You have just rolled out of bed, poured you coffee and there it is. You knew it
was coming, but it is real, it is here. What am I talking about? It's not taxes,
the Grim Reaper or even your in-laws coming for an extended stay. It is the first
foggy Fall morning. If you have spent any time in the Northwest you know what
that means. From here on out the weather will never get quite as hot as it did
all summer, and the nights will be cooler. Sure, we may get an Indian Summer and
some nice days, but the fact is, things are cooling off. Now it is time to start
thinking about what that means for our Bass fishing.
With the falling temperatures, Bass will start to build up their Winter reserves.
This can offer some fantastic fishing opportunities if you know what to look for.
Big Bass that have been hiding deep all Summer are now moving up and looking for
as much food as they can. Their feeding periods will also lengthen as the Sun
drops to lower angles. All the better for us!
Most experts would agree that Fall Bass are suckers for the right crank bait.
This means you probably will grab lures that are a little bigger than you have
been using all Summer. The Bass that have made it to Fall are smart and will be
looking for lures that closely match the size and color of the prey fish that
spawned in the Spring. Check out what is in your lake and match up to that. Another
good choice is to grab your top water lures. Again, the big Bass are looking to
load up on food and will be watching for any easy meals above them.
Finding the Bass is of course key. But where are they? The simple answer is, where
the bait fish are. These are most likely going to be found in closer to shore
than they previously were, hanging out in the shallows and around the green plants.
My favorite tactic to find bait fish is to bring along an extra pole rigged with
a small jig and bobber and when I am exploring a lake, drop it out in front of
me and let it sit on a hole before I start throwing my Bass hooks at it. I also
toss it out when I am changing or re-tying lures. If there are bait fish there,
then odds are, the Bass are lurking near by.
Important things to look for are areas where there is cover for the Bass to move
between their deeper holding areas to the shallow feeding areas. Also remember
on cloudy and windy days or in stained water, the Bass may not retreat at all
to their holding areas, but may spend the day feeding in the shallows. Pay attention
to water that is shallower than you would normally expect to find big fish. I
have seen large Bass lurking in water as shallow as one foot.
On bright days or after a cold front has moved in, you will have to go back to their mid-day holding areas to find the Bass. Remember that a cold front will affect the shallow water first and the Bass will most likely hold to the deeper water and its more stable temperatures. In this case, it is time to finesse fish a little bit and work the deeper structure. Remember drop shotting?
Don't think that the falling temperatures means a let up in the Bass fishing. Lunker Bass are waiting for you. Grab yourself an extra pull over and get out there on the water, the fish are waiting!
Chris Cliff is a long time fisherman that hails from the remote lands of Northern Idaho, but has now moved to the big city. He and his crew fish the waters of the Northwest filming episodes of their own web based fishing show 'Fishing with Cliff'. You can find it at http://www.FishingWithCliff.com/ and features more great articles, photos, links and of course episodes of their show. Think of it as a fishing show crossed with reality TV.