Bass Fishing Pre-Frontal Conditions in Late Fall
Contributed by John Henry Boatright
Not many people enjoy bass fishing in the rain in late fall, but count me in. Especially when that rain precedes a cold front. As the days lengthen and the temperatures drop I hawk the forecast like an amateur meteorologist. Yesterday the tone was set, I had a few hours and the chance to fish a private access river run below a dam. The morning started off humid at 71?F and by 4pm the experts were predicting a 20? drop, heavy winds and more rain. As the morning wore on the sprinkling began, I finished up my chores and was on the water shortly after lunch.
It was warm enough to wear dry fit clothing and sandals, but I knew that wouldn’t last long. The storms roll in quick here and I knew we’d have to be off the water shortly after she rolled in. I wasn’t going to sweat my tail off in rain and cold weather gear all afternoon waiting on the storm, besides, it’s dark about 5pm right now anyway, so I figured I’d tough it out if the bite was good enough after the front.
I started off throwing T-rigged craws in flowing water with about 3’ visibility. I knew the bass would be holding shallow with the last few days being in the high 60s and low 70s (and the week prior we had near freezing nights and brisk days). This river had recently received a major flood and totally shifted the surface topography and stretches that were once 8-10’ deep were now plains of small rock and gravel no more than 4’ deep. But the plastics weren’t working. Not craws, creatures or worms. So I started burning a shallow depth square bill over rock flats. That was the ticket. Within minutes of throwing the dark redear sunfish crank bait I had my first fish of the day, a decent Largemouth. So I kept throwing it in the shallows until about 4:45pm and managed to catch some great bass, from tough Spotted toads to juvie Largemouths.
Every single bass was caught shallow and annihilated the crank as it bounced off the shallow rocks. The weathermen were dead right that the temperature was gonna fall quick, but they misjudged the time and by the time the sun was getting low, the clouds rolled in and I only missed about 15 minutes of fishing time.
My advice this time of year is to fish every pre-front you can, rain or shine. The bass know they need to feed when they can and the increased energy from a few days of warmth combined with falling pressures before a front trigger a feeding frenzy. Take advantage of their instinctual behaviors and you’ll enjoy fall and winter fishing as much as spring and summer.