Sep 10, 2016
Seasonal Fishing with Greg of TheHautdoors
While many of you are getting into the fields to go bowhunting or scouting, the smallmouth in central Wisconsin are beginning to go on a crazy feeding frenzy. The tournament weights are in the upper 22 lb. range and, each season, it is as if the fish are trending even bigger. Personally, fall fishing is my favorite time to be on the water. The views are amazing, and you don’t have nearly as much boat traffic as you experience during the summer months. At times, it’s as if you have the entire lake to yourself.
You can use a wide range of lures and techniques to catch big bass. The options are limitless, you can use a jerkbait, a tube, an umbrella rig, a drop shot, or even topwater approaches. Many 5-6 lb. fish are caught and they are usually found together.
With so many options of baits to choose from in the fall, many anglers struggle making the choice of where to begin. I typically will start with a topwater bait in the morning. You can use a walking bait, popping bait, or even a buzzbait. While I am searching for the fish, I typically use a lure that is heavy so that I can cast as far as possible.
As the day progresses, I move to deeper and deeper water, fishing in 10-12 feet with a jerkbait checking for the fish. If they are not hitting, I go a little deeper and work a tube in 14-16 feet. Tubes can produce some large fish all year long. The umbrella rig is fun to throw for a while, but be sure to only use three hooks in Wisconsin. Also known as the Alabama rig, it has one fishing line with five separate baits attached, simulating a tantalizing small school of bait fish. It is illegal in the state of Wisconsin to have more than 3 hooks, three baits or three lures. Since it is designed to catch multiple fish, each hook counts. A full explanation of this regulation can be found on the DNR website, www.dnr.wi.gov. If that isn’t producing, time to go deeper and drop shot. As the day continues, I work right back up the list in reverse order so that I have a dusk bite on topwater lures.
Many things can contribute to not finding the smallmouth as easily in the fall. It seems as if every time I am on the water the waves are huge and the winds are high. I, personally, used to avoid them and have come to learn that was a big mistake. Fishing in the wind has become a lot easier for me and I have found much more success in doing so. Boat control becomes important.
Last season, we fished for 4 hours in an area where we managed to catch 51 smallmouth and quit counting - many times catching 3 fish at once. It doesn’t happen every day, but it made a memory forever. On that particular day, we were using drop shot techniques. The color of the bait didn’t even matter; as soon as the weight hit the bottom, the fish would hit it. When drop shotting, the most important detail is the tag end. I set mine anywhere from 13”-19” from the bait. Always use as light a sinker/weight as possible. I use braided line and tie a fluorocarbon leader to it. Trokar has the Helix hooks, and they have a great hook up ratio. There is nothing better than catching a 6 lb. smallmouth bass in 35 feet of water on light tackle.
Last but not least, as long as you’re dressed for the weather, you can stay out in the cold all day. Many people tend not to dress properly for fall fishing. If you have a lot of layers on, you can just remove them as the day gets warmer, or add them for the evening bite. Being comfortable makes the day that much easier to enjoy. I typically will wear a 100mph Gore Tex suit, wool socks, and waterproof boots. When your feet are dry, it’s easier to withstand the elements of the day.
Greg Haut is the owner of TheHautdoors. He has been guiding for 11 years, tournament bass fishing for 12 years, and fishing his entire life. He has been fortunate enough to become a part of several pro staffs. He would like to thank Eagle Claw, Lazer Trokar, Wright McGill, River 2 Sea, Baitmate, Mepps, Mister Twister, St Croix rods, Russ Darrow Dodge 76th and Lake-link for their support through the years. To book a trip with Greg check out www.TheHautdoors.com and if you want to see where the fish are biting, follow him on Facebook.