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BassFishingMachine

Fall - Pond/Small Lake Fishing - NJ/PA

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Okay, well I'm really narrowing it down here, so I don't see this thread getting too many responses, but I'm sure some people will learn "something" so all is well  ;D. I believe narrowing it down is the best bet to find responses which relate to the fishing scenarios I am faced with. Heres the deal... in my opinion big lake fishing (aka boat fishing) is a whole different ball game then fishing small ponds/lakes from the shore, lakes where boats aren't allowed. This being said I am looking for responses ONLY from people who are fishing from shore in small ponds/lakes. I am also located in NJ, that being said I figured I'd narrow it down to people fishing only in NJ/PA seeing as how I figure these two states have such similiar conditions, so again, I'd only like responses from people fishing NJ/PA waters.

Now that you have an idea on who I am looking for responses from, here is the question, and it is a simple one. What are a few of your primary tactics for Fall fishing (Sept - mid Nov) for your small ponds. Basiclly, is there any prime structure you target..such as Lillys, stickpiles, all of the above? Is there any specific water depths you prefer to target? And is there any specific baits you find key in the fall? Now I know this is alot of questions, and many people don't like answering many questions in a single thread, so to persuade you to do so, and show you that I am not looking to be spoon fed info...atleast not completely, I will share tactics I find to work best during the Fall period on my small ponds/lakes I bank fish.

Now here we go on what works for me in the Fall period. During September/October I find shallow cranks to work particularly well. Now theres alot you can do with a crankbait from what I understand, though I have yet to learn all the little tricks with them seeing as I have only started using them just last year. But regardless, a simple slow/steady retrieve works for me very nicely in the Fall, I also have success holding my rod high, casting horizontally to the shoreline and letting them swim on the top around the edge of the lake (1-3feet off the bank).

Another bait which works well for me in the start of the fall is a softplastic frog/hollow frog. Both frogs work well, and despite how similiar they may appear I fish them completely differently then one another. With the soft plastic frog I like to target scattered lillys, and scattered weeds (not the thick weed mats so much, but scattered and seperated), I primarily fish the soft plastic frog with a dead slow retrieve on the top, but every now and again I try the faster then usual retrieve to change things up. Though I prefer fishing the scattered weeds with this sort of frog, I won't not cast to a thick weed mat, but all in all I find the hollow body frog works better on the thicker weeds. Dusk seems to be the best time to throw the soft plastic frog, and I always give it a shot at this time of the day. As for the hollow frog, I will work through thick/scattered lillypads as slowly as I can with it, slowly crawling it on top of a lilly, making the lilly move to show the bass there is something alive moving around, and then letting it fall off the lilly, this strategy works wonders for me. I will also slowly twitch it ontop of the thick weed mats, and I find the slower I twitch it the better I do, long pauses are common... I find frogs catch real quality fish in my waters. Though I will only use them until about mid October depending on how hot the weather is, once the weather cools down come about late october early november, I don't give the frogs nearly as much time as I do in september/early october, there just seems to be better options IMO.

Another tactic I find true year after year is back rivers (aka feeder creeks). Well I don't know, I've always called them "back rivers", I guess its just my name for them. To me a "back river" is where a pond narrows down at an end and turns into a "river-like" area that is typically fairly deep (3-7feet deep... is deep for a small pond in my neck of the woods). These back rivers often lead into other bodies of water, they may travel awhile, but I guess they called them "feeder creeks" because they feed the lake. Anyway, for what ever reason I find these back rivers to really hold alot of fish come the Fall, particularly October, but during September and November they also produce good for me. From what I have read, these "back rivers" are a good place to look for bass in the Fall because the shad are located at the mouth of them, or atleast thats what I think I've heard. But I don't think this is true for smaller ponds, as I don't even think we have any "shad" around here, its more small baitfish such as golden shiners/small bluegills. Back to the main point... I like to fish these "back rivers" with shallow cranks, jigs, senkos and creature baits. I am not a big fan of the senko, primarily because I see them soooo much around where I fish that I am sick and tired of seeing them, but despite my dislike for them I will often bring them out when fishing the back rivers, as they seem to be a key producer in this sort of scenario.

Okay, I have shared some of my tactics on bank fishing small ponds/lakes in the Fall, now I want to hear yours!! I also hope I have not offended anyone by singling them out if they are boat/bank fishermen who fish big lakes. Its just that I have come to the conclusion that big lake fishing is a entirely different sort of fishing then your small lake fishing. I find the fish in these bigger lakes act different seeing as how they have much deeper water available, and the baitfish seem to be completely different for the most part.

And thanks for any and all responses, always greatly appreciated ;).

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Like you, I fish almost all small ponds and lakes from the bank. I'm in Milford, PA and fish Pike County and Sussex County NJ. The dam, inlet and outlet are always good because they are one of the few pieces of structure available. Look for any visible cover, logs, over hangs, weed or depth lines and throw baits to imitate the forage base available. Use faster/slower presentations based on the mood of the fish. When they start feeding heavily in preparation for winter the senko and other finesse presentations aren't as critical. Cranks, spinners and worms should get you bites. Post your results and I'll do the same. Good luck!

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