Beef it up! Autumn is going to be an explosion of unbelievable bass fishing as the fish get a hint of winter setting in and the necessity to build up their fat reserves to carry them through the colder months.
“Autumn Bassin’ Get Crankin!” Beef it up! Autumn is going to be an explosion of unbelievable bass fishing as the fish get a hint of winter setting in and the necessity to build up their fat reserves to carry them through the colder months – Roger Donaldson
Why do bass do this? If you’ve spent enough time on the water during the summer months you will notice how life is so much more abundant around the waters edges; all classes, including amphibians, insects, fish and so many others such as small birds, snakes, lizards and even worms. The activity and intensity of this life around the winter period reduces remarkably compared to summer and the bass realise it long before we do.
As we bend around the corner into autumn bass anglers can capitalise on this seasonal change. At their best bass are a hungry species to say the least. Come autumn they have specific objectives in mind and their aggression almost becomes more obsession. They want to fill up on the most food that they can and will chase it down in order to fulfil their needs.
The bigger your bait the better – beef it up!
Here are some sure fire strategies to round up all those bass over the next few months and make for some great fishing before the cold weather sets in.
Interestingly, the warmer water over summer often contains less oxygen than water during the cooler autumn months. Hence, there is the old advice that early morning and late afternoon fishing can be more productive in summer around the cooler temperatures of the day. Looking at autumn however, these cooler periods are extended and the feeding windows therefore widen. That’s great news for the coming months!
My first advice would be to launch yourself into your box of crankbaits and don’t look back. Today’s variety of hard baits allows you to fish into almost every situation, bar thick vegetation. I remember watching Kevin VanDam the international angler cleaning up at an event whilst fishing a lipless crankbait through hydrilla weed which was growing up on a sandy flat just off a channel break. What a great combination. By ripping the baits treble hooks through the hydrilla he managed to entice every hungry resident bass into feeding and he ended up winning the tournament. This epitomises the art of autumn fishing, not that we’re all aiming at winning the BASSMaster Classic.
It doesn’t mean that you need to go to VanDam extremes by any means. Bass will be migrating across the lake and looking for food as they do so. When anglers stick to fishing slow moving soft plastic lures they can dramatically limit their chance of locating bass on the move. This is where crankbaits can help you capitalise as they cove large areas of water quickly. Casting and retrieving until you’ve found where the bass are most active at any given time of the day.
Although I expressed my desire of larger baits during this time I certainly won’t overlook the medium and smaller crankbait options. I am merely highlighting that the larger
There is never one particular depth in which the bass may be found during the autumn period and every dam will also have its changing conditions which relate to water levels, bait population and weather conditions.
lures are most welcome during autumn months and you can feel confident fishing them now.
The diving depth of a crankbait relies heavily on the size of its lip and then of course your line diameter. The thicker your line the more resistance the lure encounters when trying to dive to its maximum swimming depth.
This brings about the necessity to equip yourself sufficiently with crankbaits to reach the variable depths in order to seek out the ‘active’ fishing zones. Once located it goes without saying that you can choose to settle down after landing a few fish and if you desire to reap the full reward of the area perhaps eventually exchange your crankbait for your favourite soft plastic lure to finish.
This article was specifically focused on the benefits of crankbait fishing around autumn, yet there certainly are other creative ways to take advantage of the season ahead. This will still include topwater fishing and running through your selection of spinnerbaits.
So now that you are not short of choice get out there and put these strategies to the test!
*Roger Donaldson is an experienced journalist and knowledgeable bass angler who has enjoyed many enlightening hours with many of South Africa’s top, competitive bass fishermen. As a competitive angler himself, he also enjoys sharing his expertise with fellow bass fanatics in the hope that they find the same joy in this unique sport.