Broken Arrow, Okla., native Scott Ashmore grew up near Grand Lake in eastern Oklahoma and recently qualified for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic and Elite Series through the Southern Opens. He's a well-rounded angler and has excelled in fisheries from Florida to Alabama to South Carolina and all points in between. The Midwest pro keeps current on waters in his home state, and here's what he's found for early winter bassin'.
Manmade lakes, such as Grand, are common throughout the United States, and most have several things in common. Grand's rocky banks and abundance of creeks are full of bass before the cold sets in and are found on all but the smallest and most secluded waters.Right now, it's a shallow ball game in most of the country," he says. "Shallow running square-billed crankbaits and flipping plastics and jigs are good producers."In the late fall, Ashmore targets mouths of creeks and secondary points, favoring those with cover such as rockpiles, bushes or laydowns on them. Bass use these areas to stage as they move into the creeks to feed before winter.Ashmore's first choice is a medium or shallow running LaserLure crankbait. Depending on the primary forage in the lake he's on, Ashmore prefers chartreuse with a blue back or LaserLure's Spicy Shad color. He'll position his boat to one side of the creek and work his way across it making casts into the creek, imitating shad that are entering the main lake. When dealing with shallower water, he says stealth is key.If crankbaits aren't clicking, Ashmore reaches for a small jig or tube. He says downsizing is important as the water cools."As fall progresses, they get less aggressive so you need to go with smaller baits like Jewel's Eakins jig," he says. He uses a technique he developed to entice reaction strikes from lazy bass. "If you know they're there but they won't hit a crankbait, I like to throw it out to cover if it's there, and hop it up a ways and shake it, like a crawdad swimming away. They'll usually hit it on the fall. If that doesn't work, slowly drag it back along the bottom."He likes the Eakins jig in peanut butter and jelly tipped with a complimentary V&M Bayou Craw. Ideally he will throw a 3/8-ounce version, but in shallow water (2 to 5 feet), he may go as light as 5/16 ounce. The jig is his go-to bait when fishing in and around rocks, and the tube gets the nod for wood cover such as brushpiles.When deciding what sort of cover to fish, Ashmore looks to the sky"When you've got a bluebird day, they'll be relating to cover more and the shadows up underneath it in order to ambush bait better," he says. "This is something you need to pattern out as they move around."Figuring out the pattern in late fall almost guarantees a limit.
"That's the best part of fishing this time of year, a lot of times when you catch one there's a bunch there," he says. "If you get one off of a laydown and look over your shoulder and there's another, more than likely you'll get another bite.
"On the points a lot of times you can get fish on consecutive casts. When you catch 'em this time of year, it's easy to duplicate," he said. "The potential numbers are a reason to get out there now."