It’s time for Autumn action

2013-02-23 00:00

AUTUMN on the lake is an awesome time to take advantage of fish that are inherently in the mood to feed. Temperatures are somewhat milder, days slightly shorter and water levels are generally where they should be after the wet summer months. The great thing about the cooling months is definitely the increase in baitfish activity, and knowing how essential this piece is to the puzzle, you have to pay attention.

For up-and-coming bass anglers this is an extremely productive and tactically simple time of the year to get results on your local body of water. As I have hinted already, the baitfish are your compass. Locate and pattern what the bass are eating and you will unlock the secret to patterning the bass, it is as simple as that. Baitfish activity is most recognisable in the early mornings and late afternoons thanks to prevailing low light conditions. Very similar to the habits of the bass, the baitfish also exploit the optimum feeding conditions and during these phases of the day their susceptibility evokes response from the bass. When the conditions are right the baitfish will gather up and venture out for their feeding rituals with safety in numbers — or so they think. Focused on feeding, the baitfish will often lose sight and mind of their “safe-zones” and gamble beyond their accepted sanctuaries. This is when their fatal error becomes statistical. So first tip, make sure you are fishing when the fish are feeding and knowing what they are feeding on makes your job that much easier. Grassy points and weed-lines are naturally the best areas to locate feeding bait and bass to boot, so cruise the shorelines looking for bait and when you see the bait, get to casting. Square billed crankbaits are making waves in the fishing industry, and rightly so, as they are consistent producers of fish in all seasons. For the next few months the profile, size and action of this bait will ensure that you are on the right side of the spectrum. This bait duplicates the ever present tilapia and, as the name describes, its square bill results in some desperately erratic action. Depending on the brand of lure, the bait will either be accompanied by flat sides which results in a tighter more erratic action, or rounder sides which give the bait a slower, wider wobble. The square-billed crank will only dive to a maximum depth of just over a meter so is perfect for fishing shallow vegetation lines as well as rocky banks. A steady to fast retrieve seems to be the most productive cadence and whenever possible the lure should be allowed to make contact with the cover to react strikes. A stop and go retrieve is also a hard to beat retrieve and the occasional twitch of the rod tip will once again enhance the action and result in additional bites. Your choice in rod should be 6-6ft or 7-0ft and must definitely sport a medium action to assist with casting and softer hook-sets. I fish the square bill on 12lb line and a slower retrieve reel. If you have not fished this category of baits before I suggest you do to broaden your comfort zone. My two favourite brands have to be the Strike-King baits and the Spro series, so in my opinion, if you are cranking one of these baits you cannot go wrong.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com.

Catch em’ up.

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