By Mark Bilbrey -
With each passing day summer fades into fall. Longer nights and cooler temperatures leave a still fog on the morning lake as the water slowly cools down. For a fisherman one particular thing brings changes in the behavior of the bass, and that is the falling water temperature. This is the change that triggers an instinctive increase in the feeding activity in baitfish and bass. In this season rapid changes come and go, bass adapt much more quickly than anglers often do. In this season of change anglers must change with the dropping water temperatures to stay one step ahead of the bass they are perusing. In this post I will share a quick guide to help with lure selection during this period of transition.
In temperatures ranging from the 90’s and down through 80 degrees, locate bass in the main Lake channel as well as on humps, points and relating to other structure. In these areas during this temperature range use deep diving crankbaits as well as Texas and Carolina rigged soft plastic lures weighted to get deep into the structure.
As the water temperature reaches 80 degrees down to near 70 degrees, migrate with the baitfish to the mouths of creeks and humps, points and rock piles in the creeks. Fish wood cover with square billed shallow running crankbaits. Flipping jigs can also be productive on those blue-sky days. Lipless crankbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits also perform well in this temperature range. However, this is the perfect temperature range for morning and evening top waters lures as well. Pop-r, Zara’s and torpedoes catch nice bass on warm afternoons following a cold snap.
When the water temperature drops down to 70 degrees and on downward to 60 degrees, anglers should key in on humps and points near channel bends near the feeder creeks still alive with green vegetation. Again targeting isolated cover with shallow diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and lipless cranks over the green vegetation and in the grass lines that the bass use as ambush points are the better tactics. The smallmouth anglers will often be found searching for the bronze backs that are holding in known transition zones such as abrupt changes in the “structure” of the lakes bottom and the shoreline. Fall is a great time for dead sticking a drop shot rigged soft plastic around the structure.
Once the water dips to the 60-degree range, top water lures will begin to be less effective. And once the magic number of 55 degrees is reached the top water bite will not exist any longer under most circumstances. In this 55 – 60 degree temperature range anglers concentrate on the shallower points and flats near the backs of creeks. Use a lipless crankbait to locate any remaining vegetation by ripping them and checking the hooks for grass. In cooler water grass = bass. Focus on the areas that you find green plants with soft plastics rigged weedless, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits with a slower presentation. At and below 55 degrees, bass will often relate to wood cover such as stumps and laydowns. Flip and pitch with jigs and weighted soft plastics.
In late fall after water temperature is below 50 degrees anglers often focus primarily in stumps and other wooden structure such as docks and peers. Crankbaits, Jerkbaits and jigs again prevail well in the shallow water wood cover. Look for the cover near deep water.
There are other factors anglers must consider such as matching the size and type of bait that is located in the body of water they are fishing. Know the water depths and look for the areas where shallow flats are located near deep water. The changing water temperature means changes are needed in an angler’s presentation. As many get out their coats and jackets as they get ready for the long winter, bass are feeding and fattening up for the same reason. This is the season for lunkers.
This entry originally appeared on Team Bilbrey Fishing http://markbilbrey.com
All Images Courtesy of Team Bilbrey Fishing / Featured Image Donna Bilbrey Tournament Anger
About Mark Bilbrey
Mark is the owner of Team Bilbrey Fishing which is dedicated to the sport of fishing and the education of anglers to be both productive and responsible. Team Bilbrey provide tips, assist with sponsorships, marketing and product reviews. Team Bilbrey also offers press releases and angler biographies just to mention a few services we offer anglers.