Between Meal Snacks for late Summer Bass
September is a month of plenty, if you're a bass that is. There are baitfish everywhere. Huge clouds of baitfish. That's one thing about bass fishing now that makes it stand out better than most months. The baitfish that hatched earlier in the year are the perfect size to keep the interest of hungry bass. Sometime during the day bass will go on a feeding frenzy. They'll tear into these schools of prey like it's the last meal they'll see for a while and they'll do this at least once a day, often more.
As anglers it's up to us to figure out only two things in order to have a great day on the water. We need to be where the bass are when this reckless frenzy happens and we need to find out how to make them bite when they are between meals.
Finding them may be easier than you think. Just find the biggest concentrations of baitfish. Good electronics make it easy and good fishing instincts go a long way, but look for some kind of cover near deep water. Later in the month or early in October many of these schools of shad and other baitfish will start their migration up rivers and to the back of coves, but now they will be in the deeper water for the most part. Bass will lay back in some kind of cover, say, under a deep boat dock or in standing timber.
Most baits work well when they're feeding like this. I like a small swimbait such as a Berkley ® 5-inch HollowBelly ® or a Berkley 5-inch Power ® Jerkshad but a lot of different baits will do fine. Also, try using Berkley Trilene ® 100% fluorocarbon line for this type of fishing. Let the water color choose the line size. The murkier the water the heavier the line you can use. Remember this frenzy-feeding pattern won't last long so you need to be on top of the action and stay on them until it's over. That's when the fishing can get a bit more challenging.
These bass won't go far so finding them is not the issue as much as catching them. Just trying to get these fish to bite anything sometimes is super tough, but there are some shortcuts to a full livewell.
Another Berkley bait that will help a bunch is the Berkley Heavy Weight Fat Sinkworm. It's a stickworm with action that you have to see to believe. What makes any stickworm work is the wiggle it has on the drop. It must fall at the right rate and shake at the right rate in order to catch them.
I like the 5-inch Heavy Weight Fat Sinkworm and it comes in several colors, but the thing that makes it work so well is what's on the insideﾭﾗBerkley PowerBait ®. Bass just won't let go of this thing.
I fish them two ways. I wacky rig them, which is putting an exposed hook through the middle of the bait, or I Texas rig them unweighted.
I know I get more action and more bites when I rig it wacky but you can't fish around certain types of cover this way. The Texas rig allows me to fish around cover, such as outside grass lines, but I know I'm not getting the full action from the bait.
One of the best types of cover I've found for this kind of fishing is deep boat docks near deeper water. It's simple: I cast a wacky rigged Heavy Weight worm close to the dock and let it sink. If I don't get bit I'll jerk it a couple of times and let it sink again. Then I cast again. The fish will have a decided preference where under these docks they'll be. Once I determine this I'm fairly sure that's where they'll be on other docks as well. Most likely it'll be a corner but I never know until I catch a couple which one it will be. Often it's the outside shady corner but not always.
Sometimes the outside grass line near deep water is the best bet. Here I'll cast a Texas-rigged Gulp! ® Sinking Minnow inside the grass and twitch it to the outside edge. Then I let it sink. It can be any type of cover but I know it will most likely be near or in deep water.
If I see them schooling or frenzy feeding it really simplifies things for me. I just go to the nearest cover. They might not be right there but they are close. That's why we have to work a little harder to get them to bite.
This may be the best time of year to load up on plenty of healthy bass. You may have to work at it, but with a little fishing savvy and the right baits you can get the job done in a big way.