Man, can you believe we’re already halfway through football season? The U of M Golden Gophers are 4-2, and my beloved Vikings are undefeated at 5-0! The Vikes are considered one of the top three teams in the NFL, and their current defensive end/hardcore bass angler, Brian Robison, has been able to do his signature “Reel ‘Em In” sack dance four times!
While 6-foot 3-inch, 259 pound “B-Rob” is running around gobbling up quarterbacks, big bass are cruising shallow right now with their feedbags on. Water temps may still be in the 70s throughout the South, but they’re fast slipping toward that magical 60-degree mark that seems to really crank up the bite.
Up north at Mille Lacs last week, the surface temp was already down to 50 degrees, and not too far from there, I caught a 6-pound, 8-ounce largemouth in equally cold waters.
No matter where you are, bass are focusing on getting the biggest meal they can right now in anticipation of winter, and that’s why I choose three “power fishing” lures for the heart of football season.
Squarebill crankbait – Few lures cover shallow water faster and get more bites around hard objects such as wood and rock than a squarebill. If you’re up north, choose a perch or bluegill pattern. Down south, go with a shad colored lure. While most guys use 12- or 15-pound test with their shallow crankbaits, I use 10-pound fluorocarbon to allow the bait to have as much action as possible – which I think gets you a few extra bites than heavier line does.
Willowleaf spinnerbait – If there was ever a crescent wrench tool for shallow water bass fishing, this is it! And while spinnerbaits have been shunned a bit in recent years as hardcore anglers turned to Chatterbaits and swimbaits instead – trust me, spinnerbaits still catch fish. Especially spinnerbaits dressed with willowleaf blades this time of year.
While the sqaurebill is tough to beat around rocks and wood, the spinnerbait is a more efficient choice around vegetation because it doesn’t snag as badly in the weeds as a squarebill does. Like I said, it’s so versatile that it will catch ‘em around wood, rock and docks too – especially if the wind is blowing.
Big jig – The classic 1/2–ounce pitchin’ jig and trailer tied to 65-pound braided line is the ultimate offering of a full serving of calories in one bite for a big bass. Better yet, try a Mop Jig from Buckeye Lures as the water cools quickly this time of year. They’re made with old skool living rubber strands, instead of more modern silicone – and that really makes the skirt flare out! In fact they flare out so much the jig appears to be about the size of … well … a small football.