They seem to disappear for large parts of the year


While bass fishing has not been exceptionally great on Kentucky Lake the last few years, at times it can seem like there is not a bass in the lake. And there are far more of them I believe than red ear or shellcrackers in Kentucky Lake. I think in both cases, this is largely due to the fact that we don’t know what the fish do for large parts of the seasons. 

I believe as the water has cleared on Kentucky Lake, that our fish have become more nomadic, roaming on bait. I think they also suspend more. I believe shellcrackers suspend and/or go really deep for large parts of the year and come shallow just for small windows in the spring and fall. I think the rest of the time, they are foraging on the bottom in deep water and suspending when they are not eating. 

A shellcracker almost exclusively feeds down on the bottom. Knowing that, I almost exclusively fish with a drop shot rig with a very short leader to my weight. I don’t want the bait to get more than a few inches off the bottom and will often let slack go in the line so it will settle to the bottom. And then pick it up just enough to tighten the line. 

I will also count rocks with it. By that I mean I will pull the weight along so slowly, I feel it catch on each rock as it moves. So I’m moving it an inch or two at a time and then lowering my rod tip to let the slack lay the bait back on the bottom. 

Having a lot better understanding now, I plan to spend more time looking for shellcrackers deep in the summer and winter with this slow drop-shot red-worm approach.