Belay My Last!
These are the words a salty old captain growls when he knows he got it wrong. In the last blog I opined that the October Bass blast wasn’t gonna happen because of a rapidly rising river and plummeting water temps.
The bass bite typically shuts down when water temps drop to about 50 degrees in the fall. In the Spring, just after ice-out bass go on a rampage chasing #Rat-L-Traps when water temperatures warm to 43-48 degrees, typically at the north end of a shallow back bay. Once temps hit 48 they ‘wake up’ and need to be finessed a little more with a suspending stickbait or another in-your-face presentation.
I’m thinking the bass bite which is happening RIGHT NOW on the Upper Miss is the doppelgänger of this Springtime phenom. The bass know they have to chow down, cuz winter’s on the way. The need to feed trumps what should be a slowed metabolism.
The bass still don’t want to work too hard at it, so they herd baitfish to points of easy ambush: edges like shoreline, deadfalls, trib entry points, converging currents which create quiet water pockets…
The Rat-L-Trap is the ideal search bait for finding active fish. Wednesday when fishing with Dave M. the ‘eyes weren’t really interested. With water temps still hovering @ 46-47 degrees they haven’t started sliding into deeper water wintering holes yet. Since it was a sunny afternoon I figured they might be holding shallower than the 11-15 foot contour I’ve been catching them on. Had Dave try an oxbow pattern Trap. He hooked a scrappy small-jaws on about the 5th cast.
One fish doesn’t make a pattern, but when the bite is tough it’s a start. There wasn’t much time to fish, so we took the Lund downstream to a classic spot under these cold water/high water conditions.
Dave hooked up on the first cast. and the second. and the third. The only casts which didn’t produce a scrappy smallmouth over the next 45 minutes are those which found wayward weeds. FAT quality fish 16-20″. Every one of ’em on the oxbow Trap.
The next day the action continued. Caught a few on a suspending Rattlin’ Rogue and #B-Fish-N Tackle Pulse -R in sassafras color. But most came on the ‘Trap…probably because I just LOVE throwin’ the ‘Trap.
Yesterday I returned to the well(s) with Larry. The fish were still there, but grass was coming down the River. When you get salad on 9 of 10 casts it isn’t fun–or productive. We still had fun with the smallies.
Not gonna fish today cuz it’s Saturday, or tomorrow morning cuz I need the Hour of Power provided in church. But Sunday afternoon and every day that the wind isn’t outrageous I plan on being out there.
Now hear this: The October Bass Blast will extend through the first week in November. Maybe. You’ll never find out if you aren’t on the water.