September 27, 2010 9:49:00 AM
Fall bass fishing is here. This is the time for all of you anglers that aren''t getting ready for hunting season to start paying attention to the signs. The shad are beginning to school and water temperatures have begun dropping.
Anglers know that where there are schools of shad, the bass aren''t far behind. You can catch numbers of bass this time of year throwing shad imitating lures. The spinnerbait always seems to be the favorite around here. I could devote several articles on blade configurations and baits themselves.
I rode along with professional angler Dean Rojas a few years ago when the B.A.S.S. Elite 50 tour came to Columbus. It was a good time, while spending the day with him, to pick his brain concerning spinnerbaits. Rojas said he doesn''t use them that much and I had to ask why not. His answer was simple but to the point, "Because everyone else throws them."
Anglers go through seasons of confidence baits and spinnerbaits used to be one of them for me. But since the day with Rojas, I made a commitment to change. He was using three baits all day long: a topwater frog, a tube bait and a crankbait. He said that these three baits take him from early summer to late fall.
This interested me because I had two of the three baits always tied on. The problem with the crankbait over the spinnerbait is one of aggravation. You can use a spinnerbait in almost every condition and cover out there. A crankbait gets aggravating because of the problem of hanging up while fishing them.
During that day with Rojas, I could not count how many times he would hang his crankbait in rocks. But he never seemed to hang it much in wood. He never seemed upset about it and said it was just normal. He also told me that you would feel the bait when it begins dragging up near an obstruction. With rocks, the lip of the bait will occasionally hang between the cracks of rocks and is unavoidable. With wood, you can feel the bait dragging up on an obstruction and be able to slow the retrieve or stop it with practice. He further said that he would throw a crankbait anywhere I would throw a spinnerbait.
This is a perfect time to give my opinion on throwing crankbaits in and around heavy cover. You WILL lose crankbaits dong this. Professional anglers have sponsors that give them their baits and weekend anglers do not. This can get expensive since we purchase our own baits. But I will further say that his ideas do work.
Let''s talk spinnerbaits now. If I could only have one spinnerbait to take to the river, it would be a chartreuse and white skirt with a combination Colorado / Indiana blade. Why? Blades of a spinnerbait are just as important as the color of the skirt if not more.
Blades create flash and vibration. For muddy water, the normal blade is Colorado giving you the most vibration. For stained water, the Indiana blade is the normal. For clear water, the normal blade is the willow leaf. Willow leaf blades give off the least vibration but the most flash. It also seems to come through obstructions the best.
As shad move in schools, you will notice small flashes as the shad roll or dart. These blades are made to give you flash imitating this. As water gets dirtier, bass will use their senses to detect more vibration than sight. This is when the other blades become the advantage.
Most importantly, never forget soft plastic baits. Bouncing crankbaits and spinnerbaits off timber and rocks will get a reaction strike from a bass. But when the fish just aren''t biting, soft plastics becomes the key bait. A Texas-rigged tube or worm can be the difference between going back to the ramp with fish or going home upset.
The fish seem to hug cover when the sun is out and bright. Pitching a soft plastic bait tight to cover will allow the bait to fall on a bass'' nose and give it the chance to have a meal without having to run after something.
Soft plastics have more colors out there than we have money to buy them. Find the colors you have the most confidence in and keep one tied on.
Kevin Forrester contributes an outdoors column to The Commercial Dispatch each week. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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