A new way to target fry guarders, and gorgers

Tyler Rivet is now using his forward facing sonar to target fry guarders. “It looks like shad. But I’ve been fishing them long enough, I know that it’s fry. I’ve got a few of them marked like this, so now we just gotta go catch them. That’s the plan.” 

Fry are the minute offspring of recently bedded bass. Once the eggs hatch into fry, the smaller male bass typically guard them the first couple weeks while they grow. The fry stay in a small school or ball. So you’ll hear anglers make comments like, “There’s a ball of fry”. Or, “They’re guarding fry”.  

Bass guard fry against all sorts of predators, with bluegill being the most predominant on many fisheries in the southeast. But the big female bass also eat them up. Bass are opportunistic feeders. And they’re not afraid to eat their own. This makes the fry an easy meal to the mama bass that just spawned them. So these cannibalistic cruisers are often targeted by bass anglers, as they aggressively hunt down the small fry. 

Visually targeting these balls of fry is a great way to catch post-spawn bass. But the male fry guarders, and the big females that are often lurking nearby, can be a little finicky. Being able to sit back and target them from several more feet away with forward facing sonar is, you guessed it, a game changer. It’s hard for a writer to use that cliché at this point, and even taboo. But that’s just how big this deal could be. No better way to say it than to actually use the term when the game is truly changed. 

Rivet just landed a 4- pounder with this technique, effectively saving a hundred bass fry from impending doom. A fish this size on Murray is definitely a female. She wasn’t guarding fry, she was gorging on them. 

Photo by Andy Crawford