Fall Bass Fishing – The Second Season
The early fall like no other season brings changes that you can see and feel daily. The noticeably shorter hours of daylight and cooler temperatures along with seasonal rains remind us all that winter is coming quickly. Rather than dwelling on the fact that summer is over and it will soon be cold and dreary, look at fall as the optimal time to be an angler. “The Second Season” as it is known to many that love fishing in the fall. With pleasure boaters off the water and many anglers watching football and beginning to hunt instead of fish, many lakes are becoming quiet, as the fish are becoming even more active than they were in the prespawn.
The longer nights, cooler temperatures, rain and wind that starts the squirrels gathering nuts, as the leaves are turning brown is also lowering the water temperature and causing change beneath the surface of the water. The bass are reacting to these changes as well as the forage and plants they relate to in their diet and for their cover.
To have a great day of fishing in the early fall; work the edges of green grass beds. Look for edges where the weeds reach the surface near open deep water areas. Largemouth bass will relate to the grass and use it for cover as winter approaches the grass will diminish making these areas a prime location for targeting when fishing through the fall. As cold front approach the bass will back into weeds such as milfoil much like we reach for a jacket. The thick grass provides comfort and cover to the cold blooded fish, but it also provides ambush cover to surprise the bait that is also moving shallow to feed in the fall.
Pitching or casting soft plastic baits rigged weedless on top of the weeds and dragging them to the edge, allowing them to fall down the face of the grass wall can result in amazing reactive bites. Putting bait into this zone can be very productive in the fall. The water will begin to change quickly with the weather, and this presentation of finesse fishing the grass edges can be the secret to catching fish when all else fails.
Keep in mind that not only bass are facing changes, but also the forage that they are waiting for is changing too. Baitfish have matured in this season and are larger, making larger profile baits a good choice, when conditions provide bass that are willing to chase baits, larger lipless crankbaits near the grass will work, as well as shallow running square billed crankbaits. Other forage such as crawfish are also changing as well, their colors tend to change from the craw color to hues of greens, orange and darker colors that are similar to the changing leaves. Soft plastic craws fished near the grass and especially in the rocks near clay will produce largemouth, smallmouth as well as spotted bass in this season, just before the crawfish are preparing to hibernate for winter.
The second season for fishing is a great time to be an angler. Of all the tips that I share, fishing in the fall can be the most rewarding. Those anglers who do not have a boat can do very well from the bank and for those anglers that are fortunate enough to have a boat, why not ask a fisherman on the bank if he would like to go out with you. You may be surprised how much you could learn, or how quickly you can make a good friend.
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