Old Man Winter is making his presence felt here in Southern Ontario. With just over a month remaining until our lakes and rivers begin to freeze, opportunistic bass are putting on the feed bag during this cold water period. Get in on the action. It's as easy as "doing the dunk."
The Dunk Explained
I explored a favorite section of the river this week. The water temperature was 58 degrees. Once temps drop below 60, a flipping stick and a willingness to dunk is a mainstay on my boat each fall.
Dunking is a fairly simple tactic. Short pitches of less than 10 feet, or simply dropping a bait vertically off the side of the boat, is all that is needed. These short pitches or dunks allows you to accurately present a bait to likely cover, while also affording you the ability to adequately pick and probe these high percentage spots.
Location is Key
One key aspect when searching for fall largemouth bass is the presence of green weeds. Look for these in the form of clumps or lines, either on the edge of a channel or immediately out from likely summer haunts. Largemouth bass will roam these still-fertile areas once the water cools, actively feeding throughout the day. In all likelihood they will also be schooled up.
Seek out the healthiest weeds you can find. The more vibrant of the green the more productive they will be.
In terms of depth, my most luck happens when I target water between 5 and 10 feet deep. This can differ depending on the lake but seems to be the rule when fishing the shallow, fertile waters that I do.
The Business End
Flipping jigs or plastic creature baits get the nod when it comes to this style of fishing. They can be worked through the vegetation effortlessly, offer a big prey profile, and are one of the most effective vertical baits out on the market.
When dealing with sparse cover, I generally reach for a flipping jig. Heavy clumps call for a Texas-rigged plastic bait. Team these up with a stout flipping stick and 60-pound braid.
Up Your Odds
Positive weather conditions can increase your bite percentage. Sunny days will let you visually key in on quality vegetation. Seeing what you are pitching to or dunking will allow you to work areas more thoroughly, spot cruising fish, as well as baitfish and transition zones.
Windless days are also the most effective for giving this tactic a go. Boat positioning improves greatly on calm days, and the ability to effectively work cover increases dramatically. Your body will also take less of a pounding, something that is even more uncomfortable when the mercury drops.
Get out there while the action is hot. It won't last long.