Finding The Key To Fall Transition
By: Alex Garoutte Kickapoo High School Angler
Now that the Missouri spring season has been over for a couple months, many high school anglers continue fishing small summer series or just for fun. In Missouri, SWMO (Southwest Missouri High School Fishing Association) offers young anglers like me with a fall series. This group provides three to four tournaments all located on Table Rock Lake during the months of September through November. By being involved in this fall series it has allowed me to maintain my tournament state of mind.
You could say this is my off season to improve my skills so I don’t get rusty over the winter months. Just like in any other sport, to maintain and secure your position you need to practice and practice like you are in the game at that moment. What better way is there to practice for the spring than to continue fishing in tournaments even when the main season for Missouri high schoolers is over.
My first experience with this new group was last fall. In the fall, the bass begin to move up from their deep water spots of summer. Bass then follow the shad migration and go into a feeding frenzy preparing for winter. As the conditions change with the season, you will find that your techniques will too. As summer transitions to fall the fish begin the journey to shallow water again. During this time I found that dropshotting for suspended bass and spooning deep docks produced for me in this early stage, since the fish are still in their deep summer pattern. As the water conditions cool, the shad begin their migration and the bass follow. Just before the bass enter into the shallower water, using jigs and spinnerbaits on secondary points prove to be a productive pattern. Eventually, just before the first major cold front, the bass have followed the shad to shallow water where a topwater can be effective.
Something that all anglers should be aware of is how fast weather conditions can change. While pre fishing the Monday and Tuesday before the last tournament in November, we slayed the bass on topwater. That very next day (Wednesday) we had our first major cold front. When it came to tournament day we were able to catch a few on top water after the water warmed up, but because of the cold front the fish moved back out into deeper water. Our entire pattern had changed due to this major cold front. Being aware of things like a cold front will help you make those decisions that shape how you do in tournaments.