A Summertime Fall
September 24, 2011
I took a road trip this weekend and met up with Alain & Cindy on a distant lake, searching out fall smallies. An arrival time of 8:00 A.M. had us hitting the lake almost immediately afterwards. With flat calm conditions and a light misty rain falling, I thought we were going to just crush them. However, with the water almost 70 degrees, it seemed a whole lot more like summer than fall and I had to make adjustments regularly. A topwater bite was present but not a great one! Fish were attacking but only a few of them were actually eating. Most were just slapping at the baits looking like they wanted them out of their way. Poppers, Zara’s and prop baits all had similar results and this forced me to make a change, quickly. With Alain now on a senko, I decided to have Cindy throw a jig to see if we could get an attitude adjustment. It worked and now both were hooking up often. Unfortunately though, most fish were of the smaller size and of a two pound average. I continued to throw a topwater knowing that I could at least find the fish and hopefully one of them could throw back and catch it. We fished big bays and searched for weeds that were holding plenty of bait. Each time we changed areas, all of us began with surface lures, looking for quick bites. Cindy remained on a prop bait and managed to get a reaction every time we shifted spots, but unfortunately not all ended in hookups. Her best fish of the day was to come on this lure and now she was beginning to enjoy fishing with it! Alain’s best was to come on a buzz bait in between two weed beds when we spotted some surface activity. Although we covered plenty of water today, the results were pretty much the same. We never really got into a great active area with the exception of an open water shoal. This place was surrounded by over 100 feet of water and topped out around 12 at its highest point. Surface lures had a feeding frenzy going on but most fish were under a pound and not really what we were looking for. We tried going down, but ended up getting snagged on every cast and decided to leave all together. Rain was falling off and on and except for our lunch break with sunshine, it was a pretty dark day. We never really got into anything great today and only had a fish here and there, all over the lake. I think tomorrow will need even more adjustments and I’m ready, willing and eager to get started. Plenty of action today but not the quality bites I expected!! The second morning had me toying with the idea that by fishing the deep edges of weed beds, I would find the bigger fish. This didn’t work in the first area and I ventured into the 8 to 12 foot flat adjacent with sparse weeds. Jigs were now being thrown and we had a nice wind allowing a pretty good drift & drag approach. With Alain’s son Jean Francois along today, we had an extra rod in the water and hopes were pretty high. Despite a few fish on the surface, most bites were coming by slowly working the jigs right on the bottom. Multiple hookups were had and many fish were being landed until another boat moved in on us. I wasn’t surprised to see this as it’s almost a daily occurrence for me. What I was shocked about however, was that it occurred on this lake! I’ve probably grown accustomed to dealing with other nearby boat traffic and had them just keep fishing. The whole time we were landing plenty of bass and the other boat never hooked a single one! This must have really frustrated them and after almost an hour of punishment, they just left. We too, soon relocated and were now fishing another area of similar bottom along a weed bed and once again hooking up. Tubes were definitely the ticket and I planned on staying on this presentation for the remainder of the day. Oh there were a few areas that top water was used but not entirely. We would always resort to the jigs and finesse the bulk of the bass with this technique. For some reason, the other end of the lake wasn’t producing very well and after spending a lot of time looking for fish there, we ended up back where we began. The last couple of hours were spent slowly dragging jigs along the bottom and more bass were once again landed. Even with other boats around us, fish were being hooked and many more were landed in the time remaining. I wanted to get a jump on the traffic and pulled off the lake around 4:30 to avoid the rush. The two days spent here made me realize that the best is still yet to come. Despite the color of the leaves and some of them falling, autumn hasn’t arrived yet. It seems that the water will have to cool much more in order for the bigger bass to start feeding shallow. I may just have to get back to the lake again in order to take advantage of some of the biggest fish of the year. By then, everyone will have closed up their summer cottages and we should have the lake entirely to ourselves. Sounds like a good plan to me!!