"JERKBAITS FOR FALL FISHING"
As the seasons are making a change and the water on most lakes is starting to cool, we all will notice a chill in the air while for some it signals thoughts of hunting, but for us it means that fishing will get good again.
Not only will fishing get good, lakes will be less crowded, we will be breathing cooler fresher air and feel comfortable and soon it is time to ready ourselves for the annual Spring Valley Walleye Club tournament.
As water cools the baitfish are drawn into the shallows and you can be sure fish such as the Bass too feel this season change and will be moving out of deep-water areas to forage in the shallows to satisfy their hunger and urge to prepare for coming winter. The same jerkbaits we used in the spring will again work this fall on shallow flats and in creeks. There are many such lures but for this article we will focus on the hard plastic jerkbaits even though the fluke type soft jerkbait is a favorite of ours and extremely effective during fall too, you may wish to give them a try but that could be another article someday.
We find the "Suspending" jerkbaits work best for us and most often the hit will be on the pause as the bait suspends, and with the slightest quiver of the rod tip during the pause can many times tempt strikes. A jerkbait that hangs suspended in place is easily catchable so just reel slowly to wiggle and flash it a few feet, pausing, wiggle a few more feet and pause the retrieve again to attract a bite. The key to these lures is the wiggling retrieve that excites and attracts, then it is the pause that gets the strikes. As the lure stops, it may quiver as it settles itself by moving nose up or down or even slightly rise or sink. You can also twitch it, but the pause is what counts most as the fishes only defense is to strike. If no strikes, resume your retrieve with a jerk or sweep of the rod which excites the predator instincts, but as water temps gets cooler, use a softer restart of your retrieve.
There are endless variations of techniques to fishing a jerkbait, sweeping or twitching as you start the retrieve or reeling steadily, changing speed of retrieve and always the pause, but for how long? There are no standard answers to these questions, but slower speeds, longer pauses and gentler rod movements are required when temperatures are falling.
Do Not make the mistake of avoiding cover, because this is where the fish are, look around shallow cover, docks and stumps in creeks. Later in year, look for any remaining living vegetation, submerged wood or timber and then move out to main lake points and humps where you may need to fish a little deeper.
The amount of wiggle and depth a lure suspends is a variable easy to control by proper lure selection. Depth is determined by the lip's surface area and angle. A lip with less surface area at a sharper angle tends to swim higher while more lip surface at a flatter angle generally run deeper. I have even added lead tape to some floating baits to get that suspended moment I feel is needed. You can find some of the newer lures that come in awesome colors and graphics but are costly. I somewhat like some of the original baits and for Linda her favorite is the Rapala Jointed Minnow with a livelier action.
We talked a lot about Bass but Crappie and other panfish bite well during fall, feed more actively as the water cools, move shallower and even found schooled up tighter. Walleye and surprising to some, even Catfish will be more actively feeding in fall.
In patterning times and places to fish, there is no substitute for experience and determining the best time to fish requires checking on many fishing factors and outdoor conditions. The key to fishing success is to learn about fish and how they live. Try different tactics in your fishing to make each day of fishing a great day. Learning to modify your approach with changing weather will increase your fishing success. You can be prepared for fall fishing by knowing what to expect, and be ready to fish before those fronts come through.
Suspending jerkbaits in late fall is an exciting way to end your season in the shallows so Get out and enjoy the pleasant fall weather, the beautiful fall colors and your favorite fish is likely to be biting right now and best of all, fall fishing is FUN!
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Till Next Time, GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !