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October Smallmouth Fishing

Justin TothBy Justin Toth

October can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable times to fish for small mouth bass, though it can be equally as frustrating. In October the fish will go on sporadic feeding frenzies to prepare themselves for the winter when they become nearly dormant. These feeding times can be great for both taking quantity and size. Depending on the structure, water temperature, water clarity, weather and your bait presentation you could be in for a good time.

When scouting out good structure in October, look for spots that hold lots of oxygen such as remaining weed beds that have not yet died off. If fishing in deeper water, look for bait fish near humps and shoals, preferably a rock bottom depending on the lake.

Water temperature is the key for fish being active or not. If it's too cold and the water reaches 55F and lower, fish can be extremely inactive. On a sunny day with cold water, look for a dark bottom or dirty water. This kind of water will tend to heat up quicker and sustain bass.

Weather can make fishing extremely difficult. After a cold front has rolled through, the barometric pressure usually becomes very high immediately after it passes. The fish become very lethargic for 3 or 4 days and that frustrates most fishermen. During these times you will find fish schooling down in the deep water, but they are hard to catch. Thunderstorms also have the same effect and will spook the fish for a couple of days. Wind can be useful when fishing flats or covering a large area. The wind will create a chop so you can sneak up on the fish without scaring them off a weed flat or rock bed in shallow water. When dragging a tube or drop shotting, the wind can help to blow your boat around covering alot of water while you search for fish on the bottom.

Presentation can definitely help you land the big one as well. If you're fishing in slow conditions, where the water is extremely cool or after a cold front has just passed, remember fish are not going be very active so slowdown to accommodate their needs. Use tubes, finesse minnows, and jigs. I find fluorocarbon leaders will help a lot in keeping finicky fish from getting spooked away. When selecting colour, use naturals like brown, green, white, and black in clear water. Remember you're trying to mimic what the fish are feeding on. If fishing dark murky water use unnatural colours such as chartreuse, pink, red, blue or any fluorescent to catch the fish's attention. When fishing prime October warm water, use faster moving baits and lures which anger fish and will cause a strike reaction. Some lures to consider are spinner baits, crank baits, minnow imitations and sometimes top water bait depending on where you locate the fish and what they're feeding on at the time.

Regardless of the challenge October fishing presents there is nothing better than a 5 lb. smallie nailing a spinner bait on a warm October day.

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