View Full Version : The difference in the bite???

04-14-2009, 09:48 PM
I have asked so many people about this and NEVER got a ANSWER I was okay with.. up here o the columbia/willamette the bite is so obvious, no balancers needed.. we dont touch the rod until they are constantly pulling the tip 3+in down..... thats when we pick it up, then we let them eat it until they are really pulling then wack em!!! they are the same exact fish, our tagged fish have been caught down there.. so whats the DIFF? its so night and day its crazy

04-14-2009, 10:55 PM
that's a good question. That's why I'll be up fishing with you next month. We get tons of bites down here but we miss a whole lotta them. Maybe it's water quality, slower current, smaller average size. That sturgeon bite is very tricky. Most of the time it is 1 or 2 taps b4 it is gone. Sometimes it is 1 tap.... 60 seconds later, a lil bigger tap to get your chance to set the hook. Most bites are very tiny, but sometimes they do just inhale it & hook themselves. But I guess if you do catch a keeper down here, it is more rewarding cuz we gotta stay focused on that rod tip all day for the smallest movement. We gonna have a lotta fun when we get up there!

04-15-2009, 05:51 AM
As BGDBack wrote, the bites vary from very light taps to hard pull down. At times it's very difficult to see those light taps so many Dino hunters use balance beams to help detect those soft bites.

It's interesting to read that you guys don't touch your rods...you just let the fish run with the bait then set it...could it be the strong river current flow? As I understand, the anchoring is very different than down here. You folks use a "rocker" type anchor with pullies, bouy and 300' of rode. I read that it's recommended to have an extra anchor due to losing one getting lodged in the rocks. And the braid lines are 80# test with sinkers as much as 26+ oz. are much heavier than what's used down here. I've not caught many Dinos but the few I have caught were on 20# mono with 6 oz sinkers.

I'm headed up your way in mid-May to fish the Columbia for oversize Sturgeon. Can't hardly wait.

04-15-2009, 05:58 AM
I've heard you use American Shad (not little Threadfin Shad) which would be a much larger bait than what we use. If that's true, we use much smaller baits and perhaps that makes a difference in how they take the bait - ?


04-15-2009, 07:37 AM
The whole shad is only for oversize fish, and we also use small baits, most keeper baits are 2-4 in in length.. smelt, herring, sand shrimp, squid etc. not all the water up here is deep and fast, I fish alot of 5-10 ft water as well and slack tide also... so I dont think its that.. maybe its the number of fish up here compared to down there? I dont know allI know is it so diff, I have never in my life had a day up here we did not hook fish, let alone had to wonder if we got a bite, the 2 trips I have been on down there was less then stellar from what im used to with clients up here

04-15-2009, 07:35 PM
water clarity?

there isnt as much fish down here though thats for sure

but the delta is a big ol mudbath ,imagine all the smells in the water that the fish have to pick up on , vision might even play a role

just like halibut fishing...when is the fishing best? when the water is clear with a small tide

out here the sturgeon follow there noses the best they can untill they find what there smellin , compared to the more clear waters of washington where they can see what there about to eat

i only say this because those photos of the fish in the water looks like it was shot in the sea of cortez

04-15-2009, 10:29 PM
Personally I dont think that matters at all, sturgeon dont feed using sight whatsoever, they only thing they use is their nose, some of the best days I have ever had have been when the river is at flood stage and looks like chocolate milk, the fast current and flows move food around more and the fish go on a feeding frenzy, also dont let the columbia fool you, IM sure it has quite the amount of bait, remember it supports well over 1 million fish.. also it may look clear but normal visibility is around 2-3 ft.. its still a mystery to me!!!

04-15-2009, 11:29 PM
I get um, you dont ;D

04-16-2009, 07:46 AM
Lol yes that must be it please tell me your secrets!

04-16-2009, 08:55 AM
You really got to watch your rod like a hawk! Sometimes you get lucky with a really good visable bite or even a suicide bite. The last 3 sturgeon I hooked I was holding my rod and watching the tip. Bite was so lite I didnt even see the rod tip move, but felt the bite in my hands (tick,tick) and set the hook and fish on. I think if the rod was in the holders I would have never even seen it.

04-16-2009, 09:03 AM
The diffrent bite patterns my be due to number of fish? Up here they say an average fisherman has to put in around 40hrs to hook a legal fish. Some do way better and some much worse. I have heard of guys going for years with out even hooking a shaker sturgeon! So down here the sturgeon can take his time and eat slowly. Where in the columbia there are so many fish they have to suck down the bait before the next fish tries to get it first? I don't know, just a thought :-?

04-16-2009, 09:18 AM
I fish for dino's and my take is, our delta system is spread out and concentration of fish is not going to happen here unless we have shrimp and clams pouring out of a spickit! *The fish have choices and harvest spots that we have not honed in on! *So, if your not running and gunning your catch rate will be what your favorite spot produce.

Never been to your river (Columbia) and hear that it's the greatest concentration of dino's in the west. *It's a river with boundaries and tributaries! *We have a Ocean for a delta and quite a few rivers for them to choose from! *Our boundaries extend forever around here! *The bite is a selective bite for me, like other have noted. *Soft and sporadic and you have to be on the trigger like John Wayne! *;D *

04-16-2009, 09:25 AM
Wow! I just saw your other post and pictures! :o Why are you asking about our sturgeon fishing? :-?

04-16-2009, 12:06 PM
My guess in the change in bite is the water flow. You are fishing in a river system that is running at 5+ knots. They use alot more energy in those conditions, thus making the bite more aggressive, down here we have maybe 2 knots max current where we fish, alot are shallow water fishermen with no current, the fish are more relaxed and not using alot of energy to stay ontop of a bait. Thats what my pea-brain is telling me...but what do i know...

04-16-2009, 02:13 PM
The more fish thing has been said more then once, that might be it? also dont fool yourself, the columbia runs at 2-3.5 mph most of the time.. we do fish slack/shalow water as well, and even then the bite is very obvious to say the least..... still a mystery to me? keep the ideas coming guys!!

04-16-2009, 03:11 PM
No Mystery, smaller area to cover! Us, we have a whole bay to cover and Delta! We can go from salt to straight freshwater and from the Southbay all the way to Colusa and beyond! Your talking about the difference between fishing a river to Damn than fishing the Ocean! No mystery!

If you require help catching our fish, look into the Guide section. Our guides are Top-Notch here! Picking us will not up the ANTY son! ;)

04-16-2009, 04:52 PM
I dont see how a smaller area make the fish bite in a completely different way?

04-16-2009, 05:06 PM
hey greatrivers no matter how much more fish you catch out here in california we are still cooler then you therfore we win ;D

04-16-2009, 05:33 PM
My 2 cents and a twisted 2 cent theory at that: Almost all of our sturg ground is mud. We toss it out; it drops and sits in mud. I've always envisioned the sturgeon sitting over my bait sucking on it softly, sucking off the mud. And in his tiny dino brain he's "thinking" "Is this what my nose led me to? Is it right? Do I like it? Is there any reason I should be suspicious?" That's our 'tick, tick, tick"
For those of you familiar with elephant rock in tiburon and racoon straight, we had a great sturgeon run in the mid 80s. They were just laying out in front of the rock. The hits were almost all, "Pick up and run." I know the bottom out there isn't mud.
So, maybe it's the bottom; it's the conditions upon which the sturgeon encounters our offerings???????

04-16-2009, 09:55 PM
I must be a little twisted 2 , that makes perfect seance to me

04-16-2009, 10:21 PM
perhaps, but some of our bottom is mud as well..... i don think a bait cast out would really sink into the bottom very deep, as light as it is I would assume it would lay on top while the lead was a little deeper?

04-16-2009, 11:37 PM
hey greatrivers no matter how much more fish you catch out here in california we are still cooler then you therfore we win ;D


04-17-2009, 05:11 AM
perhaps, but... i don think..

You asked why and have received replies but you dispute each theory *:o. *Is it that you already know your answer? *:D ;D.

At any rate, I'll be headed up there next month, I'll look you up and give you the secret sniffer's hand shake and say "Hi" *;)

04-17-2009, 08:19 AM
I disupte any theory that doesnt seem right to me, hence the reason I am asking for more thoughts and opinions on this, I dont know the answer, all I do know is I am lucky to fish where I do.

04-17-2009, 10:48 AM
I think the difference is that fish in California waters are a little more laid back and relaxed :D *Dispute that.

Anyone out there fish for sturgeon in waters other than the Delta or Columbia? *How is the bite there? *I imagine each body of water being different, the behavior of the fish could very well depend on the water they are in, as everyone else has been saying. *Natural bait availability, water temps and clarity, competition for food, etc. *Even the taste of the water is probably different.

It would surprise me very much if the bite WAS the same everywhere. *I could master a technique or species locally and then be successful the world over?? *Not my experience so far.

04-17-2009, 11:09 AM
I think one of Mendo Man's points, competition for food is the explanation. More fish in a smaller biomass leaves less time for the decision making process. In Idaho we fish using baby hatchery trout (Morts) for bait. The Sturgies will literally suck the guts out of the Mort without swallowing the bait or hooks. To stop that we wrap the Mort in egg cloth used for tying egg sacs. Each system seems to have a different bite.

04-17-2009, 03:33 PM
Idaho bite with the trout is a little diff, we also used squid quite a bit when I went to school there, that bite was the same as the columbia... so I have fished in 3 of the 4 bodys of water with good numbers of white sturg.... columbia, snake and san pablo bay.. 2 of the 3 the biite was the same and from all I have talked with and seen from the fraser that bite is very much the same..... take salmon for a example.. doesnt matter where you are troling the hit like a freight train.. canada, alaska, wa, or, ca.. all the same

04-17-2009, 04:38 PM
Small world . *. *. * *:) *I didn't realize we had fished together below the Bonneville on the Fish Whisperer. Truly, welcome aboard!


04-17-2009, 06:56 PM
Iíve often pondered this same question.
The muddy bottom altering feeding habbits theory could have some merit. I donít know what the primary food source is in the Columbia and Snake but in the Sac drainage which is virtually all muddy it would almost have to be Clams which the fish suck out of the mud and eat shells and all. This whole system is just one giant Clam bed. Maybe the fish are just conditioned to suck on their food. Could be in the Columbia they are more tuned in to a reaction type bite from eating more live fish. Just guessing though.
This brings something else to mind that could also have a related reason. When drifting for Halibut in the bay (SF) they bite really soft most of the time and often take several seconds to take in the bait but when you troll they always hit it like a dump truck and engulf the bait. Always assumed that speed made the difference in that case causing a reaction bite, not sure though.
Good question.

04-17-2009, 08:31 PM
I almost hate to post this reply, because it would almost certainly mean I have passed up a lot of fish . but here it goes, we/in my boat *have always balanced our poles for sturgeon, and 95 percent of our hook ups have came from the classic pump pump down pick up pole feel weight set hook fish on. sometimes without the feel weight :D.
now Iv read these boards and I have no doubt that there is a subtle bit that is a sturg . and we have,!! since hearing about them,swung away on them , but the only results have been misses or starys or stripers . I have had a few hook ups from the bite where the pole while balanced just comes up 4- 5 " but that is usually on the side of deep holes and I'm not sure whats happening on that bite but it resulted in one of my biggest sturg. I saw my pole come up 5" then i hovered over my pole waiting for the follow up, *never *came went to real *in about 15 minutes later and felt like a snag I had the boat banked on slack and we wer *fishing on the edge of a 60 ' hole so I though it was caught on the edge lol tell it pulled back
I guess my ? to you guys is, *the tap tap bite, is that mainly from poles in pole holders, or our you also referring to balanced poles?
now if I had my poles in pole holders the pump,pump,pump would that look like tap tap or like up north would it look like pull pull pull? * * * * forgive my punctuation. ps Im not a big fan of getting my pole out of a pole holder probably never will

04-17-2009, 08:56 PM
IM no expert on them down there whre you guys are from, one thing I also noticed is the nose on most of yours seems very short and blunt, the ones up here are not like that at all.... yet its the same fish

04-17-2009, 09:05 PM
yes I've noticed that also our greens look more like your whites in the head area, maybe our sturgys have worn their snout's down working clam beds their hole lives / IDK

04-18-2009, 06:22 AM
I think the bottom might be the reason for it, IDK but thats a good guess for sure, you really can see a diff in the fish

04-18-2009, 07:24 AM
<side highjack>

You have just got to love all the talk of "tap tap" and "pump pump" with most everyone knowing exactly what they are referring to. ;)

I have by no means been a sturgeon catching fiend, but I've hooked a few and only one was the classic pump on a balancer. The rest have been little dips on the balancers or a light "tap tap" in the rod holder. Most times I would have sworn it was a small catfish or flounder taking the bait.

I have not the slightest notion as to why they would bite differently in the north rivers. :-/

04-18-2009, 08:04 AM
<side highjack>

You have just got to love all the talk of "tap tap" and "pump pump" with most everyone knowing exactly what they are referring to. ;)

I have by no means been a sturgeon catching fiend, but I've hooked a few and only one was the classic pump on a balancer. The rest have been little dips on the balancers or a light "tap tap" in the rod holder. Most times I would have sworn it was a small catfish or flounder taking the bait.

I have not the slightest notion as to why they would bite differently in the north rivers. :-/

My bites have also been every thing from a small taps, ticks, and flutters, but the classic pumps the old timers talk about are rare! I have had bites so lite that I felt a (tick-tick) in my hands while holding the rod but the pole tip didn't even move. I set the hook and fish on. If I was not holding the pole I don't think I would have even seen the bite it was so lite.

04-18-2009, 11:41 AM
That is probably why I have been skunked, save one 32" shaker that made a suicide take down. One of my rods is for the ocean, trolling and it is rather stiff, but my uglystick is flimsy at the top. I see a tap tap, pick it up, and usually it is gone. Or, I set the hook and get a 10" catfish. Going to resort to stick powder one of these days. [smiley=bomblighting.gif]

04-21-2009, 03:41 PM
Water temp, speed, clarity, bottom and all else considered. It has something to do with it all. Ill ask um next time I see one ;D

Do they actualy spawn in your waters? Or is it a feeding grounds they use? Not real sure, all I know is the biggons down here do not bite the same. The 140" I boated last Oct barely moved my rod tip.

Very good question, Maybe just maybe..Marty could help us with this one ;)

04-21-2009, 08:57 PM
yes they spawn in our waters, the area below the dam is where 99% of them spawn.....