Well, it’s late October and what a month it’s been for us so far. I’m primarily using a topwater popper and the Shakey Head for bass and as a bonus I’m finding surfacing schools of stripers eager to hit the same topwater bait the bass are keying on. It’s been weird because one day I can find stripers feeding on the surface and the next day they are gone but the bass are hitting the surface baits. The stripers are moving around in and out of the creek but being in the right place at the right time is required to get them. You have to have a keen eye and watch the surface like a hawk this time of year. The fish will give themselves away but in the case of stripers, they are moving around so you have to get to them quick when they surface. Having a boat with a big motor on the back has helped us get to where the stripers are surfacing a lot quicker and we’ve been able to pick a few off before they move on.
More specifically the topwater pattern that I’m using is more of a waking pattern than a popping or splashing pattern. I’m using a popping bait but I’m only popping it a couple of times to get the fishes attention before I lower the rod tip and start a slow wake back to the boat. The wake itself is what the bass and stripers are keying in on. The reason for this is because there are small groups or single 2-4 inch bluebacks roaming the surface right now and the fish are keying in on the ripple lines the bluebacks are leaving. They just follow the trail of ripple lines right to the fish, or in this case, my popper. This is the second year I’ve using my translucent emerald popper on our fall surface fish and the translucent color seems to be a color that can fool these fish. Often times if they miss on the first strike, they come right back to it. It takes some patience and practice to leave the bait alone until you feel the fish but if they miss on the first attempt, if you leave the bait in the strike zone most of the time you can expect another strike with just a small twitch or pop of the bait. Here’s a picture of the emerald popper.
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Note: A lot of folks have asked if I can make these baits to sell and I would like to but the blanks are very hard to get right now and my supply has dwindled to just a few blanks.
Here’s a good example of the way I’m working my bait and a striper following the wake back to the boat before the strike. You can expand the size of the video and see the striper following the bait.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD49q_ukVfw&w=560&h=315] If I can’t find the stripers, I’m using the same topwater popper technique over points and brush to get a few nice bass. The brush pile bass are roaming around a watching the surface for bluebacks so just waking the bait over fish on a brush pile works pretty good right now. Also, points are another good location for bass right now as the fish seem to be cruising up and down the drop-offs and shallow in search of bluebacks. That brings me to my next successful pattern which is the Shakey Head. I had been using the Shakey Head primarily in the back of the creek and catching some smaller fish but I decided to put it to work out further towards the mouth of the creek and beyond and it’s starting to yield some bigger fish. Basically I’m just using a Watermelon Trick worm on rocky points and outcroppings and also around deeper docks with natural rock near. You’ve gotta work it slow because the bite is soft right now. Here’s a picture of the worm and a nice bass from the weekend.
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So there are 2 patterns that should yield a few fish this fall and remember to always keep your topwater handy and watch the surface for both stripers and bass.
Here’s a few more pictures and videos from the month. Note: The last video is not for the squeamish but for you guys that like to see hooks in fingers, this ones for you. I was releasing a bass and caught a treble to the thumb with the fish attached. I had to remove the hook from the fish and my finger. Enjoy!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XJoEabxyHg&w=560&h=315] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hhz0acQg8s&w=560&h=315] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iOpxuY6JxI&w=560&h=315] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRtwe6L6z3s&w=560&h=315]