Welcome to Panfish

Part Twenty-four

Randy and Friend

Fall Small Mouth

By Randy Fratzke

Well, as the folks around here have been saying a lot around here, " Fall is in the air". It's a time I look forward to for many reasons. One major reason is that most of my neighbors are "snowbirds" and will be leaving the area in the next couple of weeks. It's not that I don't like the neighbors, but after a few months of being so close to them it's nice to see them leave...like relatives visiting, after a while you start getting on each others nerves. Another reason is less "multi-recrerational" types on the river. There are a lot less jet skis when the days high is only around 40 degrees! But what I look forward to most is the fall feeding frenzy that the small mouth bass put on!

The bass start storing up energy for the coming winter once the temperatures start dropping below around 50 degrees during the days. Living on the river now, as I do, I usually keep one eye on the hammer in my hand and one on the river. Occasionally this diversion means a sore thumb, especially when there's a big splash 100 feet away, indicating a foraging fish.

I keep a rod strung and handy and it usually coincides with a "well deserved break" at about the same time. At this time of year, with the leaves changing and the unpredictable weather patterns that are normal for the area, the bass also fall out of their early morning/late evening feeding habits and seem to be a lot more aggressive. So fishing is good and almost any streamer pattern will work.

Most of the fishing is done along the shorelines, near rocky ledges and logs where the bass lay in wait for passing prey. It's not unusual to catch the same fish several times a week. It's also not unusual to catch as many as a dozen fish in an hour at times. Other times, just one here and there. Like I said, it's a little unpredictable. The most this year, so far was 14 in 45 minutes. They ranged in size from 4 inches, taken on a #6 light spruce, to a 3 pound taken on a crayfish pattern. I have to admit, it was hard to go back to work after that run, but reality has to come back at some point!

So if your looking for some good fall small mouth action, it's time to hit the streams. The weather is right, the fish are aggressive, and plentiful, and there are a lot fewer people on the water. Take a break and go fish! ~ Randy Fratzke

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