Summer’s end can produce some tough fishing. It’s time to learn from the season’s mistakes and gear up for fall.
What can we learn from our summer months’ fishing that can be applied to the transition to fall?
Glad you asked.
Everything is hot. The water temperature is hot, the sun is hot, the air is hot. Even the wind feels like it’s blowing a hair dyer on you. You feel it and so do the fish.
In summer, deep structure becomes a key focus, forcing anglers to go deep when the sun is up. The most common bass tactics are deep-diving crankbaits and finesse fishing with a weighted crawler or creature bait.
Shallow bays and weed beds have heated up. The rise in temperature results in lower oxygen in weedy locations.
Most anglers, especially me, love to wake up early for topwater bass action before the sun rises and sends the fish into the deep to feed. Forcing reaction strikes also becomes key to success. When fishing deep cranks, this means either fast or slow retrieves — nothing in the middle.
When it comes to panfish, I am a personal believer that green night crawlers generate more bites. You can read more about that here.
Fall can be the most productive time to fish. I’ve taken some of my biggest fish during the time when the temperatures start to cool down. You have to know how to transition from summer to fall tactics to be successful.
First, don’t give up so early on the surface lures. Keep chucking that buzzbait and splashing your poppers. Fish feed year round, and just because the water is colder doesn’t mean you won’t have just as much success, if not more with topwater.
This strategy applies for panfish as well. If you haven’t tried it yet, fly fishing for bream is as effective as it is fun. I know I will be using my fly rod tipped with a black popper as fall begins. This tactic will also work on bass and other warm water fish, so be ready for fun.
Start from deep to shallow. With the change in water temperature, lakes will start to flip and develop a thermocline. These areas hold oxygen and fish. Use your electronics to find a faint line that denotes a thermocline. Try swimming a crank bait at the depth or swimming a spinner bait through the area.
Continue to use your finesse and jigs. This is especially true with bass fishing. Locate a few eager fish with any of the previous baits listed above, then switch. This can earn you a few bonus fish.