Fall fishing can be the best time of year to catch bass. It can also be very fickle as far as the weather is concerned. A great day can be followed with a blustery, cold day, and water temperatures are always dropping as we enter December.
This past weekend we had one of those bad days but we were in product test mode with the Spro McStick 110, so we bundled up and got after it.
Lets set up the conditions. Air temps in the low 40’s, water temp at 43.7, Northwest wind at 15 mph, and it was very overcast. The water was clear to slightly stained. Cold front conditions at its best.
Early spring fishing meets some of the same conditions and typically a jerkbait is our go-to bait then. Would it work in the early fall? Would the fish bite in these conditions?
We launched the boat at around 12:15 pm hoping to get the warmest part of the day. We missed that as temperatures began to drop from 48 when we left the office to 43 when we launched. It began to spit rain and the wind also began to blow even harder. We decided to put the Spro McStick to the test and the third cast resulted in a 14-inch bass on a mainlake point near to the creek channel in about 12 foot of water. The key was finding an area with a tapering steep bank, close to the creek channel and with the wind blowing across it. This particular area had a small cove adjacent to it as well.
We fished both sides of the cove and caught another 2 pounder on the opposite side point. The pattern was solid. Water depths from 8-20 feet, on points, next to pockets. Fish were suspending off the first break and if there was some cover on the break even better. A large rock, some brush or a stump and the bass were suspended over it. The use of the Humminbird 997 C2 side imaging unit was critical. It truly helped eliminate unproductive areas as well as pinpointing those places that held the most bass.
The bait selection was critical. We threw a Spro McStick, Blue Bandit and the Norman Flake, on 12-pound Trilene Professional Grade Fluorocarbon. We jerked it to depth, let it sit and then pulled it with a slow sweep of the rod tip. The bass hit it everytime after the stop and the beginning of the pull. This bait is perfect for these conditions. Counter balanced weights, great shape and suspends in position horizontally for long periods of time. Exceptional colors for these conditions and this bait casts very well even in the wind. You can actually feel the bait swim when drug after the pause. We love the look of the bait with those “mean” Spro eyes and Gamakatsu hooks top it off.
Mike McClelland, the designer of the McStick, said “A stickbait will catch bass anytime they are eating shad. The best times are winter and pre-spawn but it will catch fish throughout the year. Old Glory and Blue Bandit are my favorite McSticks. Blue Bandit is my go-to bait in most places.”
Lesson learned. Cold water and stick bait fishing can be a blast. You don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn and cold water is not an issue. Bundle up, we tied on a McStick and caught em’.