Ish: Late season giants

You don’t hear much about catching giant bass in the fall. This is a tough time. But tough is not the same as impossible. It can be done.

One reason a lot of guys don’t catch a giant is because they’re fishing in the wrong places to catch one. They’re in shallow water catching the bass that are chasing shad. That’s not where the giants are at. And, they’re throwing lures that are way too small.

We’ve talked about this before. If you’re going after big bass, you have to accept the fact that you aren’t going to catch very many of them. If you want to catch a bunch of bass, go back in a creek somewhere and throw a small swimbait, a tiny crankbait or a spinnerbait. You’ll catch plenty, but don’t cry because they’re small.  

It’s my theory that the really big bass don’t follow the baitfish in like the smaller ones do. They’re solitary creatures. Giants mostly stay in the same places during the summer, fall and winter. That’s out over deep water. They relate to deep points, breaks, drops and channels. True giants only care about shallow water in the spring and most of that is centered on the spawn.

There are exceptions to what I just said. Sometimes you’ll find them shallow — more or less — in really isolated, hard to get to places. That doesn’t contradict what I said about deep water. It just proves that no rule in fishing is absolute.

The fact that most of them stay deep, and that they don’t follow the baitfish in, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeding up for the winter, however. They are. And when the bite is on they’ll feed aggressively.

The best way to catch one is to turn your back on the other anglers, ignore what they’re doing and throw a big swimbait. Sometimes they’ll grab it when it’s deep — we catch them here in California at 30-40 feet over water that’s 100 feet deep — but at other times they’ll come up just below the surface to take a bait. When they’re doing that I only fish with the big River2Sea S-Waver.

If they’re way down on the bottom, try a really big worm.

If they’re all the way on top go with a giant topwater plug. The best giant bass topwater plug I know about is a Whopper Plopper. If you’re looking for one 10 pounds or bigger, go with a 190. It was originally developed as a musky bait, but it’ll really do a number on giant bass, too. If the big bass in your lake are smaller, go with a 90 or a 130.

I’m not going to suggest any particular color for any lure because every lake is different. You have to know your water and pick something that looks natural to a giant bass, and natural is very important. It’s the key. Big bass are savvy. The water’s usually clear in the fall. They spot subtle differences between lures and real baitfish easily. They rarely fall for a pretty face.

Chasing giant bass can be difficult at this time of the year. If you do manage to figure them out and catch one, though, you’ll have accomplished something special.