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Mike Frisch: Crankin' late for largemouths

My fishing experiences tell me that October is one month to spend as much time on the water as possible.

In fact, some of my best fishing days for walleyes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappies have all occurred during October.

Once October gives way to November and the water gets downright cold, however, the fishing often seems to get tougher. One pattern that I still rely on for good action now is crankbait fishing for bass.

To start a fall day crankin' bass, I select lakes with good largemouth populations, relatively clear water and weedlines that consistently grow along the drop-off edges of flats. During summer and early fall, these lakes and their weedlines often produce good fishing for bucket-mouth bass when anglers throw jig-worm combinations, or as the new era of bass anglers like to call them "shaky-heads" or "Ned rigs." By whatever name, a small jig-head adorned with some form of plastic worm cast and retrieved along the weed edge is a productive technique.

During late fall, jig-worm combinations will still produce, but I often have better success throwing crankbaits. I hold the boat out from the weedline, cast at an angle ahead of the boat but toward the weedline, and retrieve the bait back. Moving down the weedline, I am often able to contact good numbers of bass during a November fishing day.

Once I find one fish, often several more will be caught from the same area. Often these fish are found relating to still living, green weeds, or the best of what is still available in weed growth.

A big key for me recently in quickly finding good weeds and the bass that live in them has been using the revolutionary RealVision 3D imaging on my Raymarine Axiom multifunction sonar unit. RealVision used in conjunction with SideVison and DownVison enables me to see just where the best remaining weeds are growing on a drop off and make my casts accordingly.

This game-changing technology also allows me to rewind, pause, and playback sonar history so I can really learn the intricacies of weedlines, and other structure.

The final component to a successful fall crankin' program is choosing the right baits. I utilize the Strike King Pro Model series for my weedline crankbait fishing. These baits come in patterns that mimic the baitfish living on weedlines and in several sizes and running depths. Plus, weedline bass love their actions. The Series 5 and Series 5 XD (extra deep) models are two that produce on lots of weedlines.

Because lots of good weedline lakes have good water clarity, low visibility fluorocarbon lines are often used, and are usually best fished on a 7-foot (or longer) medium action and power baitcasting rod and reel combination. This combination allows for long casts and the somewhat limber rod action allows for more hook-ups when fish chase down a quickly moving crankbait.

In addition to being low vis, fluorocarbons have less stretch than monofilament lines for better hooksets and have good abrasion resistance in and around weeds. Tactical Fluorocarbon in 12-pound test is what I use for crankin' bass.

As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more "fishy" stuff.

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