Fall, The Season for Fishing

Fall, The Season for Fishing

Matthew Davies image of a man fishing from the water.

When summer winds down and the trees begin to don their colorful fall foliage, many anglers, in turn, -hang their fishing gear up to dry. What a lot of them don’t realize is that fall is a fantastic season for fishing. Matthew Davies loves to go fishing in autumn. Why? The fish are on a race to pack on the pounds for winter, which means plumper fish to eat. Let’s look at fall fishing and why it’s such a great time to be on the water.

The Season of Large Fish Has Arrived

Fishing, in a lot of people’s minds, is a summer or winter sport. The bitter cold of winter has never been my favorite time of year to be out in the open. The wind is cold; the spray of the water is icy. Fingers are cramping on the reel. Summer has incredible sun-kissed warmth, that can be too warm sometimes. There is a lot of traffic on the water with vacationers taking their boat out on the lake. The piers are lined with anglers trying their luck. It is a great time to socialize and swap advice, but the picking are slim and the risk of tangled equipment is ever-present.

Fall, with its gorgeous and colorful landscape, on the other hand, offers some of the best fishing I have ever experienced. Water traffic drops to almost exclusively commercial after Labor Day. With the kids back in school, a lot of beachgoers are no longer present. The piers are quieter. And the fish are hungry.

Fall has the same effect on water plants as it has on trees and flowers. The colder water temperature and diminished daylight affect their growth, and some will start to die out, limiting the food supply for grazing fish. Hiding spots are fewer and farther between, making the predators more active and ready to bite at almost anything.

The fish feel the effect as well. Their biological clock tells them to start packing on the pounds to ensure survival during the slim picking winter months.

Is it Time for a New Fishing Spot?

Fall, like spring, is a season of significant change. As the water cools and vegetation becomes scarce, the fish will pick up their tiny suitcase and move to warmer and greener pasture. Knowing when to move and find a new fishing spot is critical. A large amount of decaying vegetation on the shore is a good indicator that picking will be slim. It is now time to locate a new area to fish in. Look for river mouths and harbors. As the baitfish find new grazing areas, predators will follow. Keep an eye out for congregation of aquatic birds, like seagulls and cormorants. They will betray large feeding areas where you will find a nice mix of grazers and predators. Move in as quietly as you can and cast your bait on the outskirts of the fray. Try using a lure that looks like the baitfish you think is being targeted. Surface and sinkers will work well here, as, in the confusion of the feeding frenzy, your bait will look like a delicious morsel.

When vegetation is scarce, you will also find that a multitude of baits that were seemingly unlucky in the warmer season is now getting hits again. With food becoming a bit scarcer, predators will deem anything that moves within their sight as a dinner bell. Your frogs and spinnerbaits will, all of a sudden, start to take a beating.

You will begin to see a pattern emerge and fish behaviors will start to become more predictable. Underwater structures, such as a sunken island, the edge of deep vegetation or rock piles, will hold a good mixture of fish. The game is now starting to shift, requiring patience and skill.

As temperatures cool even more, it will become necessary to switch your gear up a little bit. Using scented bait will increase you bite chance exponentially, especially in colder water. In colder waters, predators will be just as hungry, but your bait movement will need to entice them to take the bait. Practice your jerking movement in a clear pool if you have access to one. Removing the hooks or putting soft corn on your hooks will prevent damage to a pool liner as you practice mimicking a natural moving bait. The jerk bait pull is intended to mimic a dying baitfish. The way to mimic this is a soft pull, followed by a pause between three to ten seconds. Remember, the fish is struggling. A quick jerk on your bait will result in an unnatural movement.

Once the water has dipped to frigid temperatures, anything below 40, stillness will now become your friend. If you have ever witnessed ice fishing, you will understand what I mean here. When temperatures dip near, aquatic life tends to slow down exponentially. Using a fish finder, identify high fish areas and cast, sit back and relax. A small bell at the end of your line will be a great help in this season, as you will find the musical tinkle of the bell a pleasant warning that you have a fish on the end of your line. You will find yourself spending more time admiring the breathtaking beauty of nature than actively fishing. Enjoy the relaxing rocking of the waves, the soft murmur of nature slowly winding down for winter and the natural beauty of your surroundings.

As a final bonus, fall fishing has fewer pestering bugs! If fall isn’t bliss, I don’t know what is.

Matthew Davies’ favorite fishing season is by far autumn, as the weather is excellent, the fish are bigger, and – with ever-changing fishing conditions – the sport the sport offers a greater challenge during fall than during any other season of the year. Finding the right spot offers an exhilaration that will make a few hours of quiet well worth the wait.

We hope you will find these tips and tricks to be helpful as you adjust your strategy to suit the conditions as they continue to change. We wish you happy fishing and a freezer full of fish for the winter months.

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