January 31, 2012
By Matt Straw
Don't often travel in big packs. They may tend to be solitary in some environments.
Often hunt different forage. They may not hunt different species, but they certainly look for squadrons of larger specimens if they can find them.
Put up with fewer imperfections in your presentation.
Exhibit lower activity levels than smaller fish after cold fronts.
Can be caught on structure, in basins, on bottom, suspended, in cover, or in open water anywhere from 3 to 80 feet down in winter, depending on what environment you're fishing. But you can depend on one thing: Most will be associated with the most populous baitfish in the system.
Require more calories. When active, they can be drawn in with big rattling spoons and rattlebaits.
"Didn't get big by being stupid." Cliche, yes. Wrong, no. Big fish get spooky. I walk around clear ice, so I don't throw shadows over their heads. Big things walking overhead certainly could be unnerving. If we spot big fish with cameras or big marks on sonar, I try to quiet my act down a little bit. Sometimes I fish without sonar.
Then again, that's Tony Roach holding the big fish, not me. He might say something totally different. I'd listen to him, if I was you.