In the month of October, the water temperature begins to really cool down, and the leaves change with the season. As the length of day continues to become much shorter, fish will be in full swing of their fall patterns.
Schooling fish will be much more visible chasing bait on points and humps during the day, especially from Dreher Island to the dam and around the mouths of the major creeks.
Shallow patterns should also be more prevalent as shallow resident fish become more active and migratory fish follow schools of bait into the shallows by the end of the month, especially on the upper end of the lake and in the backs of the creeks.
On the upper reaches of the lake, from Dreher Island up river, and in the backs of main lake coves, where the water has more color, look for fish to be shallower.
Techniques of choice will be slower techniques and shad-mimicking baits. Good lures of choice are Ima squarebill crankbaits; Greenfish Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and Jigs; Soft Plastics or Finesse worms, creature baits, tubes and beaver type baits, such as the Reins Craw Tube and Swamp Mover in a Natural or Green Pumpkin color.
Target moving baits during cloudy or windy conditions, switching to areas of shade around laydowns, docks and overhanging trees as the day gets brighter.
Focus on slower techniques in the same areas when fish are not as aggressive at times with lack of wind and abundant sunlight.
On the lower end of the lake, from Dreher Island to the dam, focus on walking topwaters, like the IMA Skimmer and Skimmer Grande in a Chrome Herring or Blueback Herring color, wakebaits like an IMA Bone Floating Flit, Swimbaits like new Optimum BoomBoom swimbait in a Shad or Jackson Trout color, as well as soft jerkbaits, like the 6-inch Optimum Victory Tail in a Shad or Chrome color, especially if there is wind.
Look for flatter primary points where fish will be suspended over 15 to 20 feet and fish topwaters and the Optimum Victory Tail in the mornings or during the day if it’s windy or cloudy. Slow down as the day progresses, if the wind dies down, and if the sky becomes brighter with a lack of cloud cover.
Slow down with a jig, shaky head or dropshot. Drop shot of choice is a Reins Bubbling Shaker in a Green Pumpkin or Margarita Mutilator. Be sure to key on the ends of flatter points with a hard bottom. You may be off shore as many as two cast lengths off the bank.
Points with these characteristics are typically marked with a hazard buoy. This time of year on the lower end of the lake, boat positioning can be key, so position the boat over water as deep as 25 to 35 feet, casting toward the point.
A Navionics chip in your graph, setting the shaded depth on your Humminbird (Press Menu twice, under Chart) to 20 feet, can be extremely helpful in locating ideal humps and points. Wind is also very important.
Follow the wind from day to day, fishing points that have the most direct wind blowing on them as paying attention to the wind can be the difference between a successful day and a difficult one this time of year.
The month of October is when largemouth bass start to transition into their fall patterns and into the shallows. Much of this progression can be easily followed by identifying the bait in the given area.
Bass will be shallow on points and in the back of creeks and pockets. In the river and in the backs of creeks and coves, where resident fish are more prevalent, fish could be as shallow as six inches, so be sure to focus on areas with shade.
Down the lake where bass are feeding on blueback herring, they could be as deep as 20 to 25 feet. Be sure to focus on open water long tapering points; and when you find fish, they should be grouped up and ready to bite.
Be sure to have an open mind and several lure options on your boat deck and be willing to cover water.
A great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and do a little fishing is to book a trip with one of the Lake Murray area guides. I am a certified Fisheries Biologist, United States Coast Guard Approved, a full-time largemouth bass guide, have fished fulltime and competitively for the past 10 years across the country on both the BASS and FLW trails, and have a lifetime of fishing experience.
I offer a learning experience on multiple techniques of your choice, tournament preparation, and/or electronics education. I would love to share my knowledge with you on the water and enjoy a day of fishing.