The late summer early fall transition is here and its no time to fish chicken! The water will begin to cool, the trout and salmon will start getting planted, the baitfish will begin to surface and all the bass want to do is feed and prepare for winter.
We all know that fall is one of the best times to fish reaction baits and cover water looking for active fish. One of the most over looked patterns in the fall is fishing deep with reaction baits and reaction techniques while looking for fish feeding on the surface. So how do you fish deep and keep a fast pace while looking for active fish? Simple take your standard deep techniques and add weight plus speed!
My absolute favorite way to fish in that 20’ to 40’ foot zone and move at a good pace is a 3/4oz TNT Baits M-80 jig. Yes a jig is not your traditional reaction bait but when you fish a heavy jig very aggressively with a lot of movement you have just made a reaction bait out of a typical bottom dwelling lure.
Start looking for the points at the mouths of creeks and large coves, fish the tops of the points with a topwater bait until you find active fish on top or locate bait with fish on the graph. Once you find the bait and the right kind of points reposition the boat and throw that heavy jig up on the point and start hopping and swimming it down the point banging it into anything you can trying to create that reaction bite. In the fall it’s very hard to fish the 3/4oz TNT jig to fast! Just lift it up with short sharp snaps and let it bang back into the bottom, swim it through the deep bait balls and let it fall right through them. Just keep it moving!
Fishing the jig fast in deep water gives you another tool to keep on the move in the fall while always looking for the schools of better fish. It is a great complement to the topwater and traditional reaction baits like spinner baits and crankbaits that cover the upper water column. Now use the M-80 jig to reaction fish in the lower water column.
I do recommend a good sensitive fast action rod with good length to fish those depths and still move enough line to get positive hooksets. I prefer the Dobyns DX784C ML with a high speed reel spooled with 12lb Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon. The reel is important because you need to be able pick up slack line quickly when you get bit and keep tension on the fish till the rod is in full load. Seaguar fluorocarbon is important because during the fall draw down our reservoirs are clear and the fish get spooky but you still need a strong line to hold up to the hook sets and rocks, plus the sensitivity Seaguar Invizx offers is huge plus you want to be able detect those soft bites in deep water.
Get some heavy TNT M-80 jigs and go bang them around! Good luck!