Fall jerkbait slam for smallmouth
Written by: Tim Hine – Follow Tim on Instagram
It’s October. To most October means; fall, Halloween and “winter is coming”. To a die hard bass angler, October means; cooler water temps, giant bass and moving baits!
By now you have noticed that the smallmouth aren’t where they were two and three weeks ago. The weather has changed, the water is 5 – 10 degrees cooler but the average size of fish is larger. And by larger I mean fat, round and aggressive!
Before you head out to deep water, bob around and drag tubes for good, keep an eye out for warm weather! Northern states and Canada have recently seen water temps in the high 50s – low 60s, so the fish aren’t quite hunkered down on the lake bottom just yet. If the sun pops out, don’t be afraid to move up to 10 – 12 feet and toss a jerkbait around.
One of the most interesting things I find about fishing this time of year, is you can really call your shots! If you do move up shallow and see bait moving around, the fish won’t be too far away. Sometimes you’ll luck out and they’ll be right there waiting for you! While other times you just have to wait around or come back later for that shallow water to warm a little more. Fact is, your most productive time of day will be an afternoon bite. The entire food chain, bait and fish, will move towards to that shallow water to metabolize and feed again. Unfortunately the window of opportunity is shrinking now, but if you time it right you can have one hell of a 45 minute shallow water slam feast!
You can count on these fish being aggressive, so moving baits will be your best friend! Having a steady rotation of blades, cranks and jerks going will allow you to really key in on what the fish want. Fall brings a lot of wind, so I’m always prepare with a medium diving jerkbait.
In my experience, when the bait moves into the shallows, the smallies will hang on the edges almost cornering the bait. Rather than chasing bait out deep, this creates an easy fall meal for those smallies. As those smallies are busy picking off shallow bait, I’ll position my boat within casting distance of the edge, cast onto the flats and rip that jerkbait to deeper water. If the fish are there, it’s always an exciting time!
With many medium to deep diving jerkbaits on the market, we all have our favorites. The past couple of seasons I have spent time throwing the Megabass ITO Shiner. The ITO Shiner can run up to 8 feet deep with the right line selection, which makes it ideal for fall fishing. Sure, I have lost my share of them to pike or frayed line and shed a tear, but they have out performed some of the other jerkbaits I have used. To me performance is all that matters.
If you have done any research on Megabass or used any of their gear, then you know they have designed their rods and reels to pair up perfectly with their tackle. So, I couldn’t resist to pick up a Megabass Orochii XX Ronin spinning rod for my selection of Megabass jerkbaits. The Ronin is 6’8” in length and is a medium action rod. This rod pairs up perfectly with all of the Megabass jerkbaits, and for me I especially like it with the ITO Shiner. The Ronin gives me the right balance of weight, strength and sensitivity when I’m tossing the ITO around.
My cadence with the ITO in the fall varies, as the fish will literally tell you what they want. During a recent outing, a “jerk jerk pause” retrieve, while letting the jerkbait soak is what was drawing in those smallies. That outing was a prime example of a small window of opportunity, but generated great results…including a 5lb 8oz toad!
This time of year can be full of surprises! Regardless of how much time you spend on the water, it never gets old!