Football Season is Here
By Scott M. Petersen
Change is in the air. Days are starting to get shorter and these are accompanied by cooler nights. Leaves have taken on different colors and have started to fall from the trees; there is a change happening all around us, but one of the biggest changes to come at this time of the year is football season. No I'm not talking about the NFL or College football, this is the time of the season when bass start to head back to the shallows to put on the feed bag and get ready for the upcoming winter.
During this time of the season, bass from all parts of the lake will start to take up residence in the shallow flats of the lakes to get ready for the upcoming winter. The biggest part of this population boom will come from bass that were located in the depths all summer long. These bass are now starting to make their way back to the shallows for the first time since they have spawned. The fall action will be fast and will pay big dividends quickly. But to take part in all the action you have to keep your boat out and put in sometime on the water.
When the water temps start to drop with the cool nights this will be the trigger for bass to be on the move towards the shallows, and for deepwater bass, what will trigger their movement shallower is the lack of food. The bluegills that were the main food source during the summer months have made the move towards shallower water with these deepwater bass following not far behind.
To catch fall bass you have a few different options. First lets start shallow and work deeper as we go.
When the bass are on the weedflats there is probably not better baits to use than a spinnerbait or a lipless crankbait. Both of these baits allow you to cover water in your hunt for bass and this is key. Bass will be on the move looking for food, and the number one food source at this time of the will be bluegills. Therefore 3/8- to ¾-ounce spinnerbaits and lipless cranks are the best sizes to carry. 3/8-ounce sized baits for shallow weedy conditions to ¾-ounce for deeper water weed edges. It is key that you make contact with the cover, when the bait gets caught up give the bait a rip to get it free and start it on its way again. When the bait breaks free from the cover that is generally when you will get bit, so be ready.
When it comes to crankbaits you have been told for many years that when the water temps start to drop, crankbait fishing is done for the year, put your crankbaits away. If you follow this way of thinking you would not dare throw a crankbait during the fall months of the season. This statement is not anywhere close to the truth; fall time is crankbait time all the way until ice up. A crankbait being ripped free from the weeds has taken so many big fall bass for me I have lost count, in fact my biggest bass ever was caught in the fall on a crankbait.
Wide wobble baits seem to work best for this pattern for two reasons. The wide wobble allows the bait to come through the weeds, and the bass are able to track these baits down pretty easy too. That is key if you want to catch bass along the way. If I had to choose the best crankbait for this pattern in my opinion, Storms Magnum Wiggle Wart gets my vote. The wide wobble and sound that this bait puts off makes it perfect for this fall crankbait pattern.
Position your boat parallel to the weedline just far enough to make your cast and have your bait hit the edge of the weeds. The goal is to get the bait down and hit the edge of the weeds on its way back to the boat. If you get caught up give the bait a rip to break the bait free and on its way again. If the bait gets hung up, adjust your cast to get the distance right. For this pattern I use a 7 ½ foot cranking rod with a matching reel spooled with P-Line CX Premium12-pound line. This low stretch line is great for this high impact fishing.
If I were forced to pick just one bait that shines during the fall months year after year it would have to be the jig and pig or chunk combo. My jig of choice is Outkasts Pro Staff Jig teamed with the Outkast Chunk. This combination has taken many big bass fall season after fall season and can not be beat when the bite is on or off, either way this jig and chunk combo will catch bass. The best point about the jig-n-chunk combo is you can fish this bait from the shallows to the depths of the outside weedline. This is a great bait to follow up the crankbait presentation when you get into an area and take a few bass on a crankbait. Do not hesitate to go back through the area with the jig-n-chunk combo to target the less active bass.
Football season now has two meanings not only will teams be chasing the pigskin around the fields this fall, but also many bass fishermen will be chasing football-sized bass around on the weedflats getting in some late season bass action. Fall time bassin is easy, grab a handful of spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jig-n-chunks combos and hit the water. In general, bass will be on the prowl looking for food to get ready for the upcoming winter months. Fall is also the big bass time. Many of these summertime bruisers that live in the depths will be make their first appearances in the shallows since the spawn, do not let this big bass opportunity pass, football season is here.
Please remember to practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release). The future of fishing is in your hands. For more timely tips and tactics for bass please log onto fishinginsider.com