When I woke up this morning there was ice halfway across the lake I live on. That’s the end of the season as far as bass fishing goes in my part of the world. This past fall the fishing was extremely good, especially for big fish.
I’ve been fishing these late fall bites for bass right up to ice up for about 30 years.
Some of the things that I’ve learned you might find interesting.
The transition from warm to cool to cold and eventually ice determines what lakes I fish for bass and what I look for.
After the turnover when the water is in the mid to high 50’s, all the bass lakes I fish are really on. That means clear water, stained water, and dark water. Some lakes have a lot of cover, some have very little cover. The cover is usually in the form of weeds in the natural lakes I fish. The fish’s metabolism is still quite high and the fish are active at the beginning of the fall season. When the water gets to about 50º it’s still pretty good but your presentations really start to change. From horizontal baits, like spinnerbaits, crank baits & buzz baits, and swim baits to more vertical presentations like football heads, standard jigs and jig worms, and Texas rigged soft baits.
As the water temperature continues to drop down to about 40º – 41º you really see the largemouth bass slow down. I can still get bit but I’m fishing for 4 bites in 4 hours now, versus 40 bites in 4 hours when it was in the low 40’s and higher.
Water color and cover are key. When the water temperature gets in the low 40’s, I learned to avoid clear lakes that have a lot of dense weed growth. The fishes metabolism is so low at this point that it’s hard to get their attention when they’re buried in the weeds. They know the bait is there but they won’t respond to it. To get a bite now you need to fish smaller jigs, and that naturally means lighter jigs. You just can’t penetrate the deep, dense weeds to get the bait in front of enough fish. I found that the best thing for me to do then is fish stained to darker water lakes that have little to no weed growth. Even though the fishes metabolism is way down, the fish themselves are bunched up pretty heavy and I can still get a lure in front of their faces. Some of ’em will bite!
For me, this late fall period is my favorite time of the year to fish bass. Almost all of my big fish for the season are caught now.
I hope this would help you put a few more fish in your boat.