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A-Jay

Tracking the Fall Transition

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As a follow up to the "It's Not Fall Yet"  write up, B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament Pro Greg Hackney penned this little nugget. Dated 11 Sept 2016

"Last week I called these the blah days. At best the fishing is so-so in most of the country. But it won’t be long and things will improve. The temperature is supposed to break next week, and the days are getting a minute or two shorter with every sunset.

I’d guess that by the end of this month, or the first week in October, the fall transition will be underway. It doesn’t happen all at once, though. It’s a back and forth process that’ll last well into November. Typically they’ll move at least a half-dozen times before winter.

When a cold front hits they’ll move way back into shallow water, sometimes no more than a foot deep. When it warms for a few days everything will move out a little ways, maybe into the 5 or 6 foot range. As time goes along and everything gets colder the shallow periods will get longer and the deeper periods will get shorter.  

The baitfish that the bass are eating get bigger, too. I don’t really understand the biology of it all but for some reason the smaller shad and other baitfish move first, well in front of the bigger ones. Regardless of whether or not I understand why it’s happening I do understand how it affects my fishing.  

The most profound effect is on my lure selection. They get bigger as the shad get bigger and the end of the year gets closer.

One of my favorite fall baits is a walking stick. My preference is a Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg. Early in the season I like the Jr. size. It’s 3.75 inches long and weighs a half ounce. That’s pretty close to what they’re eating most of the time. Later, when the bigger baitfish move in, I fish the full size model.

That progression is about the same for all of my lures. I’m a big fan of the Red Eye Shad in the fall as well. I start out with the 1/4-ounce size but then later I move up to the 1/2-ounce size. And that’s exactly what I do with my buzzbaits and my traditional crankbaits.

Once it gets really cold I put away all my smaller stuff and go with all big baits. Besides that I don’t make any adjustments except for maybe slowing down my presentation. Even then, though, don’t get carried away with slow. They’re still fish, and the water isn’t covered over with ice. What they’re eating is still moving.

And keep in mind that how this all plays out depends to a great extent on where you live and where you fish. Up near Canada it’ll happen faster and the cold fronts will be more pronounced. Closer to where I live the transition will go on a lot longer and the early cold fronts won’t amount to much.

No matter, the deal at this time of the year is that the fish are feeding. Catching them is not about surprising them with an easy meal, and it’s not about enticing them into doing something they really don’t want to do. It’s about playing to their natural behavior. Do that and you’ll be successful."

 As the days get shorter and the over night air temps continue to slide, my anticipation for success grows as does my hours on the water.

A-Jay

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25 minutes ago, A-Jay said:

 

 As the days get shorter and the over night air temps continue to slide, my anticipation for success grows as does my hours on the water.

A-Jay

Me and you both buddy. Been saving a lot of vacation time for the next 2 months.

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During fall bass move from deep water summer haunts to shallower feeding areas...their goal is to feed up for winter.

During spring bass move from deep water winter haunts to shallower feeding areas...their goal is to feed up for the spawn.

I wonder what other similarities the two hold?

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23 minutes ago, Catt said:

During fall bass move from deep water summer haunts to shallower feeding areas...their goal is to feed up for winter.

During spring bass move from deep water winter haunts to shallower feeding areas...their goal is to feed up for the spawn.

I wonder what other similarities the two hold?

 I cant vouch for other areas of the country, (especially in your area Catt) but, up here its the lures used. I can "almost" go fishing with just three rods set up for both seasons and leave the rest at home. Which had taken me a couple years to get to this point. A jerkbait, a grub on a jighead, and a jig and pig. These 3 are responsible for more checks being cashed during these times, than any other lures that I know of up here. In the Fall though, its difficult to negate a topwater.

But then yet, Catt "wondering" anything about bass fishing is begging the question,...Are you messing with us?,.Did I get sucked in by still being half asleep and heavily medicated?..lmao

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33 minutes ago, Keith "Hamma" Hatch said:

But then yet, Catt "wondering" anything about bass fishing is begging the question,...Are you messing with us?,.Did I get sucked in by still being half asleep and heavily medicated?..lmao

Bass must have a visible path of breaks and break lines on a structure from deep water all the way to the shallows; which is where the bulk of food is available to bass. 

Do y'all think bass use different paths from deep to shallow during spring & fall?

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6 minutes ago, Catt said:

Bass must have a visible path of breaks and break lines on a structure from deep water all the way to the shallows; which is where the bulk of food is available to bass. 

Do y'all think bass use different paths from deep to shallow during spring & fall?

No,.I truley believe in what I call "bass highways" that they use moving into and out of shallows..with the one exception being weeds.,..In northern states during spring, after the ice melts, last years weeds are now dead, and either actually sucking oxygen if still present, or completely gone/decayed. Some are even dead and decaying before the ice arrives in fall. So in this one instance the highway may vary between spring and fall as they may use some weedlines to come in during fall, then said weedline be non-exisistent in spring. Now,.. being that weeds will generally grow at certain depths, the depth change itself may still contain the "highway", but in spring the fish will gravitate to, say,... a brushpile on that depth change, or a rockpile there, or creek channels bend,.. etc.

 These "highways" are what I target during prespawn/spawn/postspawn to avoid bedfishing. The cover on these highways,... can be pig magnets. And considering that the males make the beds? These magnets I consider a little slice of heaven, and where the grub, or j&p shine. You all can fish all the beds you want, and you may come across a few big girls doing so,... While Im out a bit deeper, hunkered down on one or two "spots" within that area, catching mostly females. Not "all" females, but usually more than the smaller males. And I dont mind one bit,..lol

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Any info on a small highland reservoir during drawdown for smallies?  Focus on points and bluffs and creeks with shad?

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45 minutes ago, Keith "Hamma" Hatch said:

Now,.. being that weeds will generally grow at certain depths, the depth change itself may still contain the "highway", but in spring the fish will gravitate to, say,... a brushpile on that depth change, or a rockpile there, or creek channels bend,.. etc.

Never will bass be found that are not related to structure in some manner; this is why it is said that 10% of the water holds 90% of the fish. 

The basic " break line" is the depth, a "break" on that basic break line would brush, laydowns, ect.

The key to fishing the transition from summer to fall or winter to spring is to understand how the bass move from one area to the other.

Some try following the bass, I prefer following the bait.

12 hours ago, A-Jay said:

The baitfish that the bass are eating get bigger, too. I don’t really understand the biology of it all but for some reason the smaller shad and other baitfish move first, well in front of the bigger ones. Regardless of whether or not I understand why it’s happening I do understand how it affects my fishing.  

The most profound effect is on my lure selection. They get bigger as the shad get bigger and the end of the year gets closer.

A-Jay

;)

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I know tomorrow night up here in Vermont where I live it could get down into the upper 30's for lows...Fall is definitely on it's way (time to clean out the pellet stove...lol)! I see the extended forecast shows a few days next week that might not get out of the 60's for highs...my second favorite time of the year (Winter is my fav), Fall will definitely be here soon :D.

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I lived in Pittsfied VT for a while, loved it up there. Lake Bomeseen had some decent bass in it. The start of the colors changing on rt 100 is not only incredible for leaf peeping, (rated in the countries top ten drives) but also, dictating the bassfishing is fast and furious. Feed bag will be on soon, enjoy it before the ice starts.

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Yup, just heard on the weather this morning that tomorrow night there could be some patchy frost in the colder pockets :respect-059:.

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