My Favorite Time Of Year

My Favorite Time Of Year From gorgeous scenery to plentiful bass, fall fishing is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to be out on the water. Join columnist John Brady as he explains why fall offers some of the most vivid fishing trips of the year.


Fall Fishing

Fall is my favorite time of year to be on the water. Thinking back over the years of my time on the water, those that are most vivid in my memory are those fishing trips taken during the fall season.
   I'm one of those fishermen that get side tracked easily by what is going on in his surroundings such as the movement of animals and changing leaves - a habit that can be fatal to serious tournament fisherman.
   Fall is by far the best time to get side tracked. There is so much going on around you. Gone are the days of scorching sun and damp air. Now the air is crisp and cool, the green leaves are turning to shades of yellow, red and orange.
   As far as the best time of fishing, fall runs a close second to spring. Spring is one of the best times of the year to catch big fish, but fall can be the best times of year to catch numbers of fish.
   While we see the approach of winter with the bright colors of leaves and feel the need to get ready for winter, fish feel the approach of winter as the water begins to cool and are triggered internally to prepare as well.
   Why would they prepare for winter? Just like the shorter cooler days get us into a hibernation mode, that is, we start to find activities that will keep us mostly indoors, fish have the internal instinct to become dormant in winter. And in order to get through the winter in this dormant stage, they must prepare to ensure survival until spring.
   How do they prepare for winter? They begin to gather in schools and roam the lakes and rivers in search of large masses of food, and get on the biggest feeding binge of the year. Fish become very inactive in the winter, and unlike you and I, they won't eat much during this period of time. They need to start now to build themselves up in order to survive the winter. Just about anything that swims, or is in the water will become fair game for feeding fish.
    Successful baits for catching fish this time of year are spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Fish become much more aggressive because of their need for food, so fishing with these types of triggering baits are best.
   One of the most popular scenes this time of year is to see fish herding large schools of baitfish into the back of creeks and feeding heavily on them. So concentrate on the backs of creeks and coves, and look for signs of feeding fish.
   Another reason I like fishing this time of year is for the tranquility it offers. Although fishing in itself can be very tranquil, fall has its own kind of serenity. Gone are the days of backed up launch ramps, lakes full of every kind of boat and other fishermen in our special honey holes.
   Although it's a great time to fish, fall fishing can be harsh for fisherman because of the abrupt changes in the weather. Anglers fishing this time of year must prepare themselves for fast moving cold fronts, heavy rain squalls, and high winds that come and go quickly.
    One of my most vivid remembrances of fall fishing is at Lake Raystown located near Altoona Pennsylvania. I can recall several trips over the years I had been caught in fierce storms as the cold fronts moved through the area. You can be fishing in a tee shirt one minute and in a wool shirt the next with the passing of these cold fronts.
   Anyone who has visited this lake know that because of the high mountains that surround it, you usually can't see these storms coming until they are right on top of you. And due to the size of the lake, you don't have enough time to get off the water. Then as quickly as they appear, they are gone and the sky clears. The only reminder of what had come is the much cooler air.
   So take some time to enjoy the scenery while you fish this fall. But a word of caution, don't get too engrossed in your fishing or surroundings that you forget to look to the sky every now and then. You may be glad you did!
   Remember, they call it fishing, but the goal is catching!

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