November is a month of change in East Tennessee. The TVA lakes are drawn down to winter pool and some shoreline cover is left high and dry. Some people lament this and others seize the opportunity it provides. If you think about it, there are less places for fish to hide and actually more bass per acre of water. Isolated cover, whether it’s a stump, a vein of rock, or a dock left in the water, can be prime targets for hunting a bass. As always, baitfish are still important. When you find those, along with a piece of isolated cover, you can capitalize on the situation.
Bass, in the fall, are feeding up for winter. They want to use the opportunity to get ready for the cold winter weather and slow metabolism to come. The shorter days and cooler nights give them the signal to get ready. Most people are going to be fishing shallow with top water lures, square bill crankbaits, and spinnerbaits in their arsenal. That approach can afford an angler many chances to catch fish, but there are also other ways to pursue them so don’t be afraid to think about other options. A shaky head, or a jig, will almost always catch fish year-round. With the thermocline no longer an issue, a fish might be sitting on a transition area, at the end of a bluff, near shallow water, before finding a winter home. The old Bill Dance saying of deeper water close by is likely to apply often. Don’t be afraid of a little cloudy and overcast weather either, as some of the best days will be at times when you have to wear your rain suit to keep dry. Time on the water will give you clues about what bass are doing during a given period of time.
Crappie anglers are also enjoying the cooler temperatures and seeing success in their pursuit. Minnows and Bobby Garland soft plastics are putting fish in the boat. In clear water, Monkey Milk or Purple Monkey are go-tos. In stained water, chartreuse and other brighter options seem to be the best choices. Man-made, sunken brush piles are an excellent place to find fish most times.
One thing to remember, no matter how many fish you catch, is to enjoy God’s creation and savor the great outdoors our area offers.
Charlie Beasley is the owner of 129 Fishing in Maryville, TN. They provide the resources to help anglers catch more fish on every trip.