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A-Jay

It's Not Fall yet.

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I really like the fall bass fishing season.  When it's on, it's such a great time to get on both numbers and size; some Real Gorillas too.  But in my excitement I often fish presentations that the bass aren't quite ready to get on.  So, I'll struggle a while until the deal I'm going with is right. Sort of dumb when I think about it.

This excerpt from a recent article by B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament Pro Greg Hackney, has me paying a little bit more attention to what's going on. It was dated 01 Sept 2016.

"I’ve been reading about fall, and how it’s just around the corner. That might be true but here’s the deal: It’s not fall yet. It’s the end of summer. That’s not the same thing, not even close.

These are what I call the blah days. It’s the end of summer. That means the air is starting to cool, but not by much. The days are getting shorter, but only by a few minutes. The water temperatures are high, but levels are mostly low. The fish are scattered and aren’t doing much of anything. This is typically the time of the year when you’ll catch less weight than at any other time.

The late summer approach that I’ve developed over the years is to fish with smaller lures and to target isolated pieces of cover. I try to catch numbers rather than big fish. My thinking is that if I can get enough of them into the boat some of them will be respectable.

Typically I throw baits like a 1/8-ounce buzzbait, a tiny spinnerbait or a Strike King 1.0 crankbait. Any of them will come pretty close to what they’re eating. Despite what you hear and read, most of the shad and other baitfish at this time of the year are small. If they were born in April or May, they just don’t get that big by August and September.

I do flip and pitch some. My first, and usually my only, choice is a 4-inch tube weighted with a 3/16 or 1/4-ounce sinker. I want something that’s about the right size and not too intrusive. That’s the thing about late summer. Most of the bass are not aggressive right now.

They’ll eat something if it looks good, but they won’t go to any great lengths to get it. You have to go slow and easy to catch them. In another month or so when things really start to change that won’t be the case."

Makes perfect sense to me, especially considering what has worked and not worked for me the past couple of weeks.

A-Jay 

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Good write up. They are getting me excited too soon as well. Its like how the stores sell Christmas stuff around Halloween. 

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Late summer the bait fish can still be small so my favorite drop shot soft plastic is Basstrix Bait Fry and Flashtrix minnows nose hooked.

Tom

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Agreed. Good article. You know... water temps play a big role in "why it's not fall yet". In my mind, water temps nearly define "fall".

The last four vids I've cut are about this very thing. "Fall" has started a bit early for me this year with a stretch of back-to-back downright chilly cold fronts. Most years summer just hangs on, pretty much as Hackney describes: hot and low water, resulting in some rather long days on the water. This past month, it's been wonderful here. :) 

2b.jpg

1b.jpg

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4b.jpg

Same fish as #3 ^^

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3 hours ago, A-Jay said:

I really like the fall bass fishing season.  When it's on, it's such a great time to get on both numbers and size; some Real Gorillas too.  But in my excitement I often fish presentations that the bass aren't quite ready to get on.  So, I'll struggle a while until the deal I'm going with is right. Sort or dumb when I think about it.

This excerpt from a recent article by B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament Pro Greg Hackney, has me paying a little bit more attention to what's going on. It was dated 01 Sept 2016.

"I’ve been reading about fall, and how it’s just around the corner. That might be true but here’s the deal: It’s not fall yet. It’s the end of summer. That’s not the same thing, not even close.

These are what I call the blah days. It’s the end of summer. That means the air is starting to cool, but not by much. The days are getting shorter, but only by a few minutes. The water temperatures are high, but levels are mostly low. The fish are scattered and aren’t doing much of anything. This is typically the time of the year when you’ll catch less weight than at any other time.

The late summer approach that I’ve developed over the years is to fish with smaller lures and to target isolated pieces of cover. I try to catch numbers rather than big fish. My thinking is that if I can get enough of them into the boat some of them will be respectable.

Typically I throw baits like a 1/8-ounce buzzbait, a tiny spinnerbait or a Strike King 1.0 crankbait. Any of them will come pretty close to what they’re eating. Despite what you hear and read, most of the shad and other baitfish at this time of the year are small. If they were born in April or May, they just don’t get that big by August and September.

I do flip and pitch some. My first, and usually my only, choice is a 4-inch tube weighted with a 3/16 or 1/4-ounce sinker. I want something that’s about the right size and not too intrusive. That’s the thing about late summer. Most of the bass are not aggressive right now.

They’ll eat something if it looks good, but they won’t go to any great lengths to get it. You have to go slow and easy to catch them. In another month or so when things really start to change that won’t be the case."

Makes perfect sense to me, especially considering what has worked and not worked for me the past couple of weeks.

A-Jay 

Nailed it...

Are you my brotha-from-another-mother?

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Great thread!

 

:respect-040:

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With this being my first year fishing I'm pretty excited about fall this year. Can't wait till it get a little cooler out and the fish start biting better then they did all summer. 

Next year will bet first prespawn and I'm really looking forward to that. 

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Not bad for a Yankee! ;)

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I am really looking forward to the air and water cooling, because the fishing was way off this year. The problem we had is that the water levels were low early and they are high now. The rain was kind of backwards for us this year.

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September can be a tough month for me . I'll be fishing all next week at my home lake Mark Twain . The biggest tourney of the year is held in two weeks and there will be a lot of people prefishing for it . I might have to go small and avoid the community holes . Nice timing with the article . 

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  Strike king  and Stanley usually does ok off me this time of year. The SK bitsy bug jig and Stanley's 1/8 oz vibrashaft wedge spinnerbait are staples for me. I'll "start" by buying a dozen or 2 of each, and "tweak" them the way I do. Handtie on the custom skirts I painstakingly make 1 strand at a time, touch up the hook by bending it upward just a touch, and sharpen it to the point its almost surgical. clean up the weedguard on the jig (no paint allowed ty Mark B.) then acquire the proper color trailers for both. Usually zooms salty chunk jr for the jig, which I trim to give a smaller profile,..or a 101 pork rind (again trimmed), and a 3 inch curly tail grub for the tiny spinnerbait. These 2 and a certain 1/8 ounce Yo-zuri pins minnow are my main baits for this "tough" time of year. But, using them you wouldnt think it is a "tough" time. It takes light (8 or 10#) line, and a 6'6" or 7' med lite spinning rod to throw the spinnerbait and minnow. And I use a old 5'9"shimano med heavy xl spinning rod paired with a old semytre 4000 reel spooled with stren 12# for the jig. And do they work? OMG! you'd think it was late fall, and your tossing "the magic lure" while they're feeding up for the freeze. Smallies really go bananas for them, but buckets like them too.

These are lures that those "blah days"??? I use to put some fish in the boat. Its taken a awful long time for me to come up with these gems. They kick butt up here, when nothing else seems to work, and I know its the size of the smelt/shad/herring right now thats the key. But, I cant help but wish I had them when I was tourney angler. I know things would be different, as it was those "tough" days back then that really stumped me, and forced these solutions. I got tired of being a "contributor" and sought out articles on this time of year and read, and read, and read.... Everything pointed towards smaller offerings so I did so, and these are what I ended up with. Did my grub/jighead work? yeah but sketchy like, I wasnt cashing any checks with it. But by the time I found these 3 I was done with tournies.

This "blah days" scenerio seems to be a fickle thing though. Some years its early, some late, some even seemingly non-existent. Maybe its a yankee thing as our temps are generally cooler than say Texas, or Florida. And the upper atmospheres jet stream plays a varing "game" with us up here. But I imagine that you southern anglers are faced with this as well, just maybe in a different manner, like maybe a longer period, or a higher degree of figuring out those finicky bass. I cant be sure as I only fished wilson and pickwick one spring. So, I can only imagine what you deal with this time of year.

 Some year I will get down there to fish the fall season, and I actually look forward to it. But this year? I will hopefully get out on the boat and be fishing these three "light solutions". Its a gratifying feeling when you end your day, and at the ramp you get that famous question. "How'd ya do?",...  years ago?,..I learned to just say "I did ok,.you?" as I didnt want to give away my secrets. But nowadays?,... I'd just as soon offer them to you all here, they have done good by me, and hopefully one of them may just turn someone's "tough day" into a day to remember. And trust me, when you're out all day, burnt out from the sun, exhausted from tossing huge deep diving cranks. Stumped by a few hits, but no takes. Switching over to these lighter options, is a godsend. But keep in mind,..it takes "Light Line" no hauling them over the gunnel type fishing. Much like the dog days finesse fishing, but different

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I think ,the problem is fishing pressure .   Bass are  not migrating up the creeks just yet  and they have been hammered all summer . I use to have a   honey hole that  nobody else fished  . I won a September tourney there and the word got out . Now  you cant catch a fish there this time of year.

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A Jay, as you know I've been doing some panfishing over the past few weeks. You mentioned downsizing. I've been using nightcrawler pieces for bluegill. Let's say 1"-1.5" long on a long shank gold aberdeen Eagle Claw hook with a splitshot dragging bottom in 12-14fow. Been hammering bass in the 13"-15" range. As far as bass go, that's not too impressive BUT it says a lot about downsizing and slow presentation.

Maybe it's Ned Rig season....

That's all I got:D 

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Downsizing and slowing down has worked for me the last couple days.  Typically the slowest I fish is hopping a Senko with a 3/8oz weight but with the way it has NOT been cooling off yet I have been throwing weightless Senkos(which worked), Ned Rigs(which worked), and yesterday I threw a Trick Worm on a half-***ed Carolina Rig and just let it sit for a while.  That worked to the tune of my unofficial PB.

20160908_131247.jpg

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Two baits I rely on a lot during late summer are a RocketShad and a Booyah Boo Rig with a small crappie size crankbait.   I can follow up with a drop shot or shakey head with a french fry.

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Consecutive near record 90 + degree days upon  days on end still hold the South East hostage - send a cold front !

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"Best Day Of The Year" on a local pond last Thursday. Give this a try: Rage Tail Structure Bug on an Owner 5/0 J-Rig.

 

:fishing-026:

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"They’ll eat something if it looks good, but they won’t go to any great lengths to get it."

That is the key sentence of the article!

Like the dead of winter this "end" of summer is similar in that boat positioning becomes paramount.

We'll have to zero in on that proverbial sweet spot on structure & find that pattern within a pattern.

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Who fell ?

If it don't rain and the skies clear we still hit 100 down here.

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On 9/8/2016 at 5:51 PM, A-Jay said:

"The fish are scattered and aren’t doing much of anything."

"... and to target isolated pieces of cover. I try to catch numbers rather than big fish. My thinking is that if I can get enough of them into the boat some of them will be respectable." 

Ain't that the truth!  I haven't been able to put together any kind of pattern for the past couple of weeks and resorted to targeting those "isolated pieces of cover" in areas of the lake that I don't usually fish. Cruised around, looking at the down- and side-imaging, and stopping at all the little pieces of cover that I would usually ignore.  Caught a number of dinks...but I did get this 'ole girl off an isolated brushpile in 18 fow...;)  I didn't downsize however - she seemed to like the 10" plastic worm that I drug across her cover...:lol:

2016-09-03 22in 6.48lb LMB Catherine.JPG

2016-09-03 22in 6.48lb LMB Catherine2.JPG

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Wow ~

What a Toad !

Great Bass what ever the season

Congrats my friend

A-Jay

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13 hours ago, ChrisD46 said:

Consecutive near record 90 + degree days upon  days on end still hold the South East hostage - send a cold front !

Here in PA we had 5 back to back days near or above 90. I know how you feel. Can't wait till we get some relief from the summer.

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Yeah, this article is definitely accurate. And honestly, this is what Ive typically come to expect by mid July.  But, it most certainly is the case by September.  With temps still in the `90s and fishing pressure still pretty high, I expect the chances of catch rates for numbers or quality to both be relatively low.  Depending on the circumstances.

But I have a secret technique that I use to help beat "the blah days" to make them more enjoyable and less frustrating.  The first thing that I do during these times is......wait for it..........I stop fishing.  I hang up my rods, and put my gear away(~GASP~).  Then, I go spend my time, doing other things that I enjoy.   Oh I may go back out once in a while, just to doddle around a bit, but to be honest, Im just not entirely interested in putting forth a great deal of effort during less productive conditions.  Im ok with this, because overall, I know well enough, that I wont be missing out on much.  

Besides, I caught my last 5lber back in August so, Im content with that. I'll see them again in the fall.

 

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