Lakecaster Online Archives - Oct, 2004

Fall Fishing

By Sue Crochet
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Sue Crochet

Fall at last! I don't know about you, but I wish we could just skip summer. Besides being just too darn hot to enjoy doing anything outdoors, the fish won't bite! I guess getting older just might have something to do with it, but even my 5-year-old grandchildren won't play outside for very long periods of time. On a more positive note, we have been blessed with a relatively mild summer, including some very early fall cool fronts. This is almost unheard of these days, especially in southwest Louisiana, so I guess we should be grateful.

I'm already hearing stories of very good limits of fish being caught at virtually any time of the day. The early cool fronts have a great deal to do with this, because cooler surface water temperatures keep the bass more shallow. This means that the average angler, who doesn't fish in more than 10 feet of water, would be having more success than usual. This is also a great time to take children fishing, because they can catch bass on almost any lure you put in front of them.

Fishing in the fall is very similar to fishing in the spring, except the weather is a little more consistent. I will always have various types of lures tied on so that I don't have to re-rig very often. My preference for early morning is a walking lure, like the Zara Spook. This lure now comes in sizes from Super down to Puppy so that you can "match the hatch" … match the size of the bait they're eating. It's so exciting to see a bass pounce on this lure, as well as being a test on your skill to wait until you feel the fish before reeling in. Takes practice!

The Reaction U99 is my all-round favorite for almost any time of the day, but particularly early morning when topwater lures don't seem to be working. A couple of months ago, I won our club tournament by skipping this lure over hydrilla beds. The bass were literally exploding on it! However, my best success has been to allow this lure to sink for a count of five after my cast, then slowly twitch and reel back to the boat. I just love the way a bass will hang on to this lure for what seems like minutes while you make up your mind whether or not to set the hook! You have to be a line watcher when using this technique.

Schooling bass are a lot of fun well into the fall and I believe the size of the fish you can catch in these schools improves with cooler temperatures, as well. My favorite lure for this type of fishing is a Rat-L-Trap … chrome/black back/orange belly. This is the best all-round color combination for any time of the year, although they do come in a multitude of colors. Rat-L-Traps also come in various sizes so that you can select whatever size best matches the size bait their eating at the time. The ½-oz. is the most common size, which I like to throw out, allow to sink for a couple of seconds, then reel back slowly. This gets the lure beneath the school where the larger bass seem to hang out. A stop/start retrieve with this lure is also very effective.

To be sure, whatever lure you decide to use, it should be one that you have confidence in. I am a firm believer that if you don't have confidence in the lure, you probably won't catch fish with it. Your lure presentation and retrieval are 90% of your success. If you don't have confidence in the lure you're using, these things will be missing. So, it really doesn't matter what someone else is doing to catch fish. Most lures can be presented and retrieved in several different ways and every angler has a technique that is best suited for them, which makes them more successful. Whatever it is that you like to do, perfect it and you will catch fish!