An easy method for catching big bass.
a jig or tube across the bottom during the annual fall frog migration
is probably one of the easiest and most productive patterns for
catching big fall bass. There
is a problem, however. The
window of opportunity to exploit this pattern is very small.
Here in central
we will usually see the frog migration start in late September.
By early November this pattern is pretty much over.
author with a nice late fall largemouth, that
the fall crawl.
This pattern has been around for ages; I think it just gets
overlooked. The pattern
starts around the same time hunting season opens and after a hard
summer of fishing a lot of anglers just donít have the time or
energy to fish and hunt. Also,
around this time of year the weather can get rather cold and nasty, so
fishing under those conditions just doesnít sound fun. But once the
frog migration starts, the pattern holds no matter what the weather.
First, letís do away with an ď old wives taleĒ.
Aquatic frogs, like the leopard frog, mink frog and American
bullfrog, do not burrow into the mud on the bottom of the lake during
the winter. Nor do they
hibernate all winter. They
do aestivate during the winter, which means they are in a dormant
state, very lethargic and sluggish.
These frogs will settle on the lake bottom.
They may lay behind brush, rocks or submergent vegetation or
may even be partially covered by silt.
Because they absorb oxygen through their skin they cannot be
completely covered by mud. Itís thought that during the winter they
may even crawl or slowly swim around at times. These frogs need two
things to survive the winter, they have to be in oxygen rich water,
and need to be in deep enough water so they do not get ice
Because this pattern is based on frogs, you would think that the best
fishing locations would be in marshy, shallow water areas.
Iíve found that not to be true.
I have my best luck in water that is 5 to 10 feet deep and has
a hard or semi-hard bottom, like sand, pea gravel or marl. Some of my
best locations have nothing to do with marshy areas, but are rocky
shorelines bordered by heavily forested areas.
Iíve also found a couple of areas that have homes
lining the shoreline with manicured lawns, but behind the homes are
large marshy areas and the shoreline is a sand/gravel mixture.
Fall bass have the potential of being the largest bass you will catch
all year. They have been feeding strong since late August to put on
weight for the hard water period.
I like to use the same rod that I do some of my pitching and
flipping with. This is a
Quantum PT (PTC666F). Itís
a 6í6Ē medium heavy with a fast taper.
I use the Quantum Energy PT reel (E750PT) with a lower gear
ratio (5.1:1) for a little more power.
line I use a quality fluorocarbon.
Normally on a pitching/flipping stick I would be using a
braided line in the 50-pound class, but for this pattern you are
fishing open water, light submergent vegetation or no vegetation.
Also, this pattern extends into the post lake turnover period,
so the water can be extremely clear.
So a good quality fluorocarbon line in the 14 to 17 pound class
works great. For lures Iíve had my best results with just two types.
My first choice is a Ĺ oz. Strike King Premier Pro-Model jig
in blue/black with a 3X electric blue trailer or green pumpkin jig
with a 3X watermelon trailer. And my second choice is a 4.5 or 5-inch
green pumpkin tube, Texas-rigged with a Ĺ oz. tungsten weight.
The fall crawl is so easy and simple that most people I take out
donít believe me at first. All
you have to do is cast out and let the bait settle to the bottom.
Now put your rod tip in the water and point your rod at the
bait. Ok, this is the hard
part for most experienced anglers, donít move the rod.
No shaking, hopping, jigging, doodlingÖ nothing at all.
Just turn the reel handle a couple of times very slowly and
stop. Donít move the
bait with the rod; just very slowly turn the reel handle.
Youíre just crawling the bait ever so slowly across the
bottom. You would think
that with the water so cold and the bait moving so slowly across the
bottom that the bite would be light or soft.
Nope, the bite is savage. They
just crush the bait and run, so hang onto the rod.
you get a chance this fall try this pattern, even if you have to fish
in weather better suited for duck hunting.
I think you will be surprised at the quantity and quality of
bass you can catch this time of year.
This is truly a multi-species pattern, as I catch walleyes and
northern pike right along with the bass.
Have a safe fall and we hope to see you on the water.
author, Wayne Ek is a fishing guide, writer and tournament angler from
. For more information you can reach