Bass Fall for Topwater
With our continuing fall warming trend and an unusual pattern for catching bass this could be one of the best times to experience the ultimate in bass fishing, the thrill of a topwater lure. Iíve experienced several years in Idaho in the past that offered these similar conditions and the fishing was beyond even some of my best days behind the rod at any other time of the year.
by Dennis Udlinek
Bass tend to feed heavily in the fall and with the continued warm temperatures they will likely feed near the shallow areas in either streams, rivers or lakes. The key is to place the right bait in front of the prowling predator.
This phenomenon usually only lasts a short while but the intensity of the experience can last a life time. Bass follow the bait fish during the fall transition and that seems to be the only thing that drives them. Where you find feed for smaller fish, youíll find bass. This means that using minnow pattern lures are essential in enticing a hungry lunker.
Smallmouth in particular are voracious eaters during fall and can be found driving minnows up onto the bank throughout the day. This is why topwater can be so productive.
By this time of year all the other resident species have spawned and their young have grown to an eatable size for both smaller (one year and two year class fish) and larger fish. The fry are usually feeding on plankton that bloomed during those hot summer days and they are now old enough to feast on the abundant food. This of course attracts the larger fish which in turn brings along bass and other predator fish to take advantage of the concentrated bait.
Itís not uncommon to catch many times your limit in one spot because of the conglomeration of fish in one area. When bass are the most active I like to use my favorite topwater bait to heighten my experience.
Over the years I have used many brands, styles and patterns for fishing topwater under these conditions. As a result, I have found what I think is some of the best lures on the market in terms of, application, fish attracting and fish catching ability. Recently, I was introduced to a new bait that has been improved upon that seems to work when others havenít. Stormsí Rattliní Chug Bug is such a lure.
Chug Bugs by Storm
The Chug Bug can be fished as a popper, throwing ample amounts of spray with each jerk of the rod tip, or it can be used as a surface chugger, by using the "walk the dog" retrieve technique as you bring the lure back to your position. This is accomplished by lowering your rod tip and allowing slack in your line as you rhythmically twitch your rod tip back. Either way, this lure can excite a bass from as far as twenty feet or more to explode on its precarious position.
Sometimes the bass are weary of moving to the surface to feed and will be seen coming up to the topwater lure only to swim off as they get right to it. When this happens it can be frustrating, especially when you see the biggest smallie of your whole life flash before your eyes and you could do nothing about it.
Not to fear, Storm has an answer to pattern this particular situation. Itís a lure called a Thunderstick. These elongated diving plugs are floating baits that dive just beneath the surface for just this kind of application.
Thundersticks by Storm
The key here is to first cast to your target area and let the bait sit on the surface for several seconds (until the rings clear), then twitch the lure once or twice, again letting it set. This often entices a strike but, in the event that the bass are unsure about rising to the surface you can reel the lure down several feet to its prescribed running depth, which is usually two to four feet, stop your retrieve, and hesitate before you start the process all over.
Perhaps jerking your rod tip downward to give the bait some action during its suspended cycle, as if it were an injured minnow, will also create some voracious strikes. Keep this up until you have reeled the lure completely back then cast out and repeat the process.
Thundersticks come in several sizes and like their surface buddy they come in numerous colors. In fact the entire line-up of Storm lures has the largest selection of colors in the industry. No matter what your favorite topwater is, always use sharp hooks, check your knots for freedom of movement so the lure can work properly and always pay close attention to the action of your bait.
An important note in color selection depends on the local bait fish population and the water clarity. If there are no perch fry in the area youíre brightness of the lureís colors attract the bass in stained water. Also keep in mind the size of the lure. If the bait fish are averaging two inches in length you need a lure approximately two inches long. Otherwise the bass could be a little weary of the presents of an unfamiliar shape in the water. So remember, bass fall for topwater, especially if it matches bait size, color and presentation.
Tip of the Month
Always keep your hooks sharp, use line in good condition and with topwater lures itís always effective to use a properly tied loop-knot so the action of the lure is unaffected by the restriction of your line being directly tied to it.