Late summer and early fall is some of our favorite times of the year to target bass. The reasons are obvious. Grass has grown up, shad are getting to the right size and beginning to school and most importantly “its crankbait time”.
As the nights begin to cool and the days get shorter fish begin to move out of their deep summertime haunts and start to again move to the points and flats. Shad start to school and bunch up heading for creeks as well. The best bait to to imitate a bass is a shallow running crankbait that not only matches the color of the forage but also the size as well.
Not just any crankbait will work. There are several variables we look for in these conditions. Buoyancy, deflectability, wobble and diving depth are key variables that need to be addressed. The Lucky Craft Fat CB DBS 1 hits the mark perfectly.
The characteristics include a great wobble, shallow running, and have a side to side wobble that feeding bass cannot stand. With a slow retrieve the bait will dance over weeds, bounce off of logs and blowdowns and get solid reaction strikes because it stays in the zone longer. Much like fishing a jerkbait, a stop and go retrieve with intermittent pops or drags works well now too.
In our tests we simply targeted shad schools. Where there were shad there were bass. Grinding the crankbait around and through the pods of shad got us bites much lake running a spinnerbait over a blowdown. They don’t just fiddle with the bait this time of year they “crush it”. We fished the upper end of the lake in late summer and followed the shad to the creeks as the days have cooled. During our tests water temperatures were in the mid 70’s but early mornings found them in the lower 70’s, a stark contrast to 80 plus degree surface temperatures on a few days prior.
Great locations to start looking are near ledges and deep points used by summer time bass. Follow the bass in to where the point gets to 10-12 feet deep. Most bass were on rocky points with coontail up shallow.
We concentrated on places where the shad ran into a point or flat and bass were positioned as an ambush point. A killer technique this time of year is fishing out over the point versus casting shallow. You may also find it important to utilize the shade of the point this time of year. North and south facing points work best late in the day while east and west facing points seem to be better early.
You could almost call your shots. Schools would approach a depth difference, 3-12 foot, and begin busting. Being very patient was a key to this technique.
We were able to cast the Lucky Craft Fat CB DBS 1 a country mile and that was a critical part of the equation as many times bass were busting shad and to use the trolling motor and outboard would have spooked them. We combined a Fenwick Elite Tech cranking rod with a Revo Winch and used 12 pound fluorocarbon line to get a little more depth. The “FAT” dives 1-3 foot. A slow to medium retrieve seemed to work best.
The Inside Scoop
Lucky Craft color selection is a daunting task. There are way to many to name. We utilized Tennessee Shad and Ghost Tennessee Shad in our tests.
The stop and go retrieve worked very well and many times jerking the bait on the stop got the bites. Long casts are a must.
You can purchase Lucky Craft products at www.tacklewarehouse.com