Editor’s Note: Mark Davis of Mt. Ida, Arkansas (https://www.facebook.com/markdavisprobassfishing), has won the Angler-of-the-Year title three times and the Bassmaster Classic.
* Spinner Baits:
Spinner baits and fall bass fishing go together like peas and carrots. One of the reasons the spinner bait is such an effective tool for fall fishing is that it is the ideal lure to fish-around shallow cover. I like to fish the spinner bait around laydowns, stumps, brush, logs, log jams, docks or any other type of cover I can find. In most areas of the country, lakes are drawn-down during November, and you can locate isolated cover on the flats up in the creeks. You also can find isolated cover in pockets and coves that you may not see at any other time of the year. When you discover these isolated pieces of cover, you can present a spinner bait, and many times catch bass that haven’t seen a spinner bait for 6 months or more.
* Spinner Bait Equipment and Tactics:
I prefer a 6-1/2-foot rod when I fish a spinner bait. I like 25-pound-test, monofilament line and a medium-heavy action rod with a fast gear ratio. In clear-water lakes, I’ll choose white or a more natural-looking-color bait to fish. In stained-water lakes, I prefer chartreuse-colored spinner baits. I’ll cast the spinner bait out past the cover and reel it back past the cover. The clearer the water, the closer you want to keep the spinner bait to the surface. The more stained the water, the deeper you want the spinner bait to run past the cover.
I change-up the action of the spinner bait throughout the retrieve, often speeding it up, slowing the bait down or killing the bait by the cover. Another tactic is to drop slack in your line, so the blades stop spinning or spin more slowly. Then when you start reeling fast again, you create an erratic action that often will trigger a bass to strike. Few fishermen throw slack in their lines to pause or slow-down the rotation of the blade, and then increase the speed of the spinner bait. But I think this type retrieve produces more bass.
* Tube Fishing in the Fall:
Tube baits imitate crawfish like jigs do, but they look different and have a different action from the jig. I believe tubes appeal to bass and have a great deal of drawing power. Many times, I’ll only fish a tube during a day of bass fishing in November. Other times, after I fish an area with a jig, I’ll come back and fish that same area with a tube. If I fish a place where many fishermen are using the jig, I’ll use the tube, because it’s a smaller, more-subtle bait and is more streamlined than the jig. You’ll get some strikes on the tube that you won’t get on the jig. I like the new Strike King Bleeding Tube Bait due to the way it’s designed. Unlike many other types of bait, the tentacles on these tubes are not just stained red. Instead, the inside color of the tentacle is red with another color laid over it. Having the red on the inside of the tentacles produces a flash of red, which I believe looks much-more natural than a big dose of red on the end of the bait.
My favorite tube color for November is watermelon with copper flake, a great crawfish-imitating tube. I fish this bait on 20-pound-test line with a heavy-action rod. I rig the tube Texas style with either a 1/4- or a 5/16-ounce weight and either a No. 3/0 or No. 4/0 EWG hook. These hooks are tube-style with an extra-wide bend in them. I fish the tube in the same places I fish the jig – on points, around boat docks and creek-channel banks, on creek-channel swings and bluff banks. I fish this bait slowly in 5-20 feet of water.
Since the tube is a heavy plastic bait, you can cast it on a heavy rod. When you have a heavy bait, a heavy hook and a lead sinker, you need a heavy-action rod to set the hook hard. I think you have to set the hook as hard, if not harder, when you fish the tube as you do when you fish the jig. If you use a medium-action rod instead of a heavy-action rod, you won’t set the hook as hard and catch as many bass. I’ve won some bass tournaments using this tube tactic. I’ve learned that if I don’t set the hook really hard when I fish the tube, many times that hook won’t penetrate the plastic, and I’ll lose the bass that bites my jig.
* Jerkbait Fishing in November – Lures, Equipment and Techniques:
During November, I prefer fishing the suspending model of the Strike King Wild Shiner jerkbait over the floating model. To fish this bait, I use a 6-foot, medium-action rod with a bait-casting reel. I use either 10- or 12-pound test line. I try to make long casts across main lake points on windy days when the water is relatively clear. I try to catch the bass that are suspended around those main lake points. These bass feed on shad, and the Wild Shiner is a great shad imitator and comes in many colors.
In clear water, I like to fish the shad-colored Bleeding Bait Series. White, gray and green seem to produce best for me. If the water is a little stained, I may choose a chartreuse color. I fish the Wild Shiner in water that is 5 feet or deeper. I give the bait four or five jerks to get it down to the depth where I want to fish it. Once I get the bait down to the desired depth, I’ll jerk it two or three times, then pause the bait and let it sit still. I like to fish the Wild Shiner when the water temperature is 60 degrees or below. The colder the water gets, usually the slower I’ll fish the Wild Shiner. One advantage to using the Wild Shiner is that you can fish this lure all winter. The colder the weather gets, the longer you let the Wild Shiner sit before you move it. Although you can fish the Wild Shiner around cover like boat docks, laydowns and brush piles, I have found it most effective out on main river points when fishing for suspended bass.
To learn more about catching bass, check out John E. Phillips’ latest book just published in October, 2020, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” at https://amzn.to/3kb0QI6, available in Kindle and soon to be available in print and Audible. You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser.