As a general rule bass will hit topwater plugs in much colder water in the fall than they will in the spring. But, many anglers don’t realize how much of a difference there really is, or what it can do for their catches.
I have a story to make my point:
Back years ago, long before I was fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series, I was fishing a tournament at about this time of the year in Florida. The water temperature was in the middle 50 degree range, or maybe just a couple of degrees better than that.
We were fishing a river. The bass were suspended outside of laydowns in the main river channel. That was a common situation at the time. My partner was fishing a Bagley Rattlin’ Kill’r B and catching them. I had a 1/4-ounce black buzzbait tied on. I decided to give it a try. On the third cast I caught a 4 1/2-pounder.
If I remember right, at the end of the day we weighed in six bass — four of them were caught on that buzzbait.
The fact that this happened in Florida makes it somewhat unique. On the one hand Florida habitat is different and so are her bass. They’re shallow by nature and by necessity. At the same time, though, they’re legendary for shutting down when cold fronts pass through and the water gets cold.
That day has always stuck in my mind. It made me realize that topwater lures are more versatile than many of us think. When bass are on the feed they will come up for them even when the water’s cold.
I don’t know why they do more of that in the fall than they do in the spring, but I think it probably has something to do with the fact that they haven’t seen anything on top for a while. It’s new to them and gets their attention, and that’s pretty much all you have to do to get a bass to bite.
And it could be that almost all topwater lures look something like a dying shad. That’s what the bass see in November and December — shad dying from cold water. I’m thinking it looks natural to them.
So, it only makes sense to give them a try even if you think it’s too cold. You never know what can happen, and catching bass on top is about as much fun as you can have fishing.
Looking at the bigger picture, though, this proves that no “rule” in bass fishing is set in stone. Bass will do crazy things if we give them the opportunity. It’s up to us to think out of the box sometimes and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to do anything under any circumstances. You never know.
Next time I’m going to tell you why you should pay attention to what the pros have to say about equipment and tackle. I don’t mean that in an arrogant or conceited sense in any way. I do mean it in an informative sense. We deal with the manufacturers and other top anglers all the time. That makes a difference. We really do know some things that are not common knowledge at the dock.