My favorite bite of the season only allows a short window, but the fishing is so good, little else matters! Water below 40. Jig bite faded away. Now is the time to break out the modified cranks and punish the largemouth bass. Carefully attaching suspenstrips and suspendots along with upgrading the hooks allows you to catch more fish. Before any of the catching can begin, you need to put the time in graphing your lake and finding where the fish are bunching up before ice up. On a 600 acre lake, we've found hundreds of bass bunched in a 100 yard stretch of shore. You can scan for hours and not see a mark on side imaging, but keep going and force yourself to continue the search. If there are no fish where you cast then it's impossible to catch no matter how good your presentation is. Find the fish, then unleash your custom cranks at them. I'm partial to a Rapala DT14 in perch color, upgraded with Owner Stinger or Mustad Triple Grips. A Megabass Deep X 200 LBO in GLX Gill color will also punish the fish. Perfect balance to keep your deep crank in the fishes face is the final piece to the puzzle. You want it to sit perfectly still, using 5 to 10 second pauses to let the fish come up to the bait, look at it, then have time to bite it. Watch your line, as it lays slack on the surface, many times you'll see it pop as a fish inhales your crankbait.
This is a perfect example of what to look for to find Fall fish. Some of the shorter strands are grass and a little coontail mixed in. The tall strands are cabbage are what we look for. One key in this picture is that the cabbage was losing it's leafs. The water temp shown was from a major week warmup after we already had low 60 water temps for a couple weeks and the cabbage started thinning out and losing some of the green leaves on the stem. Also a key is the thickness of the patch you find, this was the thickest area in the whole weed line so it was a key area to fish around.
Whenever our weather is frontal, the crappies flock to deep wood and hover tight on it. Using our 360 and Livescope, we pulled right up, kept the fis 45-50' in front of the boat so they wouldn't spook, then peppered them with casts and caught a bunch of 14" plus crappies. These ones are very tall and have thigh broad shoulders. When you set the hook it feels like a bass pulling back!
After our water went from 63 to 75 due to warm weather for a week, some crashing temps mixed with snow and rain brought it crashing back down into the 50's real quick. The fish have been in a little funk, but if you keep searching you can still find biting fish. These were caught in 48 degree water in 3'. It was small points with a little wood mixed in. Slow rolling a swim jig and grub was our best bait on this day.
Our open water season has been flying by. We hopefully have 6-8 weeks left of open water. There's a great bite yet to happen and we will be taking advantage every second we can. Below are a couple highlights so far!
The deep and shallow bite is starting to strengthen after a two week slump. Water temps have been hovering at 68 degrees on many of our lakes. As soon as it starts to drop the bite will be on fire. Find the gills find the biggest bass!
Every Spring I make sure to slip in a couple of sunfish trips. There’s a special lake that puts out a bunch of big fish and it never disappoints. They were very finicky on the couple of days I fished for them. A small dropshot that held the bait a foot off the bottom and directly in their face was key!
Fishing was tough as we faced high winds and choppy water. Add in the post spawn funk of the smallies and we had to work for every bite. Using the Humminbird 360 made it much easier to see the cover in front of us out in 10-15’ of water. The Ultrex did it’s magic by holding the boat all day and letting our focus be solely on each cast. Ended the day with 30+ smallmouth and it was mostly due to the electronics.
The spawn funk has parted ways and some really good fishing is happening right now. Covering water with topwater and swim jigs is resulting in numbers of fish and size of fish. One of my favorite lures year round is a swim jig with a grub trailer. If you’re on the water and the fishing is tough, tie one on and cover some water. I’ve been using a 7’2” Megabass Daemos rod and an All Terrain Tackle swim jig.