The late fall, cold-water period: not too late for largemouth bass
Open water likely will continue on lakes in the upper Midwest for several weeks. That will hold even longer for rivers, not to mention on lakes and reservoirs farther south. Bottom line, it’s not to late for some catch-and-release largemouth bass fishing.
We can catch some of the biggest bass of the year right now. These fish alter their behavior by late fall so much that it’s almost like fishing a different species!
The late-summer patterns of 50-degree water temperatures are gone. So we’ll start by slowing down our presentation. Because bass are a warm-water fish, their metabolism naturally slows during a colder-water period.
Still, we can apply some basic angling principles to late-fall bass. For starters, all fish want the oxygen that green weeds provide, and there still are green weeds out there. Find locations where green weeds meet steep-sloping structure. Where depth changes quickly, we’ll likely find big bass. In fact, I call such areas a fall factory, because these big bass move right up on top of the flats to feed.
There are many of these locations, say a point or inside turn with weed flat. If you find some rocks, that’s a dynamite spot on the spot for any body of water.
Stick with slower presentations for these less aggressive fish. And though this might sound counterintuitive, larger baits with a bigger profile perform well right now. Fish want a filling meal that won’t require much effort, so fast and slow is your ticket.
Casting crankbaits can be productive, as is using Texas rigged 7-inch worms, wacky worms, or jigs and plastics. Once the bite slows, consider slowing down your presentation even more. Use a grub or maybe a thin-profile worm.
A final fun fact for fall largemouth: You can get away with sleeping in. In my experience, the fall largemouth bite accelerates in momentum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Midday is excellent for late autumn largemouth.
So don’t put that boat away yet. You best shot at a big largemouth may very well be right now!