The open-water fishing season ends for many anglers in October or even earlier as football, hunting, and other fall activities start to take over.
Some diehards though, this angler included, like to stretch their open-water fishing as long as possible. While cold water and inclement weather can make fishing in November a bit more challenging, there is still good fishing to be had this month.
Living near Alexandria, I am close to lots of bass-filled lakes that I call deep weed-line lakes. These are relatively clear lakes, with maximum water depths often exceeding 50 feet, and often feature lush weed growth and abundant largemouth bass populations. The weeds in these lakes often grow on shoreline flats and shallow main lake islands and extend down the drop-off edges of the flats and islands.
In fall, the weeds on the flats die and any “edge weeds” that are still green and living draw baitfish and gamefish, including bass, walleyes, and northern pike.
This scenario plays out on lakes near my home, but also happens on lakes in many other parts of the Midwest too. When it does occur, I grab a crankbait rod, launch the boat, and head to those weed edges searching for bass and other bonus fish roaming those areas.
My fishing strategy is pretty simple, I hold the boat just out from the weed edge, use the boat’s trolling motor to parallel the edge, and make angled casts ahead and to the weed line with my crankbait. I am casting and moving along looking for two things, bass and/or green weeds.
When a bass is caught, I slow up and strain the area with several more casts as the fish are often schooled up during this time and it’s rare to only catch one from a spot. Likewise, if green weeds are hooked, I again like to hold in that area making several casts thinking that those green weeds probably mean some fish are present.
Deep-diving crankbaits like those in the Pro Model XD series excel for this style of fishing. These baits have models that dive to various depths and come in lots of “fishy” colors. I like baits that occasionally tick the weed tops on the retrieve and in color patterns that imitate the bluegills and perch that weed line bass often feed on.
The Pro Model 3XD and 5XD baits in neon bluegill and yellow perch patterns get lots of play in my boat -- the 3XD when the weed line is in the 12-foot range and the 5XD if it is a bit deeper.
I throw these baits on baitcasting rods paired with reels loaded with 10-or-12-pound Tactical fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon line allows crankbaits to reach their maximum running depths and has less stretch than some lines, facilitating positive hooksets when fish bite at the end of long casts. Plus, Tactical has very low visibility, so clear water bass aren’t spooked by its presence.
Lew’s makes a variety of rods and reels that do a great job for casting crankbaits. The TP1 Speed Stick “Crankback Rod” paired with a BB1 Speed Spool is a combination that I have had good success with for my weed line crankin’.
If finding some open-water fishing success is part of your plans yet this fall, consider heading to the deep weed line of your favorite bass lake and employ some of the ideas just presented. You’ll probably find some willing bass and maybe a big pike or walleye too!
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!
Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s School of Fish. Visit Fishing the Midwest at www.fishingthemidwest.com to see more from Mike.