By Jim Newcomb
The second wave of great bass fishing for the year is upon us. It's getting close to fall, the leaves are turning and the air is getting crisp. I love this time of year, the hunting seasons are opening up and the bass are biting again.
It is the start of fall and the bass are just like God's other creatures. They feed heavy in the fall preparing for the lean winter months that lay ahead. Fall fishing is a little like spring fishing with a couple of twists. The fingerling bait fish that hung around the edges of the moss in the spring have grown up during the summer and have become a full meal to a hungry bass. Also, what shad that have made it through the summer have doubled and in some cases tripled in size. The good side of this natural growth is with maturity comes a sense of adventure. In the fall, bait fish are no longer just sticking to the weed beds around the shore lines. Instinct pushes them to venture into the waters away from the weed beds where big bass are secluded under stumps and rocks.
I find that bass will venture even closer to the shallow waters in the fall. I was out and about the other day surveying one of my best bass spots and was not surprised at all to see mature bass already lying in the flats. They might have been in two feet of water. It was hammer time on the dragon flies. Every one of them that touched the water became dinner for a bass ready to ambush them.
Summertime's extreme heat creates an oxygen shortage in the water, driving the bass to deeper waters to lessen the stress factor. That problem has dissipated in the fall and the bass get very active because of the favorable water conditions. Cold fronts bring lower temperatures, which balances the oxygen supply in the water. But now there is another disadvantage that has popped up for the bass. The daylight hours are rapidly getting shorter and bass have got to try and eat as much as possible in a shorter amount of time. It's time to take advantage of that fall bass activity these situations have created.
I usually go right to the areas I had good luck in the early spring. I will fish the shallow flats and coves with an old creek bed running around or through it. The shad are going to be in the creek beds this time of year. If you can find the shad, you can count on the bass being very close also. Take your time and fish the areas carefully, make a mental note at what depth the fish are hitting your lure. That same depth should work for all locations on that body of water. It has been my experience that the water is usually down in the fall. We usually don't get the heavy downpours in the fall as we do the spring. These conditions are actually more manageable to fish in. The water is much clearer. The diminished rainfalls during the summer months have given the lake or pond a chance to settle.
Once again, I fish the fall the same way I do spring with some simple but effective variations, using more stick bait and top water lures in this situation. Remember the bait fish bass feed on are larger during the fall. Your optimum fishing times in the morning and evening will be extended as a result of the fall feeding frenzy. The competition for the food source get's pretty intense this time of year. A bass' instinct is telling it to devour and store up as much food as possible for the winter. The bass is basically letting its guard down a bit in search of these food sources. Now is the time to get out there and take advantage of the situation.
Jim "Duckie" Newcomb, president of ShellShocked Outdoors, http://www.shellshockedoutdoors.com, he is an outdoorsman with 45 years of personal experience in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. He is an accomplished and respected waterfowl hunter along with guiding upland bird hunting adventures. He has trained thousands of gun dogs throughout his career. He is the host of an outdoor radio show and a respected outdoors writer and editor. His company does a lot of product testing for manufacturers of outdoor products.