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massive schools of shad surround them, black bass build up an
insatiable appetite in the fall at the
October and November, bass gorge on this baitfish even after they've
filled their bellies. While some smaller bass feed by chasing and
busting through the schools of shad, a e bigger bass tends to lurk
under the cover of boat docks and pounces on any baitfish that
enters its ambush zone. When
weather conditions are ideal, you can catch plenty of bass on a
variety of lures as they chase schools of baitfish, but the most
consistent way to catch bass in the fall is to target boat docks.
local expert who targets docks for consistent fall bass action is
also plays a key role in selecting which docks to try in the fall.
Brauer opts for main-lake piers, which he believes many anglers
overlook as they head for the coves in the fall.
He tries main-lake docks on the flats where the front ends of
the floating cover sit over depths of 10 feet or less
and water temperature determines where fish will be positioned on a
dock during autumn.
dropping water temperature eventually triggers the lake turnover,
which can make fishing tough around any type of cover.
"I think the fish tend to scatter more and that makes
them harder to catch," says Brauer. "The fish will still
be around the docks, but something Happens to them and makes them
believes shallow docks produce best during this phenomenon since
they have less of a depth range for bass to scatter than docks in
fronts also cause the bass to relocate on a dock throughout the
fall. Brauer notices
bass move to deeper parts of the dock when a cold front passes
through. If the weather turns warm again, the fish migrate back to
the shallow end. "You
have to experiment every time you go out because sometimes
inexplicably they move to the other end of the dock and sometimes
they are scattered out all over," he says.
also tend to position differently on windy or calm days when the
wind blows, Brauer targets the side where waves crash into the docks
and push baitfish toward the foam.
bass frequently change hiding spots almost daily, Brauer covers all
the sections of the floating cover until he discovers which sections
are holding fish that day. "I
have a lot of success right on the very end and right in the very
back (the corners) of the docks," he says.
bass suspend under the foam Brauer selects lures that stay in the
fish's strike zone longer. His
favorite fall dock techniques include running a spinnerbait just
below the surface or swimming a slow-falling jig and pork chunk next
to the foam.
swimming jig technique requires matching a jig with a pork chunk or
plastic trailer buoyant enough to slow the lureís descent. Brauer
usually starts with a 3/8-ounce jig and later switches to a
1/2-ounce model if he wants a lure with a larger profile.
To give the jigs more buoyancy, Brauer attaches either a pork
chunk or a plastic crawfish. Black and blue are his favorite fall
colors for the jig-and-craw combination, while an all-white
selection works best for his jig and pork.
He retrieves both combinations with 20-pound test line, which
is heavy enough to give the lures increased buoyancy and
abrasion-resistant for fishing over dock cables or underneath
the jig requires a faster-than-normal retrieve. "The bigger
pork or the bigger plastic craw gives the lure a little more
buoyancy and helps it swim right below that foam a little
better," Brauer says.
"I use a pumping motion just to cover a little more
depth range. Once you
narrow down as to how deep the fish are then you don't have to pump
the lure as much." A
slow-rolling pump of the jig also gives the lure more action as it
swims along the foam. Brauer also runs a spinnerbait about 1 to 2
feet below the surface to coax bass out from under the docks.
you canít find bass chasing shad on the surface this fall at the