Fishing & Boating News
Pro angler John Janousek of Nisswa, Minnesota has spent plenty of quality time targeting giant fall bass and offers some insight to finding and catching some real hawgs. John on location: "Weeds are a big key to finding fish whether it's deep or shallow. Shallower lily pad covered bays really heat up in the fall, even if the pads are starting to die off. The pads that are left will still hold fish and sometimes quite a few. Reeds are another shallow water option and it's the thicker clumps that I'll make sure I spend some extra time on. Same goes for wild rice which is already lying down, but don't let that stop you from working it over. A top deep water location includes clumps of green coontail which looks like big red balls on my Humminbird 998c, instead of the skinnier more scraggly looking stuff. Look for it on the deep edge of the weed line in maybe eight to ten feet of water depending on water clarity."
Catching is when the real fun begins and John has a few "go to" baits that he uses to help him find and catch: "Buzzbaits can still be effective are a great search bait, even if water temps are cooling off. I've caught some real pigs on Northland Tackle's Buzzard at times when they're not supposed to work. I like to use it when I'm working the tops of shallower weed beds and when I'm tucked back in a lily pad bay. Another terrific option is a Jawbreaker Spoon which can be worked back nice and slow or really burned in which causes it to hop and skip across the surface and looks like a baitfish trying to escape. Bass will sometimes blowup on the Jawbreaker but miss it and is when I have another rig ready to go and will fire a jig or Texas rigged plastic lure in as fast as I can. When they blowup like that you can hook nine out of ten fish if you can get a bait in there quickly enough. A plastic bait like the new Impulse Brush Beaver rigged weed less can mean a lot more hookups if you have one close at hand. When I'm working heavier shallow cover I'll use braided line like 65lb test Bionic Bass Braid which has more than enough strength to yank heavy duty largies from the heaviest cover. If fish aren't chasing and showing themselves you might have to slow things down. In that caser I'll work over the shallow cover with a jig like Northland's Jungle Jig rigged with a Brush Beaver. I'll pitch the bait to clumps of pads, reeds, or rice and let it yo-yo up and down before picking it up and hitting the next patch. It's not a fast way to fish but is definitely effective. When I start working the coontail clumps in deeper water I'll usually reach for a crankbait first like the Storm Magwart.
Typically; the deepest growing coontail will grow to within four feet or so of the surface and the Magwart on 17 to 20lb test monofilament will dive just deep enough to catch the very tops of the weeds. The heavier the mono the shallower the bait will run. When you do catch weeds rare back and rip the bait lose, which can really turn bass on. If the fish aren't taking the higher riding bait I'll work the deeper edges of the clumps with a jig or Texas rig and take it nice and slow. I'll try to envision just what exactly is going on and the bite can be super soft at times. A bait that starts to slowly move off or didn't seem to make it all the way to the bottom means reeling down and setting the hook. Working "nice and slow" also means making more than one cast to a hotspot( maybe a lot more) before you can give up and look for something better. If you do hookup with a fish you better spend some extra time before moving on. As mentioned; fall bass bunch up in big schools and one fish might give you an idea to uncovering the mother lode. They'll also turn on and turn off at any given time and if things shutdown completely don't be afraid to come back a little later, the thing is the fish are still there.
If big bass are of interest; times a wasting. The fall period is a peak like no other and the hottest action will be here and gone before you know it. It's also why John logs so much "on the water" time and would never ever want to miss it. See you on the water.
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