Oct. cold fronts have arrived

Published 12:03 am Sunday, October 7, 2012

The October cold fronts are here.

This month fishes much like late February and March only in reverse. Instead of fish moving shallow to spawn as the water warms in the spring, the fish will move shallow to feed on the shad as the shad move shallow to spawn.

Shad spawn at least twice a year if not more. Game fish, of course, eat shad. The fall shad spawn is a great time to be on the water but, like spring fishing, your success may depend on which side of a cool front you fish.

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Of course the best time to go fishing is when you can. If you don’t have the luxury to pick the days you fish, you just have to adjust to the conditions. These early fall cool fronts won’t affect the fish as much as severe winter and spring cold fronts.

This is about the only time of year when fishing behind a front, like a day after when the wind blows, that you can have a fair day of bass and perch fishing.

The water temperature of the lakes and rivers continues to drop at a snail’s pace. From late August through today the surface water temperature has only dropped about 10 degrees. That may not sound like much, but a 10-degree drop in water temperature will bring new life to the lakes and rivers.

What really helps is the fact we’re coming out of an extremely hot summer that gave us an average water temperature of approximately 92 degrees. Today I would guess the water to be approximately 80 degrees.

A cool front is coming through today. Saturday would have been the day to be on the water but today could be good as well. The air pressure is not real high. As long as the barometric pressure stays at a reasonable level, the fish will feed.

Watch for surface activity and keep the sonar going. Those huge balls of bait fish that were suspended over deep water anywhere from 12 to 20 feet down are now moving toward the surface.

If you notice shad flickering about on the surface, fish the area hard. There will be game fish around somewhere. If not, come back later.

October is a great month for surface lures when targeting largemouth bass. There is nothing better than watching a big old bass blow up on a top water lure.

The early morning bite will always be there this month regardless of the passage of numerous cool fronts. It’s more about surface water temperature and the location of bait fish than air pressure in October.

It would certainly help the surface bite to have heavy cloud cover, but it’s not necessary. There are so many ways to catch bass during the fall it would confuse a newcomer to the sport. Everything will work this season. Surface lures, bottom lures and crank baits that cover all depths will catch fish during the fall.

This is the time of year bass anglers can fish the lures they have confidence in and do well.

In other fishing news, we thought the Mississippi River stage would at least rise to 14 feet at Natchez. The river came close to that level today at 13.7. It looks like we’ll see 13.8 on Monday and steady level for a few days that will probably be followed by a fall.

The catfish are moving out of the deeper holes as the gizzard shad and skip jack move up. The river anglers I keep up with were catching catfish out of 50 to 60 feet of water. This past week they were doing real good in 15 to 25 feet. The move to shallow water will continue as the river cools off.


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