December 6, 2010 2:10:00 PM
The past few weekends have been great for catching numbers of bass.
The water is cooling off fast and the shad are migrating to the backs of creeks and sloughs as a part of the normal life cycle and the fish are following them. Bass and other species are feeding up getting ready for the long winter ahead with the local shad population being the easy meal to fatten up.
Lure selection this time of year is probably easier now than most anytime of the year. As long as it resembles a shad, the chances are good that it will produce some fish in the livewell. The most fun I have had this year has recently been on a lipless crankbait.
Michael Iaconelli, a Bassmasters Elite pro, published an article a few years back on the selection of crankbaits during different times throughout the year.
One of the most interesting things in the article was Iaconelli''s selection of a flat-sided lure over the traditional fat-bodied crankbait during this time of the season. Iaconelli described using the flat-sided crankbait as the water cools down as more of a natural presentation to the fish.
A lipless crankbait is one version of a flat-sided lure. It produces a tighter wiggle instead of a wide wobble like traditional crankbaits. If you pay attention to the schools of shad that are coming to the surface, you will see that the natural movement of the shad have a tight wiggle as they swim. This puts off less vibration but during this time of the year, the fish are following these schools and are using more of sight than vibration anyway.
This is not to say that the traditional lures won''t work but your success will be better with using the flat-sided lures right now.
Norman lures makes a small flat-sided crankbait that is called a Thin-N. It features a coffin bill that deflects off of wood cover pretty good and is only two inches long. The action of this lure closely resembles the shad in our area and the size is perfect for the majority of the shad migrating right now. I picked up one of these lures from Wal-Mart one day after reading Iaconelli''s article and was pleasantly surprised at the success I was having with this lure. I went back after that day on the water and bought a few more.
The lipless crankbaits are made by several different companies these days with Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap being the oldest brand around. The lipless crankbait is not a floating lure like the others and has no plastic lip on the front so the lure will tend to hang on just about anything it comes in contact with. The weight of the lure can also be a disadvantage when fighting a fish hooked up causing lost fish. But the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. These lures will catch fish right now faster than any other lure if you get it around the fish.
Another good lure for those fishermen and women that love to worm fish is the fluke. This soft plastic bait is shaped like a shad and can be fished slow with just a hook and bait or a light weighted hook and bait. A simple cast out, let it sink and light jerks and pauses back to the boat will connect with fish that are waiting below the shad schools for the injured or dying baitfish to fall in their faces.
I use a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel and fifteen pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line on a medium action rod for lipless crankbaits and flukes and a 5.2:1 gear ratio reel and twelve pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line on a medium action rod for flat-sided crankbaits like the Norman brand lures.
Start in the backs of the coves and creeks and work your way back out to the deeper water and you will intersect the fish. I have all three lure choices tied on right now and have not come home without fish. Give these a try and you will be able to make a fun day on the water.
Kevin Forrester is the outdoor writer for The Dispatch. Contact him online at [email protected]