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Outdoor Life: Fall bass fishing is right around the corner
Alvin Richardson
Alvin Richardson

This week’s weather has made it evident that the temperatures are trending downward and with that pattern comes the onset of another round of largemouth bass fishing.
     I can tell you that the bass have already sensed this drop in temperature because I’ve started to catch fish in a few in places where they haven’t been in three months.  The key for October is to find the bait fish, and the largemouth will not be far away.
    In the farm ponds you will begin to catch bass close to shoreline cover.
    The best lures to use are those that imitate bait fish. In shallow water those stick baits that dive a couple of feet down are about as good as anything you can use. Vary the size until you figure out what they want.
    Once you cast in close, let the lure sit still for a five count or more and then twitch it a couple of times before you begin the retrieve.
    There are going to be days in October when the fish are very willing to strike it on top. You can also vary the retrieve speed until you hit on just the right formula for that day. 
    If you are unsuccessful with that pattern you can move out 50 feet or so and fish a little deeper. If you do that, consider changing to a crank bait that will dive to a depth close to the bottom. If you can find areas where there is cover to bounce the crank bait over, so much the better.
    Stick bait shad imitations and crank baits are not the only way to go. I’ve caught plenty of fish in the fall on plastic worms, top water baits and spinner baits. 
    One of the really cool ways to catch bass in the fall (especially in shallow water with dense cover) is a floating worm. Zoom makes a great six-inch trick worm and I love to rig it with no weight and throw it into heavily grassed areas where there is at least a couple of feet of water.
    Sometimes they like it best when you twitch it along, but more often I catch fish when I rip it back on the retrieve. I like to make sure it sinks about a foot before starting that motion. It takes a little practice this way but it is a very effective way to get a lot of strikes.
    As I’ve said in earlier fishing articles it is smart to put a barrel swivel up the line about two feet to avoid the line twist that inevitably come with fishing worms. I love the bubblegum color for this style of fishing.  It catches fish and you can see it all the way back. Other colors can work as well but this one is consistently the best for me.
    If you are reservoir fishing you need to be aware of two things; vegetation and shad (or whatever the predominant bait fish is for that body of water).
    When you find these two things together the bass are probably going to be close by. This month shad are going to run up in the creek channels and the bass will be waiting for them using the vegetation as an ambush point. These ambush points probably won’t be in the shallow water, but rather in the 5- to 10-foot range. 
    Diving crank baits are the most popular for this month in our lowland reservoirs and you may have to adjust depending on which one you are fishing in. If you are fishing a reservoir that has an abundance of boat docks they can take the place of vegetation as cover and if you are in an area where you have spotted schooling bait fish it’s probably the right place.
    There is a twofold bonus for fall fishing.  One is the possibility that you will see bass feeding on bait fish in open water. If you spot a school of these fish you can probably catch them with some type of top water bait that matches the size and color of the shad. The hard part about that is that those schooling fish can be up one minute and gone the next. The other fall bonus is that if you catch a fish there’s probably more right there. They tend to be grouped up to a greater degree than any other time of year. Don’t leave a spot too quickly if you have had some success.

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at dar8589@bellsouth.net.