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Great Fall Fishing !

Two events trigger early and later Fall patterns. Crisp, cool nights and the shortening of Daylight dramatically start
lowering the water temperature. Many anglers put away their equiptment at this time of year and settle down on the
couch to watch football games or start getting their gear ready for the upcoming hunting season. By doing this, you can
miss some of the best fishing of the year.

The Falls rapid fire cold fronts during Autumn cool the water in the Flats and shallow coves first, Just as these are the first to warm in the Spring. The wave action and cool water trigger algal blooms as the nutrient rich bottom mixes with the upper water. This, in turn, triggers the bottom of the food chain to get IN GEAR. The shad or minnows are drawn to the flats
and coves to feed on the plankton and the bass are drawn there to feed on the shad.

Unfortunately, this doesnt happen all at once and the rapid on-coming cold fronts can turn fish on and off daily.

Bass that lived in weeds all summer move to cover on the flats and wait for schooling shad to give them an opportunity to feed. If you fish a reservoir, look for bass in creek channels near the flats. Here bass bunch up and wait to feed on schooling shad offshore.

Remember, at this time, cold fronts can TURN ON fishing. The windy conditions can blow the plankton into the backs of the coves or flats, followed by the minnows, and then the bass. I feel that if you know Why conditions can turn bass on, you will become a better bass fisherman. The exact condition that turns fish off in the summer (Cold Fronts) can turn fish on in the fall period. So, when fall begins, fish the backs of the coves and Flats with cover first, then gradually move deeper.

Baits to use

In the fall season, I primarily use 3 baits covering various water depths. The best all around bait that I use in the fall is the crankbait followed by the spinnerbait and if these dont produce, I fish deeper with a Carolina rig and 4 inch worm.
I use a 4 - 8 foot running crankbait to fish the backs of coves and flats in chartreuse or white color. I use heavier line
(17-20 lb)as I will be trying to bump off any available cover that I can find. Dont be afraid to lose a crankbait. Is $5.00 worth catching a lunker bass to you? I use a Berkley Frenzy or an Excaliber Cranker most often as I find that these are less likely to hang up for me. As I fish deeper in the cove, I'll try a 3/8 oz spinnerbait in white or chartreuse/white combo. These colors seem to draw strikes best as shad imitators in the fall. If you spot shad breaking the surface at a cove or flat, try throwing a Rattletrap with a long cast, as the bass are easily spooked in shallow water. Dont motor up on top of them with your boat or your bonus opportunity will be lost.
If I have to move to the deeper water in the cove or flat (OUTSIDE WEEDLINE or first drop-off up to 15 ft.) I'll use a Carolina rig with a 1/2 oz Mojo weight, 2 1/2 foot leader and a 4 inch plastic worm or french fry in Junebug or Berkley's Green fin colors. Work the RIG slow as the bigger fish bite better for me with a slower presentation. If their deeper, they are not generally in an agressive mood so keep it slow. This has paid off, putting some nice fish in the boat for me, when otherwise I would get skunked.

Fall means trying different coves or flats around your lake until you find the fish. Keep Moving. Dont get discouraged if the first few coves dont produce. Try them again at different times of the day. Coves or flats adjacent to creek channels are usually the best because bass use the channels as highways to move from deep to shallow and then back to deep in winter.

Fall pond Fishing can be hit or miss. Ponds usually cool down faster than lakes and weeds tend to die off sooner. In Ponds,
as in lakes, the bass tend to school up and generally roam the pond hunting for food. If the bass come upon a school of minnows or shad, they have a tendency to split up and surround the shad keeping them tightly bunched up. The smaller and medium sized bass charge into the school hitting and eating as many baitfish as possible. The bigger Bass tend to stay below all this activity easily picking off dying or injured baitfish that drift down to them. If you happen to observe this activity(many baitfish jumping out of the water trying to escape) you can simply cast into the boil with several different lures.I like using a sinking Rapala or a castmaster spoon to get the presentation down below the feeding frenzied smaller bass and to the bigger ones suspended below. Many times, however, you will catch a smaller bass before you get the Big one as they are more aggressive.

If you dont happen to observe this activity on your pond, you have to do the walking and casting approach. I like to use a mini-king 1/8 oz spinner bait or a 3 1/2 inch suspending Rapala jerkbait and walk around the pond fancasting one area then moving down the bank 20 feet or so and repeat. You're hunting for the roaming schooling bass and when you find them, hang
on. Usually several bass will try to hit your lure at once and I have caught several double headers on one Rapala. Sometimes you dont find them and you get Zip. If you know of an area where shad or minnows frequent in your pond, then try this area several times during the day as sooner or later this will produce fish for you. An incoming creek or drainage area is usually one of these areas to try often.

Late Fall

Late Fall is a completely different situation. Weeds are sparse and the continuing water temperature drop will begin to move bass deeper. Bass will still be bunched up so if you find them, it will be a Bonanza. At this time, bass will move from any outside weed edges still available, to their deeper wintering water depth. as cold fronts come and go. Here, you need to use
your electronics as your eyes. Search from the first dropoffs of the flats to the second or third dropoffs depending on depth.
Also study your maps carefully. If you find the first dropoff near a creek channel, mark that spot and try them first. I prefer using a deep diving crankbait such as a DB-22 in chartreuse color. If you have marked fish on your finder and they wont hit the cranker, try slow rolling a spinnerbait in 3/4 or 1 oz to keep it near the bottom. Try a pumping action action also as this has triggered strikes for me on inactive bass.

FALL can be a great time of year to fish IF you know where to look. REMEMBER that fish use these seasonal patterns year after year. So, if you find a great cove or flat that produces fish in the fall, Mark it on your map as they will use that same area at the same time next year. Try giving up a football game and give fall fishing a try. If you dress warm, and bring plenty of hot coffee, you could be in for some of the best fishing of the year as bass feed heavily before their winter inactivity.
Gook luck this fall. I'll see you on the water!


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