Ways to combat cool weather
Published 12:01 am Sunday, October 5, 2014
Saturday was a beautiful day to be on the water fishing, but catching was probably a bit difficult for most.
Today should be about the same as yesterday as far as the weather. The fish will slowly adjust to the conditions a couple days behind a cool front. The air temperature felt great Saturday morning, and probably will again this morning.
The bass and perch will wake up from the summer dog days as the water cools down. The fish will feed more during the daylight hours and not be so nocturnal like the fish were during the heat of summer when they fed more at night than during the daytime. I did not check the air temperature, but it had to be in the mid to low 50s before sunrise. As I have mentioned for many years from a lifetime of personal experience chasing game fish, high barometric pressure makes fish practically inactive, but you can trigger reaction strikes from non-aggressive fish. Repeated cast to the same area and sometimes a super slow retrieve behind a cool front with a clear skies and high pressure will trigger a strike. If that does not work, you can do the exact opposite with a fast retrieve and different lure. In fact, there are several things you can do to create a reaction strike. I do this with a jig first, sometimes. I cast past a cypress tree, let the jig sink to the bottom and work it fairly fast up to the root system. Once I feel that first root or brush pile, I put some controlled slack in my line and move my rod tip, twitching it back and forth to “knock” on the cypress roots making a lot of noise then continue a slow retrieve at least 10 feet out from the cypress roots or brush pile. It’s like the noise of the jig gets the fish’s attention, and they will hammer it, sometimes. Everything about a bass is “sometimes.”
Another thing that works well behind a cold or cool front is a crank bait. It is basically the same deal. Cast the crank bait well past the tree and run it up to the cover fast with a stop and go retrieve. What you are trying to do is make the lure bounce off the cover. Once the lure hits the cover and reflects off from it, stop your retrieve a few seconds then crank your reel handle fats and give the rod a hard pull. This erratic retrieve has helped me many times when bass fishing on these pretty, cloud free days.
The Mississippi River continues to live up to its reputation as the most unpredictable river in the states. We never get an early fall rise, but we did a couple weeks ago which surprised all us old veteran Old River anglers. The river at Natchez was down to about 18 feet which is high for the season. We are usually around 13- or 14-feet which land locks the live oxbows from the big river. We had a rise come down river that brought the level up from about 18 feet to 28 feet. The river crested at 28 feet, and now we are on a very slow fall which is perfect. If the predictions hold up, the Mississippi River stage at Natchez today is 21 feet even. By Wednesday, we could see a level of about 19 feet which is still high for the season but great for fishing.
While many people will now head to the woods, my favorite time of year to fish is fast approaching. The fall and winter seasons produce more fish for me than any other time of year.
Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.