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roadwarrior

Getting Ready For Fall Fishing

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Here in the Mid South, our seasons come very close to matching the calander dates of every season. Fall is still almost a month away, but I'm ready! For me it means switching my focus on the Tennessee River from striper to brown fish. Needless to say, I'm jazzed about smallmouth season. The topic I would like to address in this thread is bait and lures.

This year's baby baitfish are reaching the size that appeals to larger bass. On my river the primary prey is yellowtail (threadfin shad). There are literally millions of these little fish that have schooled up in mass. Gizzard shad, skipjack, slick minnows and shiners are all alternative sources of nourishment and available in almost unimaginable quantanties. However, as a precentage, slick minnows and shiners are relatively rare and are the preferred quarry of trophy smallmouth. (Note: Crawdads, nationally make up over 60% of a smallmouth's diet when they are available, but that's a topic for later).

What I have found to be most productive in the fall and winter are big store bought shiners. Most locals fish yellowtail because they are free and easily captured with a thrownet. This is the primary baitfish, but the one you are fishing with is hard to distinguish from the tens of millions that are out there in the river. Big shiners are a different story, smallmouth, particularly big ones, prefer these baits.

Artificials share a common thread in autumn. I watch most of the guys throwing the lures they use all year; mostly tubes, grubs and jigs. I have much better success fishing "minnow" type lures. In the fall, crankbaits, jerkbaits and

at certain times, topwater are far more effective. Bigger lures are also a key. I do NOT believe in "matching the hatch". I think your lure needs to stand out: bigger, louder or pushing more water.

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Thanks for the input R.W. Your fishing knowledge and the willingness to share it is greatly appreciated by the rest of us.

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You said it RW ...

In about a mounth the fall draw-down on the Corp of Engineer lakes i fish will be underway ...

The shad will start moving up creeks and rivers and the bass will be on them ....

I'm ready ............

Tim

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For me Fall is topwater time I have great success using topwater baits during the fall.  As well I absoulutly burned them up last fall on lipless crankbaits.   Color wise I was using minnow imatating baits. The bite for me last fall didn't really slow down untill about the last week in Nov.  I have been fishing the Crig almost too much this year and plan on using it throughout the fall as this will be new territory to me I have never used a C rig in the fall.  I am focusing on catching more qaulity this fall more than numbers.  Something I have used once or twice in the past and going to try more this fall is C rigging a Lc suspending pointer and some Rouges. Its not a new technique but one I feel that is overlooked even by myself.  I will probally use more swimbaits this fall as well

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RW,

    When you say your getting ready for smallmouth season, are you talking the prime time to target smallies?   or are you actually talking about a season that opens up in your neck of the woods  for smallies?    

If its just prime time, why is the summer so hard to target smallies?

I live in LMB country and the old saying " having your cake and eating it to" applies to LmB, should apply to LMB and smallies, but just not in the right region to pursue them both.

Just looking to learn some seasonal patterns on smallies.

Matt.

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Matt,

There is no closed season for any species in this state or the general region as far as I know. Guys that fish the Cumberland and the reserviors in Middle Tennessee (around Nashville) catch smallmouth deep and at night all summer. Dale Hollow would be a good example. I fish a much different river which runs south into Alabama before coming back north through a piece of Mississippi, then Tennessee and into Kentucky. The reserviors are relatively shallow and the water is hot. Three weeks ago the surface temperature of the river coming off the BOTTOM of Pickwick Lake was 96.7 degrees! The average temperature has been around 90 degrees. My pet smallmouth don't like it hot.

Now Bud is on the same river, but 184 miles north by river. You may have seen his post. He caught three smallies over 5 lbs at the Kentucky Lake Dam. Technically, that's the same lake I fish. So, I think the smallmouth go down stream onto the main lake or find extemely deep holes in the river and suspend. I run with most of the guides around Pickwick and noboby catches of even fishes for smallmouth around here in the summer. That said, a 4 lb smallie was caught in a tournament last Saturday morning, but that was just the luck of the draw. I'm sure a few are caught by guys fishing for something else, but not on purpose.

We consider the river "season" from late September until the first couple of weeks of March. Smallmouth spawn here in late January and February. Smallmouth fishing on the lake can be fair through most of June, but the majority of those are caught while fishing for largemouth. Largemouth, Kentucky bass or spots and white bass are caught year around.

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My 5 favorite fall baits:

1. LC pointer

2. LC flash minnow

3. trick worm

4. LC lvr mini or d7

5. LC splash-tail

Yes minnow baits and fall go together like hot fudge and vanilla ice cream.  :)

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Fall definitely means fun withthe 'biggies' again.  I have already started to dust off my large obnoxious spinnerbait and buzzbait selection.  My fishing hole is only a 250 acre man-made impoundment with very stained water (2 foot visibility).  As the water cools and the days get shorter, the shad go shallow into the bays and coves as well as the main lake flats.  Large moving baits with mucho vibration help me score with big bass and some huge cats.  Oh what fun!!

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I may have to do some shiner fishing myself in the early winter.I haven't tried it but I did get skunked for the most part last winter.

I agree,On Ky.Lake the smallies are only going to get better unless we get another heat wave.The nights have started cooling into the low 60s,the lake is on the drop and that usually is a sign fall feed is just around the corner.

Great post RW!

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Fall fishing to me is bass moving shallow again to bulk up for winter

catching them on spinnerbaits,topwater,shallow shad colored crankbaits

one of my all time favorites speed shads,then as the waters cool more

jig,pigs and large inlines(mepps aglia's) fished deep!Oh trout time in the

hills also(gods country!) ;D ;D ;D

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