Lakecaster Online

OF BASS & GALS
By: Sue Crochet

Summer is mostly behind us now and I don't know about you, but I'm ready for cooler temperatures. I love the fall! Not only do the fish get more active, but we start gearing up for hunting. Personally, I like fishing in the fall better than in the spring. The weather is generally more predictable and fishing is more stable. Because of this, I feel a person's chances of catching their personal best largemouth are much greater.

Just like in early spring, my favorite lures in fall and early winter are the Cyclone spinner bait and Rat-L-Trap. This is the time of the year when bass are gorging themselves in preparation for the cold winter months and these lures more closely resemble the bait fish they're feeding on. Although you can expect more of an all-day bite this time of the year, there will still be more activity during the major and minor feeding periods, depending upon the moon phase. I will always have a couple of different types of plastics tied on for when things slow down.

Water temperatures during the summer have been in the 80s in as much as 20 foot depths. For this reason, I don't expect bass to move up very shallow until mid to late October. I'd focus most of my efforts in the 5 to 10 foot depths, depending on water clarity, structure, and time of the day. Of course, there will be some activity in less than five feet during the early morning and late evening hours, and sometimes all day during overcast weather conditions.

Even though bass will be roaming (not as tight to cover) as weather and water temperatures cool down, I personally prefer to fish in areas where there is more grass. On the south end of Toledo Bend, 6-Mile Creek, Hausen Bay, and Pirates Cove have the largest amount of grass. The grass offers shade from the bright sun and provides ambush points for bass to attack bait fish. Other areas on Toledo where the grass is coming back quite nicely are Indian Mounds, McGee's Flats, and Jessie Lowe Bay. These areas offer a wide variety of depths, as well as varying stages of grass growth, which can be very productive in the fall.

Another of my favorite lures to use in the fall is the Reaction U2 (similar to the Fluke and Bass Assassin). In the fall of 1995, I won the Bass 'N Gal Toledo Bend "early bird" event using this type of lure. At that time, Arnold's Bay had lots of grass approximately two feet below the surface. Schools of large bass had congregated in this area and were chasing shad. All we had to do was throw the weightless lure out, barely move it, and hang on. Weekends like that don't happen very often; sometimes only once in a lifetime. God blessed me with one for the memory books!

You just never know when and where this might happen to you, so be prepared for anything. If you are fortunate to have several rods, I'd make sure I have something different tied on each one (spinner bait, crank bait, worm, top water, and a sub-surface lure). Watch for any type of activity on the surface, which could be anything from a small swirl now and then to several ferocious strikes in a row. One thing's for sure... you won't know what or how big it is if you don't throw in that direction!
Hunting season is approaching and many anglers will be temporarily trading in their rods for guns. This leaves a lot more room on the lakes for those of us who still want to be fishing. Now that my husband and I have a camp again on Toledo Bend, we hope to be able to mix hunting and fishing in the same trip. However, if the weather's right and the fish are biting, the deer are going to have to wait. Fishing is my first love (sorry Wade)!

If you're one of those die-hard deer hunters, be sure when you change "hats" to remember your hunting safety. It's always wise to make sure someone knows where you will be and what time to expect you to return home or to the camp site. Check the safety on your gun frequently and just in case it should accidentally discharge, be sure to have it pointed in the air when walking. When in unfamiliar wooded areas, a compass is a handy, inexpensive gadget that can prevent you from walking in circles for hours!

There are several other tips specifically related to hunting in this part of the country, such as having mosquito repellant with you at all times. Your local Wildlife & Fisheries Dept. can be a great resource for hunting tips and other information. The most important thing to remember is to be safe. Without safety, nothing is fun!

The Lake Area Lady Anglers will be having their September event on Sam Rayburn out of the Twin Dikes Public Ramp. If you'd like to fish in this event, there will be a pre-tournament meeting at The Stump Restaurant at 5:00 AM on Saturday, September 13th. If you need more information, you can give me a call @ (337) 217-9283 or e-mail me @ cbasskitten2@cs.com.

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