Rippin Bugs this Fall
We are getting on in the season, which means we can expect largemouth to start feeding on migrating bait fish and craws any time now. Whether conditions will dictate how these feeding fish set up, and as the water gets cooler the window in which the Largemouth feed throughout the day will get smaller and smaller.
Swim jigs, spinnerbaits and squarebill crankbaits are all common lures we use to imitate bait fish migrating to the backs of creeks, seeking warmer water. Although these lures and presentations seem to be ideal, if you fish during a cold front or outside of their “feeding window”, it will be extremely difficult to get anything of decent size to bite. Slowing down your presentation is definitely one way to approach this slower time of the day.
Flipping craws or bugs with lighter 3/8oz tungsten bullet weights around grass and broken rock, and then ripping them back to the boat will often create a reaction strike. The quick movement of what looks like a fleeing craw drives fish crazy. This presentation also gives you the option to slow down your presentation, while adding a ripping or yo-yo presentation to trigger bites.
Rigging up a soft plastic craw such as a 4.5″ Culprit Incredi-Bug on a 4/0 or 5/0 offset worm hook, make long casts, and with a combination of dragging and ripping you’ll be sure to wake up those sleeping giants. By casting, rather than flipping, you will cover more water and it will allow you rip the craw in and out of the pockets. Once your Incredi-Bug passes by that fish that wouldn’t eat a spinnerbait or a swim jig, it should pounce all over it. The sudden movement of the Bug is really what will trigger a bite. Also, with most of the more popular lakes seeing even more pressure this time of year, slowing down will be key.
When it comes down to location, most of the green vegetation will die off in the main lake first, and since green vegetation holds oxygen and heat, that’s where the forage and bass will move towards. Some shorelines that had dense weed growth throughout the summer months could still be holding those largemouth. Mouths of creeks are also a good place to search for these fall monsters.
Optimal times to fish throughout the day in the fall are usually 10 am – 2 pm, which is approximately when the sun will be at its highest point.
Fall is a time for personal bests, so make sure you are prepared even if fishing conditions aren’t most favorable. Having a selection of presentations and baits rigged up and ready to go will give you the best chances at landing the fish of a lifetime.