Finally a cool breeze blowing in from the north makes fishing a lot more fun.
It also makes the Bass a lot more comfortable, no longer does she have to spend so much time and energy just trying to be comfortable as she does in the "Dog Days of Summer." Now with the water temp. coming down She can concentrate on feeding in order to fatten up for the winter. During the Winter when the water drops below about 50 degrees a Bass Metabolism drops to the point that it hardly has to eat at all , so in order to survive the long Winter They will gorge themselves on Shad. Make no mistake During the Fall Transition Shad ARE a Bass favorite forage.
The first thing you notice is that there are more Bass in shallow water simply because it is now comfortable to be there, and that they are more aggressive for longer periods of time, on overcast days they will often feed all day in very shallow water. During this early fall feeding they will really go for power baits like Large Spinnerbaits and Crank baits, large top water baits can be very successful now also. Remember the baitfish they are feeding on have had all Summer to grow and they are much larger than in the Spring. You always hear the old saying "find the baitfish and find the Bass". Well in the Fall that should say "Find the Large baitfish and find the Bass. Aggressive Bass gorging on Shad to gain weight for Winter will not spend much time on small forage.
As the water temp. Drops into the 70’s the Shad will begin to move towards the back of Creeks and Coves in preparation for winter, and of course the Bass will follow. Often hanging out on long sloping points waiting to ambush the schools of shad moving to their traditional winter home, deeper water. This can be the best time of the year for numbers as schools of Bass will bunch up on Structure around the creek edges and points, look for the Highways that Shad use to move back. These will usually be creeks meandering through shallow flats, and then look for ambush points along those routes. If there is ample plankton along the way shad will often foray into the flats to feed leaving themselves open to Bass hanging out around the creek edges and grass lines. A good time to find large Bass actively chasing shad.
Remember, in early Fall (as the temps drop into the 80’s look for them shallow around grass lines and structure with large spinnerbaits and top waters. As the water drops down even more follow them into the Creeks. This is a good time to try Jigs and Crank baits A large jig worked down slope on a point will take large Bass at this time if you are lucky enough to find them bunched. My personal favorite is a white jig in 3/8 or 1/2 oz. with a twin tail grub with at least a little chartreuse in it, or a medium diving crank bait in Shad colors. Fish aggressively in the Fall and you should have the best fishing of the year.
Earnie "Papa" Cella