Lakecaster Online

By: Sue Crochet

Now that deer-hunting season is in full swing, as well as other types of hunting, you'll find the activity on our local lakes has decreased significantly. Man anglers have "hung up" their fishing tackle in exchange for shotguns, rifles and bows/arrows. However, this is when those folks miss out on some of the best fishing of the year. Don't get me wrong ... I have taken quite a liking to sitting in a deer stand enjoying the peaceful surroundings of the woods, sitting around the campfire with the other hunters telling stories about "the one we missed" or just riding 4-wheelers around the lease, while looking for fresh deer sign. But, this hasn't changed my love for being on the lake when those first cool fronts begin to pass through, making for some phenomenal bass fishing.

As water surface temperatures begin to cool, bass become more active. You'll begin to find more big fish in shallow (1 to 5 feet), because their feeding opportunities are greater at these depths. Just like in the spring, your chances of catching the biggest bass of a lifetime are increased significantly. They will usually remain in this pattern, gorging themselves in preparation for the really cold months, when their metabolisms slow way down. This is the time of the year to take a novice bass angler out fishing, because they'll hit almost anything you throw at them.

Generally speaking, we have very mild winters in this part of the country. It's common to have extremely favorable conditions right through November and frequently, well into December. After the hot summers we've been experiencing, I find that I most enjoy just being out on the lake enjoying the cool breeze on my face. Now that I've been fishing for over 20 years, catching fish is almost secondary. I must admit, though, that it's really exciting when the fish are biting pretty much all day long, except for slight lulls between major fishing periods.

I like to start my day with a topwater lure, such as a Cyclone buzzbait, Zara Spook, Pop-R or a Shad Assassin worked quickly, so that it's skipping across the surface of the water. If the wind picks up, I'll throw a Cyclone spinnerbait, Rat-L-Trap or if the Shad Assassin has been successful, slow the retrieve down so that it sinks a bit below the surface. As I mentioned earlier, you could probably throw just about anything at this time of the year and catch fish with it. However, matching your lure to the type of bait the fish are feeding on is your best bet for catching more fish.

Since shad are generally the bass' food of choice in the fall and they are more active, they are likely to chase a fast-moving lure more readily. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are very versatile lures. Because you can change the depth at which the bait runs by simply speeding up or slowing down your retrieve and these lures more closely resemble a shad, they are usually the preferred method for locating bass in the fall. However, once you've located fish in a certain area, you may be able to catch more or larger fish on plastics. This is a good time to experiment with various lures, especially ones you may enjoy throwing more than others.

I may have shared this with you before, but plastics have always been my favorite method of catching bass. To me, catching a bass with a plastic worm is the true test of an angler's skills. Whether you're fishing wacky style, Texas-rigging, Carolina-rigging or drop shotting, you must determine the right presentation, color, size, weight (for correct depth) and so on. But, most importantly, you have to "feel" the hit, know when take up the slack in your line, sometimes wiggle the bait enticingly and wait until just the right time set the hook. This takes quite a bit of practice in lots of different conditions and is one of the hardest for most novice anglers to learn first. However, during times when the fishing is toughest, plastics will generally catch bass when no other lure will.

No matter what you're doing, whether it's fishing or hunting, I hope that you are very successful this fall. Remember ... it's not the catch or the kill ... it's simply the joy of being alive and enjoying God's many blessings.

Fishing News!
· 25-year lady bass-fishing veteran, Judy Wong of Sugarland, TX, has claimed the 2001 WBFA Classic World Championship title. National titles have eluded Judy throughout her career, but she has never thought of giving up and has always ranked among the top 30 lady anglers in the nation. She is a professional in every sense of the word and is well liked among her peers. Congratulations Judy ... what a way to start!

· The Lake Area Lady Anglers have scheduled their final tournaments for 2001. They will be fishing Toledo Bend on September 29th and Sam Rayburn on October 6th. If you're a woman, 18 years of age or older and are interested in fishing as a guest, you can call (337) 217-9283 or E-Mail for more information.

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