Sep 10, 2014
Fall Time Tactics For Big Bass
By: Glenn Walker
Fall, the season of change, the days are getting shorter, air and water temperatures are dropping and big bass are putting the feed bag on BIG TIME! With the cooler temperatures, bass are getting the sense to feed up heavily prior to the winter months and many times these bass are grouped up and when you catch one, you’ll catch many.
During the early fall when the vegetation is still present and matted, I like to cover as much as possible at first to locate where the bass are grouped up. One of the best ways to do this is to use a topwater floating frog, as this bait will sit atop the mats and call big bass to the surface. I like to use a frog that will walk-the-dog, as many times strikes will occur when you are retrieving the frog all the way to the boat.
I like to use a Snag Proof Ish’s Phat Frog as it can walk-the-dog right out of the package and moves across lilypads and matted grass with ease. When selecting colors, I like to go with two options in the fall, either white, as it mimics shad, or a brown colored one as it mimics sunfish that are still up shallow. By covering water with a frog, you can search out for the greenest and living vegetation quickly, as this is where many times the bass will be located.
To get the most action out of your frog and to help you get the bass out of the heavy cover, you’ll need a stout rod, but with a soft tip. This will help give action to your bait and with the solid backbone of a rod and heavy braided line, you’ll be able to get those pigs out of the thick stuff.
When searching out fish holding areas in vegetation, I like to look for areas that have other forms of cover located in or near it, such as laydown, boat docks or a rip rap section of bank. A key item that needs to be close by is deeper water. If a severe cold snap hits, those bass are going to retreat to that deeper water very quickly. On the river systems, these areas are typically close to the current. On lakes, look for areas near deep water humps or points.
Once I’ve located a tight group of bass, whether it be in a weed clump, around one of the remaining boat docks on a lake, or along a section of bank with laydowns, I’ll slow down, drop my Minn Kota Talon’s and flip a jig or Texas-rigged plastic to those key pieces of cover.
Many times as the cool night temperatures begin to kill off some of the milfoil, I like to go flip the remaining living, green milfoil. Since the vast majority of this vegetation has died off or gone dormant for the year, the bass will school up in the areas where there is still good, green vegetation. Not only does this help you as an angler to quickly find fish, but once you find those fish they’ll be grouped up and ready to bite!
Since I’m flipping this milfoil in anywhere from 5 to 10 feet of water, I’ll either rely on a ½ oz. jig in black/blue or green pumpkin or a Texas-rigged soft plastic. When selecting a jig, two of the qualities you’ll want to look for include a sharp, heavy duty hook, since you’ll be using braided line you don’t want the hook to bend or break. The other design feature in a jig, that will help you spend more time fishing and less time hung up in the weeds, is a line tie that will not get hung up.
When I go to a Texas-rig, I’ll start with a ½ to ¾ oz. Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp tungsten weight that is pegged with a bobber stop. On the business end, I’ll tie on a 4/0 TroKar TK130 Flipping hook and since I want my plastic to slide right through the mat, I like to use a bait with a slim profile and not many appendages to get hung up on the way down.
Many times I like to use a small creature bait or small craw bait, such as Zoom Super Speed Craw or Z-Hog in black/blue or green pumpkin.
When flipping to this vegetation or cover, I flip it along the edges or in the open water pockets and let the bait sink to the bottom. Once on the bottom, I’ll pop it up and down a few times and if I didn’t get a bite, I’ll reel it up. This bite is a very strong reaction bite, which is why I don’t let my bait sit in one spot too long.
Since you are flipping very heavy cover, you need to get a solid hook set and get the bass turned out of that vegetation so you’ll get them in the boat. Using a braided line and flipping stick rod will help drive that hook into the fish’s mouth and then help you get them out of the cover. I use Seaguar Smackdown 65 lb. braided line and a 7’6” Wright & McGill Micro Guide Heavy Cover rod. What is so unique and beneficial about the Micro Guides is that they give you increased sensitivity because your line is closer to the rod blank, along with increased casting distance since there is less resistance by the guides.
I highly recommend that you get out on your favorite lake or river and take advantage of some great fall fishing opportunities for big bass.
Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos. Glenn's sponsors include: Buck Knives, Ducky Products, Humminbird, LakeMaster, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, ORCA Coolers, Plano, Rayjus, RC Tackle, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits. For more information, check out www.GlennWalkerFishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.