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.

SA Bass - - Contents - >> Roger Don­ald­son*

“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.

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