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"Late Summer – Early Fall Bassin"
By Duke Jenkel


As the month of September continues progress towards October, the water that you fish begins to undergo a number of changes.  Often these changes are subtle, yet significant.  Regardless of where you live, you’ve probably noticed that the days are getting shorter, the daytime temperatures continue to scream summer, but the daylight hours are telling us fall is coming.  It is important to remember that the length of daylight hours often is the triggering mechanism that affects all wildlife. 

As the September days begin to wane, so will the evening and nighttime temperatures.  The shortening of the days and the slight lowering of the air temperature often trigger the fish to make a move out of their deep summer haunts and into the shallows.  It is this migration that often creates some of the best untapped shallow fishing of the year.  While most anglers are continuing to fish the traditional summer time locations, there is often a fair, if not large number of bass to be caught shallow, and remember these fish will be relatively unpressured 

The first sign that this fall migration is beginning to take place is the presence of shad schools in some of your historically successful fall fishing areas.  When the shad begin to show up, the fish that thrive on them are not too far behind.   It is this time of year that you begin to see schooling activity take place.  Schooling fish present the opportunity to catch a large number if fish in a short amount of time.  Schoolers can be caught a number of ways, with top water baits like the Pop-R, and an often overlooked bait such as a black ¼ oz Lunker Lure buzzbait.  Other baits that work well are lipless crankbaits like the Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap and a spinnerbait.  My preference is a ⅜ oz. Hawg Caller spinnerbait Chartreuse and White with a # 3 Colorado up front and a #4 willow leaf in the rear.  These same baits will also perform very well on fish that are not schooling.  

Once the fish begin to migrate into the bays and creeks, they will set-up on the same places they used when they left in the late spring (remember: this migration can take place as early as mid-September).  The only exception to this rule is the presence of shad can cause the bass to follow the shad schools throughout the bay, placing them in areas where you may never have caught fish before.  It is very important to keep an eye out for these schools of shad and pay attention to any type of available cover they may be holding on, the bass will not be very far away.  If choosing a bait or technique to use is confusing, tying on a Lunker Lure buzzbait or a Hawg Caller spinnerbait and just going down the bank can be a successful strategy for early fall-late summer bassin’.

One last thing to keep in mind, although there may be fish in the traditional summer places, as the month September rolls on it is extremely important to be aware that the fall migration is beginning to take place; you just may get the jump on a bunch of your fellow tournament competitors.  If you don’t fish tournaments, you are likely to enjoy some of the best unpressured fishing of the year. 

Be safe on the water and Good fishing,

Duke Jenkel




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