The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Largemouth bass can get finicky in the late fall. Once the leaves start falling, the slightest change in temperature combined with a major change in the photo period of the day changes bass feeding patterns dramatically on reservoirs. To successfully find fall bass on big water, anglers need to focus on a combination of shad in relation to transitional zones and large main lake structure.
Main-lake points and creeks entering the main body of the lake are the important areas to fish at this time of year as they give the fish access to shallow and deep water and hold fair to good amounts of shad. Throw large Beetle Spins and wacky worms during the midday period; fish topwaters and buzz baits early and late. Another viable option is to fish the riprap and bulkheads along some of the big marinas, especially in the evenings. These areas will hold many bass, especially after a late frontal system passes through. The hard part is patterning the fish.
For these situations, I like to use a slow-sinking lure like a Slug-Go or a whacky worm because they appeal to both temperature stunted slow moving fish and aggressive feeding fish as well.
Between fronts, look for shad bunched up around the secondary points and start fishing a crank bait like a Bomber 9A with a slow retrieve. If you find fish and they are active, switch to something like a Rat-L-Trap and boost the retrieve up to medium speed. Sometimes the shad are sometimes spread along the shorelines, stacked horizontally instead of vertically. If this is the situation, the bass can be scattered as well so try trolling. Use the Bomber 9A or a ?-oucne Rat-L-Trap trolled with a slow pace. If you catch a fish, throw over a marker buoy and hit that spot again.
It is best to employ spinners when the water is up high and you have shad clinging tight to the shoreline. Cast parallel to the shore and work it back at a medium pace for best results.
Another method that may seem strange for fall but that works quite well is “flipping” for bass in deep brush. Many anglers know bass hold tight to brush that runs along shorelines of reservoirs in the spring but they will also hold up between fronts in the spring. If you stop to think about it, late fall and early spring weather patterns are very similar, so it can pay to use those tactics you use in the spring.
The best spot to look is near brush that rests on a ledge at the end of a point near a creek channel. This is especially true late in the evenings when bass often move from the deep to the shallows to feed. Shad stack up in these areas, which in turns draws in the bass. By flipping a large jig/pig combo or a live crawfish rigged on a 1/2-ounce jighead, it is possible to catch good numbers of bass
Brush pile bass are famous for biting at specific depth when they get choosy, say 14 feet, and ignoring anything they have to move very far to ingest. That is why boat positioning is such an important part of brush pile fishing. If you get right over brush and vertically drop a live shiner or run a crank bait by it your chances of catching a mess of fish increases greatly. The same is true of fish around natural structure in relation to drop-offs. A good way to fish these spots is to use a depth finder to locate those that have big schools of shad around them. Bass do not hang around spots that are devoid of baitfish very long and the bigger the bunch of bait, the more fish will be around.
A drop off around a river channel may not be very deep so do not go looking for a crater. A difference of two or three feet in depth is major when putting things in perspective. Micro crankbaits like a Yozuri Snap Bean in 1/32 or 1/16 ounce are great for fishing along main river channels to locate fish suspend over deep water. I started using them for crappie but have also found them effective for catching brush pile bass.
One of the reasons some anglers have such a hard time locating fish on big waters is that many of these fish will suspend at say 8 feet in 12 feet of water just over a subtle drop-off. When fishing jigs or shiners rigged on weights, many anglers shoot right past these fish whereas a tiny, diving crank bait will go right to them.
Hunting is on the mind of many anglers in the fall, but that doesn’t mean the bass have stopped biting. For those who recognize this, there are plenty of fish to be caught.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at email@example.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)