water. I will try to get pictures of baits both in and out of the water as I see them.

For now its up for the sake of getting started but I intend to go back and edit my posts with more thoughtfull observations as I get time so I expect this to be a constantly evolving piece of work. I know there are also a few other divers/snorklers on the board that also have some thoughts.

P.S. My ID skills are not what they used to be so if anyone has anything to add or correct about what I call them by all means chime in.
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Last edited by ruge13; 06-21-2004 at 08:02 PM..
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:47 PM
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Ghost Shrimp / Grass Shrimp

This photo was taken in the Bass River, MA. These are free swimming shrimp usually found in groups. Almost completely Clear with the exception of what they ate and the eyes. This one was about 1 inch in length. The second photo is of a school of them (about 30). All found Shallow on a sand bottom. Out of the water their features are obvious, however like a flouro leader, put them under water and they dissapear as shown in the second picture.

They are particularly active around slack tides and at night. When in a current they hug tight to structure. At night they are attracted to the light I think. Smaller bait fish feed on them, which obviously brings in the bass. I also here they are squid food. I heard a theory that the microorganisms they feed on are sometimes luminescent so the light gives them away, hense attracting the shrimp. Usually any type of structure will hold them. Mottled bottoms will have them, especially a depression in the sand that has coolected weeds or other debree. They will school up there to feed.

Grass shrimp get there name because they are associated with Grasy calmer marsh tyope environments. Sliding a dip net throgh flooded grass shold pull more than anyone could ever want. They are an important food source for Tom Cod, a proven smelt bait.

They tend to avoid predators, or your hand in a jolted jerky movement. These spirts of energy are short lived an often only move a foot or so before slowing. Otherwise they move in a consistant slow pace when swiming around.
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:48 PM
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Juvie Flounder

Found in the Bass River. Shallow sand bottom. There were a TON of them in June. These small flounder actually hunt. They do not sit on the bottom and wait all day in one spot. They will move a foot or so at a time. Every couple of seconds. When they settle in a new spot after a short swim, a quick fluff of the modifies dorsal and anal fins dissolve the outline of thier bodies in the sand. A few seconds later they will be up and moving again.

Their colors vary, and can change to more closely match the bottom color as with most fish. They move in a swift fluid motion, not a jerky avoidance swim. One thing to note is that when they do move from place to place they do not disturb the sand despite staying remarkably close to the bottom. The only puff of sand that is seen is when they make a quick exit.

While fluke will hunt over rocks, flounder are more of a sandy bottom fish. They are found on the rocky north shore in abundance but usually in areas where the rocks are spread out, and broken up by channels of sand or mud between them.
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:51 PM
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Sand Shrimp

Found on a shallow sand bottom. Out of water from Bass River. Under water from Cape Ann. Larger than the Ghost or grasss shrimp and darker in color. Ranged from a dark mottled sand color to a more light tan. Very difficult to see and almost always submerged in the sand. Not free swimming like the Clear Ghost shrimp. Sizes ranged from 2 inches to 4 inches.

I also see TONS of these all the way to the North shore while snorkling. Usually in the sand betwen rocks. Where there are sand shriomp there are almost always flounder. They are also very inquisitive. If you layed your hand on the bottom they will come over to investigate. They move similar to flounder, dig in then move a foot or so and dig in again.

When disturbed, they do not run. They react very differently when wading to when I am snorkling. If I try to disturb them snorkling they will dig in. As if trying to hide in the sand. They do not run more than a foot or so. However when wading, if they are spooked by your feet they will run fast about a meter or so and then dig in. Making them much harder to find.
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:52 PM
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Sand Lance / Sand Eel

This is a smaller specimen from Chatham. Although Olive or Tan over while in this picture, they often glow Chartruce in the sun.

When free swimming in schools. Usually they apear ribbon like in the water, moving in uniform directions with the school. They display a typical Shoaling behavior like most bait fish. But when left on thier own or not threatened they feed on micro organisms free swimming. They do not move in a uniform direction. Instead, its as if they spot a piece of food, coil up a bit like a snake waiting to strike, and then lunge at it irratically. The more green pictures above show this motion a bit. Interesting to note is at night, silversides display the same feeding behavior. They can be a difficult bait to imitate because of the sheer umbers of thier schools and the usual small size. Thier motion is more like an American eel, where more than half their body length undulates with the tail motion for swimming. Another reason why they are difficult to imitate with a fly.

The oposite to this is where they get thier name. They will bourogh in the sand to avoid detection. Often running a yard or so, and digging under again. There have been a number of inovations that play with the placement of wieght on the fly to mimic this motion, and disturb the bottom.

Sand Eel Video http://reel-time.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38701
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Old 06-21-2004, 06:59 PM
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Mummichog or Killifish?

At first I would have said Mummichog, but now after seeing the pictures in detail I am leaning more towards Banded Killifish. However, The habitat was more mummi in nature. These are found all over. They are the shallow water schooled up fish often found in 3" or less of water. This one was an average size of about 3" long. Pics are from Chatham and the Bass River. Anyone know exactly what it is?

The second picture although horrible because I was too close, shows the flat head....does that help??

Either way, behavior. Unlike most fish, when scared they run to shallow water, not to deeper water. So shallow they are often coming up on the shore line with their backs out of the water. They will run open ocean beaches but are most often found in marshes or backwater areas. The weaker the current the better, they are usually found in stagnent water tidle pools. They easily caught since even just a piece of bred will hold them densly packed. They also tear apart those discarded racks left at boat ramps. If they are not spooked, you can attract them to you by disturbing the sand. Slow movements with your fingers will create puffs of sna dor mud that peek thier attention.

Even when they are found in deeper water they tend to hug the bottom in fanned out schools, they do not ball up.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:05 PM
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I'd have to say mummichog or related. Kilifish have sharply delineated stripes and a more elongated head.

Last edited by Sagebrush; 06-21-2004 at 07:07 PM..
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:06 PM
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Green Crab

This picture was taken in Cape Ann. They are all over in all kinds of sizes. They often molt mid spring. Found most often on Rocky bottoms at any depth, but also frequent sandy bottoms and will burry themselves beyond recognition.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:11 PM
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Rock Crab

I wouldn't have said this was a bait type for Bass, at least not a significant bait, until last year when I caught a bass with a 6" crab in its mouth in chatham. So here it is. Pics are from Cape Ann, except for the Chatham bass. They are hard shelled and like the green crab found most often around rocks, but also dug in the sand or mud. I have never been able to find rock crabs less than about 2" accross.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:13 PM
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Scup / Porgy

Liveline favorate for some. Found all over the North East, more often south. There are regs in Ma as to how large they have to be to liveline, but account for some large Bass and Blues.
Although they are easy to catch with bait, under the water they are known as a skittish, shy fish that is hard to get close to, a real challenge for spear fisherman. Colors are similar to a redfish with Bright copper reds. Have also seen them with Dark black stripes running vertical. This one came from Buzzards bay.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:26 PM
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Lobster

Bass love them. I have seen Bass follow me while Snorkling for lobster and have had fish take a short and tear it to pieces. Not a ton of flies n the market that immitate a lobster effectively. Although most people associate them with Rocky bottoms, they also bury in the sand or mud. Nocturnal feeders. Also more active on overcast or rainiy days.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:28 PM
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Hickory Shad

A fall apearence on the South Shore. This one was caught in Pt Judith RI. The runs seem to be on and off late fall. They are a larger bait. Will take a fly, but there are always stories of large Bass taken up in the rivers on Shad when they are around.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:31 PM
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Atlantic Mackerel

Show up Spring and Fall. These pics are from Cape Ann in the Fall. Account for large fish and are easily duplicated with a fly. Fast moving fish usually associated with deeper water. However, I have seen them hit peanut bunker in less than 5 feet of water slicing through the school like Tuna. Fun on a light weight rod or to keep kid's attention. Sizes range from tinker Macs around 3-4" to larger fish upwards of 18" or so.
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:36 PM
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Peanut Bunker / Juvie Menhaden

Invade early summer through the fall and often account for the most memorable blitzes every year. Usually small, 1" to 2 or 3" in size in tightly packed schools. Usually dark over silver in color out of the water so most patterns are tied with those colors in mind, however, in the water (like the sand eel) they are more of a green to Chartruce in color. Slower moving than other bait fish.

I added the last picture because it shows the back coloration. Most flies have a dark back, which in some light is true. but most of the time, in high light level situations they are a bluish green if not Chartruce in color...

Schools are usually dense
http://reel-time.com/forum/showthread.php?t=34134
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Last edited by ruge13; 09-20-2004 at 08:24 PM..
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Old 06-21-2004, 07:39 PM
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Pollock

Found predominately on the North shore in cooler water. These pics are from Cape Ann I have found them as shallow as 4 or 5 ft in small schools of 5 to 10 fish. Seen them year round. They are easily caught, will take most anything that moves. Although some people think they are not the best to eat, Bass seem to love them. I think this is an underestimated bait and again, nto a lot of people tying flies that imitate them. Brown out of the water, but almost all black under the water. Normally found near bottom and tight to rocks. Typically from 9" to about 15" however larger sizes found offshore. Norway has some impressive 20lbers caught every year.
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