Get The Catch On

By Scott Norton

Fall is one of those seasons that can be very productive and full of action. Now that people are focused on deer hunting you can reap the benefits not only from the lack competition but from bass becoming pelagic with their aggressive tactics of feeding. The days are getting shorter and cooler but there will be a definite trade off because this is the trigger that cause bass to feed heavy before the winter time. You will notice that bass will be on the move using shoreline features to corral and ambush shad. Numbers of bass start to work together like cowboys on a cattle drive to make the feed easy.

Now that you know what is happening a good plan is needed to have that productivity. Let’s start with baits. When bass are chasing you will want to use moving baits to mimic what the forage is doing. Crank baits, a-rigs, under spins, spinner baits, blade baits, jerk baits, flutter spoons are a few baits that work very well in this situation. When using crank baits speed cranking with pauses in your retrieve work great but do not use the cranks from the summer because they have too much wobble. Cranks with a tight wobble are made for cold water. Understand that the bass that you see breaching the water are the smaller sized bass. Large bass learn to conserve calories so they will hangout below the chasing bass to pick off the injured shad. Blade baits and flutter spoons will get those larger bass using this pattern. The other baits you just chuck and wind with breaks in your cadence.

Shore line features to look for will be points, saddles, coves, and pockets. It looks like all features but you need to find out where they are pushing the shad. Now probe those features using a moving bait to eliminate the features they are not using. Start from the main point and move your way towards the backs of the creaks until you find all the shad. Live sonars make this process easy but if you do not have one you will have to fan cast the old fashion way.

There are other ways to find where the bite is better. I like to start either at very low or very high elevation in the mountains to find the water temps to that works best for the bite. In Western North Carolina you can phone in the Dream Catchers Fishing Supply to get all the temps and water levels in the surrounding areas. Look for your local resources to help you plan out your trips.

Scott Norton is a Western North Carolina native. Born in Asheville, N.C., he is a long-time hunter, angler and weekend warrior.