It’s been a nasty week here in Michigan – cold rain and wind – the kind of weather that keeps most people indoors, but the kind that makes me wish I was fishing.
There may not be a better time to be on the water than during days like this, whether you live in Michigan or Texas and all points between.
It’s something I learned from tournament fishing. We had to fish whatever conditions Mother Nature dealt us; and oftentimes, the rough fall weather days were the best.
Most anglers tend to build their fall outings around the prettier days, but I’ve found those fair weather days make it more difficult to get to bass to bite.
The best are like we’re seeing in Michigan, when the water temp is dipping into the 50s, air temps are in the low 40s, it’s non-stop raining and the wind is blowing about 20 mph-plus. It really gets the largemouth and smallmouth going.
It’s brutal, but today’s clothing makes it far more bearable. In a future blog, I will detail what I wear from head-to-toe to keep me comfortable in cold weather fishing.
Of course, strong wind doesn’t make it safe to be on big water, but it’s fine for smaller lakes or places where you can launch and access fishable water.
Our fall fishing stays good through into November. In Southern states, primetime cold-water action may not occur until around Christmas.
I’ve also learned that bass will be aggressive even when water temps dip into the 30s, a time when I’ve caught some incredible strings on spinnerbaits and Red Eye Shads. Those are my favorite baits under these conditions, but a diving crankbait can work, too. However, I never tie on a finesse lure because the wind prohibits me from fishing it efficiently and I can’t cover a lot of water quickly.
Feeding bass will roam, and you need to cover a lot of water to find them. The spinnerbait is my first choice because it’s a bait they will chase down in the wind. The fish are pretty aggressive and feeding by sight, which is why I look for the clearest water, especially when the wind is blowing.
Make no mistake – the wind is the key. It positions the fish on wind-blown structure and makes them more active. You might catch a few on the calmer shores, but the windy ones are your best bet.
The bass often are shallow; if not, I will fish the spinnerbait over deep water. I can fish it at all depths as it draws fish from a farther distance.
You know what else makes this a great time to fish? You have the water to yourself ‘cause most anglers are watching football, the World Series or have gone hunting. The bass aren’t being molested and are eager to bite anything moving fast.
Sure the weather is a little uncomfortable, but get a few big ones to slam your spinnerbait, and you’ll forget how cold it is outside.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!