Dock talk: Bass are active despite cool water
Despite cooler than average current water temperatures, largemouth bass action has been hot.
Some people say that when the water temperature falls below 50-degrees, largemouth bass become lethargic, uninterested in feeding and ultimately impossible to catch.
This is definitely not the case. Although severe cold fronts can negatively impact bass behavior in the heat of the summer, the late fall bass bite is generally very consistent.
In fact, bass will aggressively attack large presentations. Enticing a big fall bass comes down to lure size, its movement and the location of the big bucket-mouths.
Shallow water is highly productive for bass in the fall, but vegetation is imperative. You could luck-out and catch one or two largemouth that are cruising along barren shallow water flats, but when you focus on lily pads, pencil reeds, cane, coontail and cabbage weeds, the number of fish you'll catch exponentially increases.
Large lures are just the ticket for largemouth during the fall, specifically, jig-n-pig combinations, 1/2-ounce spinner baits and swim baits which have grown in popularity over the past couple years.
The classic jig-n-pig has that specific name due to the two components of the lure; a skirted, weedless jig with a pork rind trailer. Many bass anglers used to have several jars of the salted product in possession at all times on the water. However, in the past few decades the popularity of scent and flavor enhanced plastic trailers has taken over as the choice selection for anglers.
They're not as messy, won't freeze when it's super-cold, have better action in the water and perform equally or better than their pork-bellied counter-parts.
The conventional approach of dropping, lifting and snapping the jig from the bottom can work out well in many situations, but sometimes swimming the jig works even better.
To swim a jig, simply cast it into sparse, lily pad or pencil reed cover and start cranking at a medium pace. A 3/8-ounce jig works really well for swimming and trailers that provide some swimming action typically work best.
Making contact with the vegetation with your bait is often what triggers a reaction strike from bass waiting for an easy meal.
Spinner baits are extremely easy to use for largemouth and fall presents one of the best times of the year to use them. Cast out the spinner bait and reel fast enough to feel the blades spinning. Sometimes a momentary pause during the retrieve causes a fish to strike.
When it does, you'll usually feel an absence of pressure (which you constantly detect by the rotating spinner blades) instead of a violent pull.
Swim baits are also quite valuable for landing largemouth in the fall and can be found in numerous configurations. The bait essentially consists of a soft plastic minnow-shaped body that has a paddle or swimming tail.
The bait can be fished on a jig head or weighted weedless hook to swim through the weeds. The jig head approach works better in deep water for smallmouth, while the weedless design is hard to beat for shallow largemouth.