Editor’s Note: When we asked two of the nation’s top bass fishermen, former Bassmaster Classic winners Denny Brauer of Del Rio, Texas, and Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, to give our readers the best information on how to catch bass at this time of the year, they somewhat surprised us when they both named the buzzbait, a top-water lure, as their number-one choice for late fall and wintertime bass fishing. They also selected other baits. Many people don’t realize that in the late fall and the early winter, bass still will take top-water lures.
The Strike King Spit-N-King, another highly-productive top-water bait, especially if the water’s extremely clear, will be hard to beat for bass fishing in the fall and early winter. In clear water at this time of the year, I catch more bass on the Spit-N-King than I do on the buzzbait. In clear water, you need a bait that’s more subtle than you’ll fish if the water’s stained, and the Spit-N-King is a more-subtle bait than the buzzbait. For my retrieve, I like a three-pop cadence. I pop the bait three times, then stop the bait and give it three-more-quick pops. Sometimes the bass want the lure retrieved faster than this, so I’ll speed-up the lure and barely stop it in-between pops. Then the bait will spit all the way back to the boat. But fishing the Spit-N-King is much like fishing the buzzbait. You need to experiment with various kinds of retrieves, instead of fishing the lure one way the entire day.
* Where and How to Fish the Spit-N-King in the Fall:
One of the best tips I can give for fishing the Spit-N-King successfully at this time of year is to fish it around cover, like boat docks, stumps and logs. When the Spit-N-King reaches where you think the strike zone is located on that cover, stop the bait, and give the bass a chance to eat it. I often will stop the bait for 3 or 4 seconds, which may not seem like a long time. But if you’ll keep an eye on your watch for those 3 or 4 seconds, you’ll realize that the time that passes is much longer than most fishermen let their top-water lures sit on the water without moving them. Most of the time a really-big bass will eat the bait just as you get ready to move it.
If the bass are feeding aggressively, I’ll speed-up my retrieve. If the day is cloudy or misty, and the bass are feeding aggressively, I’ll speed-up my retrieve. If I’m fishing later in the morning or on a bright day, I may slow-down my retrieve. Don’t overlook the weather conditions when you’re trying to determine what type of retrieve to give the Spit-N-King in cool and cold weather.
* What Equipment to Use on the Spit-N-King in the Fall:
I like any of the shad-colored Spit-N-Kings, but I also like the chrome-sexy-shad Spit-N-King. But gizzard-shad and sexy-shad colors also work well at this time of year. I’ll be fishing the Spit-N-King on 17-pound-test monofilament line. I almost exclusively fish that weight and type of line when I’m fishing the Spit-N-King. For this lure, I’ll shorten my rod. I love to fish the Spit-N-King and the buzzbait in cooler weather like we’re now experiencing.
To learn more about catching bass, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Bass Pros: Season by Season Tactics,” at https://amzn.to/2IKUhe, available in Kindle and print versions, and Click here for the Audible link. You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free).
Tomorrow: Mark Davis Fishes the Wake Shad for Late Fall and Winter Bass