Finally! We can rejoice and enjoy some of these cooler temperatures. It seemed like summer stuck around a little too long this year but if you’re an early riser like we are, it sure is nice to have a cup of hot coffee and watch those early morning sunrises breathing in the crisp, cool air. There’s not much better than hitting the water and watching the fog lift.
As we welcome the cool October temperatures, however, it’s important to understand that a few different things are coming into play for the angler. In the north, we have bass feeding like crazy in preparation for a long and tough winter. In the south, it’s still the same deal but much more scattered because of our easier and more manageable winters.
We put a list together of the baits we’re going to be throwing the next several weeks. No matter where you live or fish, we believe this inclusive list will be a big help to you.
Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog
October is likely the last month of the year when a hollow-bodied frog bite is relevant until the spring months. As long as the water temperatures stay above 50 degrees, you can still get on a solid frog bite throughout much of the country. You don’t always need fancy electronics but if you can find a way to at least gauge the current water temperature, you’re good to go.
We have offices all over the country, so what’s interesting right now is that a frog bite seems to be happening just about anywhere. Whether it’s in the south, north or anywhere in between, October is an awesome time to throw a frog.
For the past several months, we’ve had really good luck on the the Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog. It walks well, doesn’t get snagged on a bunch of grass and the body is really soft. When you get a bite on this frog, there’s a big chance you’re going to connect and land the fish. The hooks are strong, it doesn’t get flooded with water throughout the retrieve and the color selection is nothign short of impressive. This might be the last month of the year to capitalize on a legit frog bite, so keep that in mind as the water temperatures continue to drop.
Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
It might be a rather unexciting addition to this list, but throughout the large majority of the country, a Rat-L-Trap is synonomous with fall bass fishing. The bite can last from September through November, so it’s imperative to keep one rigged and ready to go. There are lots of solid lipless crankbait options out there but it’s awfully tough to beat the original.
In all areas of the country right now, you can expect baitfish to be migrating towards the backs of creeks and as you can imagine, big bass aren’t far behind. This particular bait does an outstanding job of imitating these baitfish and also setting itself apart. When you’re targeting bass that are feeding on thousands of baitfish, it can be tough to set your lure apart from the real thing. If your bait sounds and looks exactly like the real thing, it can put you at a major disadvantage.
The time-tested sound and tight wiggle of this bait, however, seems to set your offering apart from other lures. It has a very different sound throughout the retrieve and the unbelievable color offerings allow you to match the proverbial hatch wherever you’re fishing. Make a long cast and once it hits the water, reel it back to the boat or shore with an erratic retrieve; that’s about as complicated as you need to make it.
Heavy Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait Jack Hammer
Don’t count out the deep bite this month because we’re getting reports from all parts of the country that a big bladed jig is catching piles of fish. It’s a fairly unconventional way to catch bass and it can be awkward for some anglers but if you can get dialed in on this pattern, there’s a huge chance you can get dialed in on a bite nobody else knows about.
As the bass begin to stage and feed up for the winter, it’s important to start targeting points with a mixed bottom composition. Hard bottom is preferred, so whenever you run across an area with pea gravel, softball-sized rocks and maybe a few boulders, it’s a great time to tie on a heavy bladed jig and make a few casts.
We’ve also had a lot of reports of anglers having a lot of luck targeting rock humps right now. As we’ve discusses a lot in this article, both the bass and the baitfish are moving shallow this month and these humps are an outstanding stopping place for them; somewhat like a rest stop on the side of a highway. As they leave their summer haunts and migrate to shallower waters, these seemingly mundane humps act as a natural rest stop along their migration routes.
Jenko Groovy Glide Swimbait
As you’re fishing with the aforementioned baits, it’s important to keep a close eye out for gizzard shad this time of year. These are some big baitfish—often the size of your flip flop—and you don’t seem ‘em throughout much of the year. For whatever reason, however, these dang fish seem to infiltrate the shallows in the fall months when the water temperatures reach the 60- and 50-degree range. You can’t always see ‘em with your electronics so it’s very important to look for ‘em with your naked eyes.
When these big gizzards get shallow, it’s tough to beat a big glide bait or swimbait. Now, I’m not going to act like I’m an expert with this technique; I’m a shallow-water river rat by nature, so I’ll never pretend to be some big-bait stud. But after talking with a lot of big-bait enthusiasts over the past year or so, I’m certain this bait is going to catch a bunch of big bass this time of year.
I’ve been playing around with this bait a bunch for the last month or so and it’s actually really easy to fish. You can “walk the dog” with it underneath the surface and you also wind it to the boat and achieve a really nice S-shaped gliding action. If you have a follower, you can throw some slack in your line and kill the bait, which easily makes it turn a 180 and can make wary fish commit.
Z-Man CrossEyeZ Flippin’ Jig
This is an interesting time of year because a lot of patterns tend to coincide with each other throughout the country; a lot of times a pattern will be outstanding in one area and absolutely stink in another, but it seems like October seems to be a sweet spot where a lot of the same patterns work the same time of year.
I had a really good talk with the head of our video team, Ryan DeChaine, this past week and he was telling me how good the flipping bite was in northern Minnesota. It was an interesting conversation because the same thing was happening down here in Georgia, thousands of miles away. Perhaps the most intriguiging aspect of it was the bass are wanting bigger and heavier jigs in both ends of the country.
We really, really like this CrossEyeZ Flippin’ Jig because not only does it skip really well but it also comes through hard cover without any issues at all. There’s no telling how many thousands of skips we’ve made to thick cover without any snags to speak of.
I think the size of the jig is important to consider right now. The bass, no matter their location, can feel these cooler nights and they know the winter is coming. Ryan made a really good point when he mentioned the bass are focused more on “caloric net yield” and I thought that was a really smart thought. With the water temperatures rapidly cooling thanks to the cooler nighttime temperatures, the bass want more bang for their buck; they don’t want to chase a bunch of little baitfish all over the place. If they can eat one big meal per day, it seems like they’re more than willing to do so.