I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

• My Fall Plans

It's not exactly fall yet here. The temps during the day are hitting the mid to upper 80s, but the leaves are starting to fall and the morning temps are dipping into the 50s. I'm still fishing in summer mode. That gives me some extra time to think about fall fishing. There really isn't any winter fishing down here. Consider it an extended fall season. Last year was the first year I really put any effort into paying attention to the changes going on under the water. I read a lot about where bass like to go and what lures are considered traditional fall bass lures. Again, Louisiana doesn't have a typical pattern.

Last year I discovered that 60 degrees was the magic temperature when the bass stopped biting. When the water gets cold, bass get up close and personal with submerged timber and get up against trees because those kinds of things retain heat. I'm not sure if 60 degree water has that kind of an effect. The lake I usually fish has a lot of trees, but the water is drawn down in late fall and many cypress trees are completely exposed down to the ground. I don't know very many places out in deeper water that holds any structure. That's what makes this lake tough in my opinion. The hydrilla dies off for the most part, but you can run a crankbait around and find the brown stuff easily. When the water temps drop below 60 this year, I'm going to enter a new phase of learning assuming I'm around for fishing. I could be wrapping up my final two rotations elsewhere in the country.

So when I think of fall fishing, there are certain lures I am more likely to throw. These include crankbaits, both lipped and lipless, including rattle traps, stickbaits and jerkbaits, the spinnerbait, and jigs. Topwater poppers and buzzbaits are still able to catch fish here and there. I'm not a fan of the jerkbait yet.

As I've said before, one can talk for hours about crankbaits. From what I've read around the internet and in magazine articles, this is the time of year to throw a crankbait with a tighter wobble. That means cross off the square lipped cranks and those fat bodied cranks with fat lips. You've got to look at the narrow bodied cranks, however that's never stopped me from throwing a crank with some wobble to it. They will still catch fish. Rattle traps are also on the list as they also have a tight wobble. My favorites come in chrome, chrome/blue, and shad, although many people swear by a red crawfish color. Everybody has their favorite. I generally only throw 1/4oz traps, but when you consider the baitfish swimming around this time of year, you might go larger. How to reel them in this time of year is another question I still have. I'm more likely to do a steady burn, but I'm trying to experiment with a stop drop or twitch technique out in deeper water.

I doubt I'll be throwing any stickbaits, but the Rapala Floater 11 is one of my favorite lures. A Smithwick Rogue is another great bass lure. I'm more likely to throw these in less than 4' of water than deeper water. I'll get something with a bigger lip if I head out that far.

Spinnerbaits are still great bass catching lures this time of year. I don't think there's a wrong way to fish one either. Figure out what the fish want and then keep doing that all day. I'm going to be working on slow rolling this year. I also plan on having a Vibrashock Swimblade ready to go. When nothing is biting, a swimblade can coax out a few bass.

Jigs are still not my go to bait. I'm not confident with them nor do I fish them as slow as I should. I do try to force myself to use them for an extended period of time to get used to the sensation. I own a few BPS Enticer jigs. I've been using Lake Fork Pig Claw trailers, but I may spring for some Paca Chunks if I can find some. I don't know where I should be casting the jigs. Like I said, I don't know of many spots with under water structure. I have to stick to working around the trees. If the water doesn't drop too low, I'll try the submerged tree where I caught the 5lb 11oz bass in the photo in the sidebar.

I mentioned topwater lures too. I'm not so sure how well a buzzbait will do. I've thrown them the last couple of years in the fall and rarely had any takers. Poppers sometimes get a few more takers too. Traditionally, both can be worked in the shallow stuff, but can prove successful over deep brush. I failed to mention earlier that I also have my torpedo in tip top shape in the fall. These chain pickerel come up in the shallow water this time of year and in my opinion are fun to catch. The locals club them to death and call them bad fish. The tournament anglers moan and groan about "jack fish" too. They are beautiful fish with teeth. They are also picky and spook easy. I've had luck catching them on a teeny torpedo and smaller wide wobble cranks worked slow and steady.

Soft plastics have never been a go to lure in the fall. One reason is that the line can't take the cooler water all that well. We'll see how the Gamma Copolymer does. One lure that I will definitely consider is the Lake Fork Craw. If I use it, I'll drag it slow along the bottom. I may add a bullet sinker. I'd work just about any plastic this way when things cool down.

Those are my thoughts on fall this year. Whether or not any of it will pay off is anyone's guess. I'm always learning.


JM Ridlon said...

I will agree with the consensus that crawfish patterns work well in the fall, I have always found this-not to say a given fish wouldn't have hit another pattern, but all the same I've had luck with this. As far as jigs, you should definitely switch to these when the fish get tight to wood as you mention. The rest of the winter, if your still fishing, get to know this bait as you will hook some of the biggest fish of the year fishing tight to cover in cold water. All the biggest fish I have caught (with a few exceptions on a crankin pattern) have come from flipping a jig in thick cover.

The crankbait pattern is a killer in the fall as you mentioned from your reading. A few years back I used to fish tournaments at a small reservoir in Virginia and got on a unique pattern during the fall. I was cranking the edge of a channel that crossed a road bed. Earlier that spring I sunk some brush down there and was using a shad-r to bump the brush and rocks on the bottom. The fish seemed to hit only after 1 pm for some odd reason, and this pattern held almost the whole season. Once they started though it was every other cast-three pounders mostly. My partner and I won all 3 fall events while everyone else was beating the banks with spinnerbaits catching 12 inchers. Look for those submerged structures if the lake/river you fish has them.

BassFishingDem said...

That's the thing. Cross doesn't have a lot of good structure when you get out in the main lake. I have to settle with islands and duck blinds where they've built up from the bottom. I'll have to dig out a very basic topo map of that lake and post it on here.