Topwater Bite Is Hit and Miss
Written by Scott McGlinchey - Published on November 1, 2019
It has been a warm fall season and the fishing for me during the last few weeks has been good most days. Water temperatures have been in the mid to upper 60s and the bass have been really putting on the feedbag, stocking up on shad for the winter. Since my last report most of the bass I have caught were on topwater baits, some on a ten inch worm, and a few with a spinnerbait.
More and more shad have moved shallow and they have gotten used to the cooler temperatures. Cool nights aren't pushing them out of the shallow flats. During the late afternoon and evening you will see the small shad fry flipping on the surface and if your in the right place the bass will start feeding on them. In the last week I have seen more bass attacking shad on the surface than I have the last two years and it is great sight to see!
Everyday is a different day on Kentucky and Barkley Lake this time of year and you have to fish very hard and patiently to catch keeper bass. Many areas capable of producing larger fish are hit and miss so where you caught them today you may not get them there the next day. On the other hand I have a few areas where a lot of bass are holding everyday, sometimes feeding and sometimes not.
While shad fry will scatter and flip during late afternoon and evening the larger shad will group up right on the bank and are overlooked by most anglers. I have some really big bass eating these large shad in inches of water.
I have been using the smaller topwater stickbaits when it is calm and the larger when there is a chop on the water. I also like to use a buzzbait if there is significant wind. I have had a few tournament anglers (experienced excellent fisherman) hire me recently. Some were surprised at how shallow we caught our fish. They were sold on the small topwater bait I was using and purchased all that were in stock.
What to expect: Water temperatures will be cooling quickly as the cooler temperatures get here. Bass will continue to hit topwater as long as water temperatures are mid 50s or above. They will hang around the shallow water until December gets here and the bite will get a little tougher but the fish should get bigger.
I will start to use crankbaits, jigs, spinnerbaits, finesse worms, and small swimbaits along with topwater until mid December when the winter ledge bite starts.
Winter is a great time to be fishing. Many days will warm into the 50s and the bass will feed hard at certain times on some ledges. I had some great winter fishing last year and most of the bass are big! Everyone should learn how to catch these big winter fish.