Mike Frisch: Be on the move for bass this fall
Mike Frisch, host of Fishing the Midwest TV, details how he uses bladed jigs to get on big bass in the fall.
ALEXANDRIA — It is certainly no secret to most anglers that largemouth bass during fall become very susceptible to moving baits.
As weed cover starts to die and dwindle, moving baits become easier to work along and through fish holding areas and their aggressive nature keys in on the fall feeding binge bass go on. Here is a look at one of my favorite fall moving baits and good ways to fish it.
Bladed jigs burst on the fishing scene several years ago and remain one of the hottest lure categories going right now. These baits work all season long but a big vibrating jig and plastic combination slow rolled over what was a weedy flat can be a great way to catch a bunch of fall bass and some big ones too!
My preference when fishing a bladed jig in fall is a 3/4 ounce Thunder Cricket in a bluegill pattern with a similarly colored Blade Minnow trailer. That combination seems to work very well in clear water, where if the water is a bit more off-colored, I opt for a bit darker patterned bait with the “bruiser” patterned Cricket being a favorite.
I fish this combination on a baitcasting rod and reel combo loaded with 17 pound Contra fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible to the fish, which I prefer, especially when fishing clear water, and its low-stretch property is ideal when setting the hook on a big bass at the end of a long cast.
Professional tournament bass angler Andy Montgomery designed a rod that is specifically designed for fishing Thunder Crickets in the Team Lew’s Signature Series rods, and that offering has become my favorite rod for fishing this presentation. I pair it with a HyperMag reel in a 7.5.1 gear ratio reel.
This speed reel allows me to slow my bait presentation when needed but still gives me the ability for more of a “burning” retrieve when necessary and the reel also has the speed to allow me to catch up to a hooked fish running towards the boat. Not only does this rod and reel combination work great for this style fishing, but it is also very lightweight, which is important when fishing a full day and making lots of long casts to hungry bass.
I like to target large flats that held heavy weeds during summer as bass seem to roam these areas looking for food during fall. Sometimes, especially as fall progresses and more and more weeds die, I have to work out towards the edges of the flats for the best fishing action.
I like to start with a fairly slow retrieve trying to “tick” the tops of remaining vegetation. Some days, however, the fish want the bait fished faster and I also have a fishing partner who often catches the biggest bass of a fishing day using more of a yo-yo retrieve. He casts the bait out, lets it hit the bottom (sometimes the fish hit on the initial fall) before starting a fast retrieve.
Next, he kills the retrieve causing the bait to again plummet to the bottom when sometimes a big bass hits. Experimenting with various retrieve speeds and styles is the best way to determine what the fish prefer on a given day.
A bladed jig can be one of the hottest setups going when it comes to fall and largemouth bass fishing. Grabbing a bladed jig and using some of the tips offered above just might lead to a big fall catch in your boat this year!
As always, remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!
Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the ZEBCO School of Fish. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.