(Above: Rolling in at sunrise. Let’s hope the fish are awake this early.)
Fall fishing can be sporadic and will often require patience. The fish won’t be as easy to locate as most of the fish are transitioning towards fall feeding grounds and near their winter territory. Hoping to catch a few quality fall bass Don and I headed over to a Front Range pond. As usual we hit things pretty early.
The water level was very low. The lake was at its lowest level that I had ever seen it before. What made things worse was the vegetation was becoming overgrown. A lot of areas were difficult to fish or completely out of the water. The weed bed did however provide visible structure. We targetted this structure as it makes excellent ambush territory for fall bass.
(Above: Just can’t help myself. Even in fall I have to hammer a few panfish when I see them.)
Baitfish are suspending les and less. Most of the forage can be located near deeper structure where they can hide from predators. Bluegill and sunfish could still be seen rising up and nipping bugs off the water’s surface. I managed to pick off a few larger sunfish like this guy. (see above) Seeing baitfish moving around is a good sign. Hopefully there would be plenty of big fish looking for them.
(above: Kingfisher on top of tree. I should have asked this guy for some tips right off the bat.)
Less than an hour into the day Don hooks up with a big bucket. He throws a large in-line spinner bait that tends to rock the big fish this time of year. This was his third fish on the day and a real beauty.
(Above: Solid bucket. This picture does not do this fish justice.)
I am throwing a few patterns that consistently work here spring to winter. But for some reason the fish were not hitting. I rolled with the senkos in three flavors before switching to other rigs on the backup rods. Finally I start getting a few bites and even better…fish.
(Above: This is my first “keeper” or quality sized fish of the day. ‘bout time!)
One fish was pulled off the rocks using the jig and grub combo. The weed-matte made this lure virtually unfishable in most of the water. With Don’s presentation doing so well it was safe to conclude that baitfish patterns were going to rule the day.
“Something a bit more flashy.” I thought to myself. Don even suggested black and white.
It worked. The crappie pattern was so delicious that even with my spurt of bad luck I managed to catch a few more respectable fish.
(Above: Finally putting some fish on the board. Love throwing the spinnerbait combos. I should throw this a lot more than I normally do.)
Casting our way through the morning and staring into the afternoon we had now covered most of the lake. Don is in his belly boat, I am on my pontooner. Don casts to the edge of a section of weeds. The lure plops into the water and Don’s fishing rod doubles over as if it wanted to break itself in half. It literally pulls Don toward the weeds. Cranking the reel and pulling the rod tip back he was able to keep the fish from getting back into the weed matte. This was a dark lunker for sure.
(Above: Beast of a fish! Look at the dark color and the glowing eyes. This fish is pure hawg. Must release!)
I believe in full disclosure and being as honest as possible in regards to my fishing blog. As much as I brag shamelessly about my fishing game, this Don guy comes up with a lot of big fish through out the year. On this day it was pretty much “The Don Show” The fish in the last picture was fantastic!
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.