As we get further into the fall and the bass move more into their traditional patterns, I’d like to offer some clues about how to establish a September pattern that can repeatedly catch bass.
One of the most important things to look for in September is shad – nothing produces more bites in the fall than the presence of bait. There’s the old saying “Fish where the fish are,” but in this case it’s “Fish where the bait is.” Bass eat shad in the fall, so if you find the shad you’ll find the bass.
September generally starts to bring the cooler weather and I really look forward to those first couple of cool nights. You get up in the morning, the temperature’s somewhere in the low-50s, it’s cool and there’s wet dew on the grass.
When I start to see this set of conditions, I leave the deep-water areas – the channels, deep roadbeds, deep ridges – and I head to the coves in the creeks. In general, most of the bass head back into these areas when those cold nights arrive. The shad should be present – there’s often a secondary shad spawn in fall. So if you don’t see shad or baitfish moving around, you’re in the wrong creek.
Once you’re in a likely area, start searching the water with search baits that’ll cover water. Good choices are rattlebaits, Punisher spinnerbaits and swimbaits. These are all presentations that you can fish quickly to thoroughly explore an area.
The key is persistence. Cover water with persistence and be sure to make presentations to stick-ups, laydowns, docks and any other cover in the area.
I believe that if a place looks fishy, it probably is. If there are baitfish about and the activity level’s there, you’ll find the bass. Just approach everything from different angles and try different presentations until you get bit.
Another search bait that many people don’t think about is a buzzbait. I throw Assassinator buzzbaits (pictured at top of story) and they can be deadly in September – the water’s clearer, the fish are more active and they’re hunting out meals. That’s a perfect buzzbait recipe. As with the other presentations, work the buzzbait different ways – from just barely moving to ripping across the surface.
Captain Mike Gerry has lived in north Alabama since the 1970s and has been fishing Lake Guntersville for over 35 years. He owns and operates Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service and books individual, group and corporate trips. He also offers pre-tournament trips for competitive anglers. Visit FishLakeGuntersvilleGuideService.com, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (256) 759-2270. He’d love to hear from you!