Lockjaw: The Causes and the Cures

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by Catcaller, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. Catcaller

    Catcaller Active Member

    The reasons fish stop biting vary...here's a run down of a few prominent short term culprits...

    1. Cold fronts...falling air temps, a wind shift to the north, clearing skies, and increased ultraviolet ray penetration alert fish that feeding opportunities are fixin' to be scarce. Fish sometimes react to this change by going into a holding pattern...either heading for deeper water...or holding tight to dense cover until the weather conditions improve, feeding opportunities improve.

    2. Barometric pressure has much to do with feeding habits IMO...it seems to me that when the barometer is high or low and holding...fishing isn't usually all that. A fluctuating barometer is when I have my best experiences. When a storm is brewing...I like to get out a day in advance if possible...but have had similar success during a soaking rain...even a suprise snowstorm one time fishing for walleye. They weren't biting...the snow started coming down...and those fish went on a binge. We got 12 in 2 hours...which is excellent for around here.

    3. Cold or cooling water affects flathead more than it does blues and channel...but still yet...the fishing methods are somewhat different in the winter compared to spring/summer.

    4. Habitat disruption. Weed spraying, a sudden influx of very muddy water into clear water from tributaries, and low dissolved oxygen from algae die off...or turning over.

    5. Fishing pressure. On lakes...especially smaller ones...that are over fished...the bigger specimines are normally all caught out...leaving only a few very wise lunkers who have seen it all.

    6. Moon Phases. Many outdoorsmen believe the moon strongly influences not just tidal waters...but the feeding habits of the fish themselves. (I do know that on the days preceding and following the full and new moons i have better luck)

    Curing Lockjaw...

    Patience...willingness to experiment with new techniques or try new spots...mobility...access to a buffet of bait offerings...and being ready for a bite to occur when you've already sat for 2 hours and nothing...and all of a sudden...a short run...and he's gone. (That missed fish...judging by my past experience...buys about another 3 hours on the water...lol)

    Downsize your bait presentation...during cold weather a fish will eat smaller offerings to allow for its metabolism operating more slowly being that they are cold blooded creatures...and can go longer without feeding again than in warmer water.

    Go natural...or "match the hatch" as your #1 plan (IE: FRESH cut or live bait...I prefer live)...if that's not producing...start serving up the buffet. Liver, bloodbait, dipbait, shiners, goldfish, redhorse minnows, or a small baitfish or a piece of cutbait impaled on a jig head works as well.

    Fish deeper...it only makes sense to follow the fish if they headed to deeper water. This is where a quality fishfinder comes in handy. Not only can you locate the dropoffs, humps, rocks, and other underwater structure where the fish may be holding...but even more importantly you can find the baitfish. You can bet that just because the fish went deeper...doesnt mean they're not still eating. Just not as much.

    Fish mudlines that form where muddy water flows in and meets clear water. Wherever the dropoff is...is typically where the mudline forms. The fish will lie in wait on the clear side...and ambush disoriented baitfish as they dart out of the muddy water into the clear. This is my #1 producing walleye tactic in the strip pits that have them. A small perch under a slip bobber, a fixed bobber, 3 way rigged, or carolina rigged has provided me with many a sweet eatin' walleye. I also get alot of real nice channel with this method as well.

    If the fish arent biting in the part of the lake that is clear...move to a murky tributary...or vice versa.

    Target suspended fish. Locate suspending blues, channel, crappie, or walleye schools with the FF...usually found near ledges, UW humps, or within close proximity of drop offs. Toss out a marker buoy, or set a waypoint on your gps to mark the spot.

    Try fishing shallow if that doesnt work. The fish there will be tattooed tight to cover...and are likely to have a much shorter strike zone than they normally would...so adapt accordingly.

    ANY type of current in an otherwise still lake or strip pit is a fine place to float a perch in....runoffs, natural springs, a seasonal creek, or an actual live creek. (Even better)

    A sudden warming trend in otherwise cold weather will sometimes prod a channel or flathead loose from its doldrums...and temporarily feed quite heavily.

    Fish at night...many of the big fish in a heavily fished spot are nocturnal by rule...with little exception. Set up on a mudflat...a shoreline next to a point (Where you have fish coming from two directions at you)...heavy cover in shallow water...especially if its convenient to deeper water...at the bases of tree trunks in standing timber....preferably in 8-20' deep water.

    Then theres the obvious...if your state DNR has a fish feeder in your lake...by all means exploit it if times are hard...or even if they're not...lol.

    The biggest cure for lockjaw however is persistence/patience...ya can't get a shot at the title if your line isn't wet.
  2. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Good Post ! Thanks for the info. I used to follow the solunar tables that were found in feild & stream magazines. I found them to be very accurate concerning the times that fish and game were most likely to be active. But like most good things , they took them out of the Field & stream magazines. I think you can still subscribe to them online. I think I just like to go fishing anytime I can, who knows? Maybe they will be biting the next time I go!

  3. tbull

    tbull New Member

    SW Ohio
    Great info thanks for the post. Fish sure are hard to figure out sometimes, thats what you keep at it.:wink:
  4. yeppa

    yeppa New Member

    Topeka, Kansas
    The surest way to cause lockjaw is to have me show up at a hot bite.

    The best cure is to pay me to go somewhere else.
  5. yadkinrivercats

    yadkinrivercats Member

    Great info Thanks for the Post
  6. Patmansc

    Patmansc Well-Known Member

    Greer, SC
    Pat Chaney
    It's apparent that you've spent lots of time on the water! Thanks for the info.
  7. prostreetS10

    prostreetS10 New Member

    thanks for sharing the great info.i have noticed sometimes throughout the year fish tend to hit smaller baits and won't touch something big.
  8. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Sherman IL

    Dang Mark, You must Fish Illinois quite a bit then :smile2::wink: