Lure colors, top locations, and finicky fish as autumn angling kicks off

Terry TumaSeptember has arrived and that means the prelude to fall fishing. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the “versatility” concept at seminars and on radio. People asking these questions want a thorough description of versatility as it applies to fishing.

Versatility mostly means using several different baits. It’s amazing how many different baits or colors won’t catch fish on a given day. Then you try something different and have a bonanza going!

I work my versatility plan, then ask, “How and why did I catch that fish?” I see guys who are literally amazed when it works, but it shouldn’t be surprising.

Versatility applies to locations, too. First we must find locations that we feel good about, then work them thoroughly. Too often fishermen hang it up too fast. Our society gives up too easily these days.

I change color often and it’s a key facet to the versatility formula. We all have our favorite colors that we start with, but if you’re marking fish and those lures are not producing, it’s time to change. At the very least, downsize, slow down, and use lures that are not so aggressive (less vibration, less jigging.) If it’s a wacky worm, for example, let it lay on the bottom longer.

Vary your presentation as well as the style or color of the lure. There’s nothing wrong with deviating. We always hear perch color or firetiger when lots of other colors will perform.

You can apply the versatility formula to any new lake. Every lake is going to vary. If you go to one lake, your go-to baits may not work. So start by keeping an open mind.

I spend time looking for the fish. All the time, I see the same boats on the same spot. Have four or five spots in mind before you go fishing, then mark fish there before you drop a line.

A final tip to a common question I receive, especially this time of year: How do I react to fish that follow my lure but doesn’t strike?

Here’s what I do: I always watch lures coming back to the boat to see if fish are following. If so, I vary my speed first by accelerating then by slowing down. If that doesn’t work in a couple of casts, my last resort is switching to a smaller lure and getting it back in the water fast.

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