With the Fall's cooler temps starting to bring down water temps all over the country it is time to grab a flipping stick and go toe-to-toe with the bass in your local waters. In this month's Big Bite newsletter, we are talking flipping and pitching tactics.
Toe To Toe Bassin
By: Scott M. Petersen
When leaves start to turn colors and make their way to the ground, the cool temps of Fall will start to bring your local water temps down causing the bass to start making movements from their deep water haunts that they have spent their summer in back into the shallows. With that change if you want to be part of the catching crew of bass fishermen you will have to make the move right along with them. It is the time of the year to put down your deep water jig or crankbait rod that you have been using all summer long and grab your flipping stick to get ready to go toe-to-toe with these newly located bass. Bass will leave the comfort of their summer haunts that they have stayed in for the last few months chasing baitfish and crawfish out on the rocks and move back to the areas where they started their spring season, in the weeds, buried in some brush cover, or ambushing baitfish from a laydown on the bank.
Part of this movement may be fueled by their food source making a big move back towards the shallows at this time of the season forcing the bass to follow. For whatever reason that may draw their food source towards the shallows without food the bass will not survive for long so they are forced to make the move also.
Bass heading back to the shallows will look for cover to ambush food from. Weeds, brush, laydowns, and docks will play a big part of where the bass will take up residence for the next few months. Let's take a look at some of the things that you can do to put more odds in your favor when it comes to Fall time toe-to-toe bassin.
Electronics will play a big part in how you will find the cover that the bass are holding in or on. If you are hunting down brush piles that are located off of the bank, Humminbird Side Imaging will be worth its weight in gold. Set your range at 150ft on each side of the boat and make a few passes over the flats looking for a starting spot. Once you find a few areas drop waypoints on these spots to come back to and fish.
Weed edges will play a big part in holding bass during this part of the season. Bass can burry up in the weeds during harsh cold front conditions and also position themselves on the inside or outside edges ambushing food when they are active. If it is a cool night, they have the warmth of the weeds to keep them warm at night noting they will feel right at home when buried up in the weeds.
Look at the condition of the weeds you are fishing if they look brown and dying keep moving, if the weeds are green and alive that is your key to start your hunt. One of the first things you have to find, look for pockets in the weeds to figure out the position of the bass. Are the bass buried up in the weeds or are they roaming the edge hunting for food?
One tip here use your Side Imaging to look for key changes in the weeds. Look for rocks that are located outside of the weedline, these will be key areas and will be prime for bass location. I also use Side Imaging to help mark inside and outside turns in the weedlines, when you find these areas drop a waypoint that you can come back to and fish. I also give weedline points the same treatment; if you see a weedline point along the edge drop a waypoint on it to come back to.
Laydowns on the bank are easy to see and should also get your attention. Take the time to work your way towards the laydown and work the outside first then work into the middle. Do not start your flips inside as you will spook the bass that may be holding on the outside edges of the brush or tree. Work the outside edge first then move to the sweet spot inside with your presentation.
One of the fall time locations that is kind of forgotten at this time of the season is docks. If you are in the south docks stay in all year long but up in the north, they start to get removed before the lakes ice up. As the shallow weeds start to die off docks will be an option for the bass to use as feeding stations. When on the water take the time to check a few docks especially the ones that are located close to deep water. These deep water areas will be easy to target as you can see them on your lake map chip.
Jig or Plastics
This is a question that every fishermen is faced with for me I use both options and let the bass tell me what they prefer that day. Bait options when it comes to Big Bite plastics are the Real Deal Craw, YoMama, 4" Rojas Fighting Frog and new this year is the 5" Rojas Fighting Frog. This is a prime bait of choice when you are looking for a bigger bite or if you need a bigger profile bait when fishing in dirty water conditions. Add to that the new Swimming Mama and Mike McClelland's first signature bait the Battle Bug.
Any of these baits can be rigged and used as a jig trailer or used on a heavy cover hook teamed with an appropriate sized tungsten weight to fish the cover you are targeting. If you are looking to use a bait that is a cross between a jig and plastics use a weight that allows you to add a skirt, this will give you the best of both worlds when needed.
One special note if you are looking for more of a flapping action or gliding action out of your plastics leave the pincher part of your Big Bite plastics together. If you are looking for more action out of your bait separate the pinchers of your plastics option.
When it comes to equipment I beef up for my toe-to-toe battle. 8ft heavy action flipping stick, teamed with a 7:1 speed reel, that is spooled with 60lb Sunline FX2 braided line is my equipment of choice. I many times let the target that I am fishing dictate if I flip or make a pitching presentation. If the target is close and I need to make repeated dunks I will use flipping as my choice. It is easier to use a lift and drop presentation to hit more areas than making a pitch every time. If I am a distance away from the target I would like to hit, I will use a pitching presentation to get my bait into the target zone.
If you are fishing in clear water conditions and feel that the bass are line weary, spool up your flipping reel with Sunline Flipping FC in the 20-25lb range. This will allow you to make your presentation a little more undetected many times paying dividends by the end of your day of fishing.
Pay special attention and let the bass tell you how they want the bait fished. There will be days that when the bait hits the water they are on it. This may be days after a cold night followed by a bright sunny day, as the sun warms up the upper layer of the weeds the bass will move to the upper layer of the weeds to soak up the warmth of the sun in the morning. As the day goes on they may move back towards the bottom and take up a new ambush position.
If the bass are positioned on the bottom they may want the bait hoped a couple of times on the bottom to trigger the bite, when you get a bite make a mental note as to where the bite is coming from and how you are fishing the bait. Use this information to key in on and get more bites during your day of fishing. Let the bass tell you how they want the bait presented that day and the key to these holding locations.
So the next time you hit the water this Fall be ready to go toe-to-toe with the bass in your local waters. Be it a jig or just plastics rigged on a heavy cover hook Big Bite has a bait option for you. To see all the Big Bite Baits please log onto www.bigbitebaits.com.