Au­tumn Bass Strate­gies –

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“Au­tumn Bass Strate­gies – Un­lock­ing The Pat­tern!” We are at it again, as we pon­der what to do next time we find our­selves on the water search­ing for that fish of a life­time – Mzi Ty­hokolo

Well, worry not as I will try to guide you with a few point­ers for au­tumn fish­ing so that you are bet­ter pre­pared to have a pro­duc­tive day on the water the next time you are out. You see, bass are from the sun­fish fam­ily of fish, whose body tem­per­a­ture is very sen­si­tive and sus­cep­ti­ble to the tem­per­a­ture of the water. Imag­ine your­self in the mid­dle of win­ter when it’s freez­ing cold and all you want to do is snug­gle up and sip hot choco­late, or in the heat of sum­mer when you want to do noth­ing but sprawl in a cool room and do noth­ing but reach out for a su­per cold drink from your couch. Same thing hap­pens to our lit­tle friends when it’s too hot or too cold, their me­tab­o­lism slows down and food, or your lure, takes a back seat. So, now that we know this, how does au­tumn change this deal?

Au­tumn - Feast time for sure!

The rea­son that au­tumn pro­duces some of the best fish­ing is be­cause of a few things which we will now con­sider, which make the bass all the more keen to eat up.

Water tem­per­a­ture starts to drop as the de­bil­i­tat­ing heat starts to re­cede and paving the way for the win­ter. The cooler water not only makes the fish more ac­tive but it draws them to the shal­lows where there is grass, more oxy­gen and food, which are all a recipe for ac­tive bass ready to smash your lure.

Shorter days means that the sun raises a lit­tle later,

keep­ing the bright­ness at bay and ex­tend­ing the pe­riod for that awe­some morn­ing and af­ter­noon bite. The fish get a lot bolder with lower light con­di­tions and re­main in the shal­lows much longer. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant in our clear water dams.

Food be­comes plen­ti­ful in the shal­lows this time of the year as well, and the bass think of noth­ing else but the buf­fet that awaits them in the shal­lower water.

Water lev­els and veg­e­ta­tion. With the im­prove­ment in water lev­els in most dams around the coun­try, the water has moved up into the grass, and this pro­vides bass with both food and shel­ter. A per­fect com­bi­na­tion for an awe­some day of fish­ing.

So, what pat­tern should you fish in au­tumn?

There are two parts to this con­cept of a pat­tern, first you need to fig­ure out where the fish are and sec­ond, how to catch them. The first should be a lit­tle eas­ier to fig­ure out now given what we have been talk­ing about re­gard­ing the time of year it is. So, lo­cate grass flats near ma­jor river chan­nels or what is called fish mi­grat­ing routes, back of bays, sec­ondary bays and pretty much any flat with grass or struc­ture in the water should hold some fish. Your chances of suc­cess are tripled if you hap­pen to find bait fish in the same shal­lows.

So, now that we know when they should be, what baits do we use?

Re­mem­ber one thing here, the fish are in an ac­tive feed­ing mood and so don’t skimp on mov­ing baits. My top five baits would be; li­p­less crankbaits or what most call rat­tle traps. Throw these along the grass edge and re­trieve with mod­er­ate speed. I love these as they are such easy baits to use, throw and re­trieve and… hang on.

My sec­ond favourite here is a weight­less fluke or soft jerk­bait. This I will throw as far back into the sparse grass and just twitch it back to the boat through the grass. Be care­ful and use de­cent strength line, min­i­mum 10 -12lb fluoro­car­bon line, de­pend­ing on whether you fish trees or grass and sim­i­lar veg­e­ta­tion.

Third, and this is when the big boys come to play, throw that frog. De­pend­ing on the den­sity of the veg­e­ta­tion you can chose whether it’s the horny toad type from which you cast and re­trieve steadily or you use the pop­ping re­trieve type frog. By the way, you don’t only fish frogs in grass, fish them on open flats too or just off the bank. The strikes are among the best in bass fish­ing so be warned, if you have a weak heart, bring an ex­tra pair of un­der­pants.

Fourth, I would say a jerk­bait and prefer­able on a more open flat or bank with shal­low water. The think with jerk­baits is that they are so good you may be put a fish on the boat at ev­ery cast. And of­ten the first two or three me­ters of your re­trieve is when these get eaten.

Fifth, and not cer­tainly least, spin­ner­bait. This bait still con­tin­ues to put fish on the boat even in an era when it seems like there is a new bait ev­ery week. Throw this bad boy into the slick grass and be­tween the trees and re­trieve away. These are gen­er­ally snag proof and will put fish on the boat, es­pe­cially if there is a slight breeze blow­ing onto the ban you are fish­ing.

There is a myr­iad of baits out there which var­i­ous peo­ple catch plenty of fish on but I have cho­sen the ones listed be­cause I have had great suc­cess with them.

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