the surface and at any given point you may see twenty or more fish feeding on shad on the surface at a given time. So first off, how do we find break fish? We need to locate areas in our fisheries where fish will target shad during the summer months. This may be in the mouths of coves, or on the tips of long sloping points that the fish and shad may relate to. Once in these areas there are two ways of find these fish, with the first being visually seeing them. Often times during the summer months I will drive around the lake at a slow speed scanning back and forth looking for fish busting shad on the surface. This is the easiest and most obvious way of finding them. However, you cannot eliminate water just by not seeing them on the surface. The second way to find these schools of fish is by using our electronics. With properly set sensitivity on your electronics, you can locate the balls of bait on your graph, and the arches or fish surrounding, within, below, and above the bait ball. Combining these two methods makes searching for break fish and schooling fish much easier. Remember to always keep your eyes open during the summer and early fall months when roaming your local fishery, you never know where you might find the next group of schooling fish.
When fishing for break fish it is important to
note that this can often times be a game of
numbers. Frequently the smaller fish are the
most active, so often times you may find your-
self going through numbers of smaller fish
before weeding your way through to the larger
fish. Still, it is a very effective technique and
method of fishing whether its fun fishing with
a friend for a fun day on the water, or fishing
your next tournament.
Upon finding these fish, there are a wide variety of baits, techniques, and depths, which we can target these fish effectively at. First, lets cover some basics on the types of gear we want to use when targeting break fish. The majority of the time, these fish will be in areas where there may not be too much cover nearby. This allows us as anglers to downsize our line size, use lighter baits, and increase the number of bites we will get when fishing for schooling fish. Fluorocarbon line is essential, as it will increase your sensitivity for the light bites, but also minimize stretch ensuring a good hook set. Often times when fishing for break fish, you must make long casts to reach the fish breaking the surface which is why it is important to use a fluorocarbon line. Also, to increase casting distance, a thin diameter line, anywhere from 6-12lb at most matched with a 7’ rod will help you reach those fish busting shad on the surface that may usually be out of reach. When fish are chasing bait on the surface it can often be frustrating trying to catch them as you find yourself throwing what seems like everything in your arsenal