Fall weather makes for good fishing

Published 12:03 am Sunday, September 9, 2012

It feels a lot like fall this weekend.

Officially the first day of fall is September 22, but I don’t think anyone will be disappointed that it came early. A cool front passed through the Miss-Lou yesterday.

We had some rain, wind and lower air temperatures. This feels great and this is just what we needed to improve the fishing.

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The past three months of heat and very little rain made fishing conditions extremely tough on the area lakes and rivers. That is about to change.

The wind is aerating the water — water that was becoming dangerously low in oxygen content. The surface water temperature that topped out in the 90s all summer will slowly begin to cool off.

It’s time to go fishing. Fall is a major transition month for fish.

No longer will we be limited to a short-lived, early-morning bite. As the water continues to cool, the shad will move toward the surface.

Of course where there are shad, the white perch and bass won’t be far away. Look for a lot of surface activity from now through early December.

For bass, think large surface lures like a 1/2 ounce buzz bait, a Heddon Zara Spook or any one of the many chuggers and poppers. Fishing surface lures is fun. You get to see the visual strike as well as the tail walking fight as a big largemouth bass tries to throw the hooks.

You can decrease the chances of losing a big bass on heavy surface lures with treble hooks by adding split rings to the hook hangers.

Just remove the hooks and slide them on a No. 3 or No. 4 spilt ring and reattach to the hangers. The fish will not have as much leverage to throw the heavy surface lure.

On most lures you need to change the hooks as well.

Stock treble hooks have come a long way over the years but some lures still have inferior hooks. The hook market is flooded with wide gap, extra wide gap and a host of different style hooks that will increase your strike-to-landing ratio.

I have tried many brands but have found none that work better for me than Excalibur’s rotating treble hooks and no they are not one of my sponsors. I have used these hooks for over 15 years.

New treble hooks hit the market frequently like the expensive KVD super-duper specials, but I have yet to find any other brand that works better for me than the Excalibur.

The holding power of these hooks comes from a twist in the curve of the hook. As the fish pulls the hooks rotate and dig deeper.

Sound painful? It is to humans, but fish feel no pain regardless of what PETA says. There are not many fishermen or ladies that spend a lot of time on the water that have not felt the pain of a treble hood buried in their skin.

Years ago I was known locally as the man to come to if you got stuck. I have removed dozens of hooks from fingers, hands, legs and arms. I would wrap a loop of fishing line around the hook curve and give it a quick yank and out the hook came.

I say used to because of a bad experience. I only remove them from myself now.

One year a couple of fishermen pulled along my boat on Deer Park. The man fishing from the bow of the boat had smacked the man on the front deck square in the middle of his back with a Rat-a-Trap on the outcast which buried the trebles really deep. They said someone told them I was the doctor on the water and ask if I could remove it…Sure.

I cut a hole in his shirt, since it was nailed to his back by the hook and wrapped the line around the hook bend. When you do this you can’t pull gently. I yanked hard. He went to his knees, and the hook didn’t come out. It made me hurt too. A small tear trickled down this grown man’s cheek, so I knew he was hurting.

The pull had opened the puncture enough to enable me to remove it, but I don’t do that anymore.

Fall is coming. Get your tackle and boat ready. Great things are about to happen on the water.


Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at fishingwitheddie@bellsouth.net.