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Forget Largemouth For A Minute. You Might Score a Late Fall Trophy

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November 19, 2013

Forget Largemouth For A Minute. You Might Score a Late Fall Trophy

By Dave Wolak

Though many of us are happy catching bass regardless of the species, there are those guys that are simply largemouth fanatics. And that’s cool. I’m down with that. But it’s these guys that insist on targeting largemouth to the bitter end of their season, when in reality, fall and early winter is the one time of year when it’s often worth letting summer memories of jumping largemouths go, and pursue the “other” bass. One thing I've learned from competing in tournaments is the value of weighing statistics, and one statistic tournaments bring to light is how certain species dominate during certain seasons. Over time, I’ve learned that spotted bass and smallies are more likely to win a tourney once the temps dip into the low 50's.

During seasons like spring and summer, tournament anglers are more likely to focus on and win with largemouths, consequently arranging their patterns around them. This is because largemouth love to bite in the warm weather, usually grow bigger on average, and are more predictable. It’s during these times of year that spotted bass and smallmouths are less predictable and, therefore, tend to become “bonus fish.” Smallmouths and spotted bass are roving creatures, making the daily patterns that catch them harder to figure out during the warmer months. They are often difficult to target because they perform disappearing acts like suspending in the middle of the water column, randomly following bait around in deep water, or entirely switching locations due to minor weather changes. In fall and early winter, however, these species often magically show up in places where there were only largemouths a week or two before.

These species become easier to target now because they generally move shallow, group up and relate more to the bottom. All of these factors put greater numbers of these fish in catchable depths and positions, making them susceptible to baits like jigs, cranks, and even umbrella rigs. Over the years, I have experienced many late fall days where my intention to target green ones turned into targeting brown or spotted ones. That’s why even if I’m still hunting largemouths, I’ve got at least one rod ready with an offering for the “other bass.” And perhaps the sweetest bonus of all is that unlike largemouths, spots and smallies are typically very hungry and fat now. So not only are you likely to catch more fish, but your chances of landing a true trophy are much higher.

Comments (5)

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from santa wrote 22 weeks 3 hours ago

Dave, I grew up being taught by my father that large mouth bass were only to be caught as a last ditch effort to prevent being skunked when fishing for other species of fish. The large mouth bass or "green trout" were absolutely the easiest fish to catch in our local rivers. I was actually quite shocked when I learned that people actually fished for them on PURPOSE!!! Lew Childre had to explain to me that we were lucky to live on the gulf coast with all its bays and tidewaters. The majority of the people in the country had to depend on lakes for their fishing recreation and large mouth bass were well suited for lakes under all the different climates. They were also aggressive and would give the average angler a respectable fight. Therefore the large mouth bass was PROMOTED very heavily to help create a market for fishing tackle. For example, fishing boats became Bass Boats, Fishing rods became Bass Rods, baitcast reels became Bass Reels, fishing lures became Bass Lures, etc. The name Bass was added to everything from boats and paddles to hats and sunglasses until it became a part of our every day language. The heavy promotion of bass fishing in the late sixties and early seventies created such a huge successful industry that people like you for instance were even able to make a living bass fishing. Even I made a good living in the industry for a time. While I caught my fair share of large mouths over the years, I still personally target many other fish species also.

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from David Wolak wrote 22 weeks 47 min ago

Great points, I very much enjoy targeting other types of fish as well. Thanks for reading!

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from David Wolak wrote 22 weeks 46 min ago

Great points, I very much enjoy targeting other types of fish as well. Thanks for reading!

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from rjw wrote 21 weeks 6 days ago

I would have to think that the more species you fish for the better off you are and the more you learn, but hey to each their own.

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from wisc14 wrote 21 weeks 6 days ago

i've never caught any, but i know of folks who have caught very large smallies fishing for muskies in northern wisconsin using suicks in the fall

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from santa wrote 22 weeks 3 hours ago

Dave, I grew up being taught by my father that large mouth bass were only to be caught as a last ditch effort to prevent being skunked when fishing for other species of fish. The large mouth bass or "green trout" were absolutely the easiest fish to catch in our local rivers. I was actually quite shocked when I learned that people actually fished for them on PURPOSE!!! Lew Childre had to explain to me that we were lucky to live on the gulf coast with all its bays and tidewaters. The majority of the people in the country had to depend on lakes for their fishing recreation and large mouth bass were well suited for lakes under all the different climates. They were also aggressive and would give the average angler a respectable fight. Therefore the large mouth bass was PROMOTED very heavily to help create a market for fishing tackle. For example, fishing boats became Bass Boats, Fishing rods became Bass Rods, baitcast reels became Bass Reels, fishing lures became Bass Lures, etc. The name Bass was added to everything from boats and paddles to hats and sunglasses until it became a part of our every day language. The heavy promotion of bass fishing in the late sixties and early seventies created such a huge successful industry that people like you for instance were even able to make a living bass fishing. Even I made a good living in the industry for a time. While I caught my fair share of large mouths over the years, I still personally target many other fish species also.

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from David Wolak wrote 22 weeks 47 min ago

Great points, I very much enjoy targeting other types of fish as well. Thanks for reading!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 22 weeks 46 min ago

Great points, I very much enjoy targeting other types of fish as well. Thanks for reading!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rjw wrote 21 weeks 6 days ago

I would have to think that the more species you fish for the better off you are and the more you learn, but hey to each their own.

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from wisc14 wrote 21 weeks 6 days ago

i've never caught any, but i know of folks who have caught very large smallies fishing for muskies in northern wisconsin using suicks in the fall

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