James Watson, you know this guy from both the FLW Tour, Bassmaster as well as Major League Fishing and most recently was part of the 2017 USA Bass Team that competed in the 13th Black Bass World Championships that was held in South Africa, truly making this man, Mr. Worldwide!!
But for this On the Front Deck, James got together with Michael Coleman from RBBASS and shared some insight on fall fishing.
The fall is really my favorite time of year to fish and there would be five rods I’d have on the deck of my boat during this time of year.
- First, I’d have a 7’ 6” Waft Flipp’n stick with 50 to 65lb braid on a Bass Pro Johnny Morris reel and I’d throw a River2Sea whopper plopper to start off with.
- Then I’d have a 7’ 6” Waft Flipp’n stick with 20lb Maxima Fluorocarbon with a little jig to flip around the docks or anything else I came across up on the bank.
- The third set up I’d have is a 7’ 2” Waft heavy action rod with 20lb Maxima mono-ultra green with a Jimmy Houston legend spinner bait tied on, which I would burn through the water.
- The fourth set up will be a 7’ medium action Waft rod with an RC2 square bill crank bait with 15lb mono–ultra green.
- The last rod would be a 7’ 6” crank bait rod with 10lb Maxima mono–ultra green with a Luck E Strike G5 crank bait tied on. This bait is basically the old Wiggle Wart.
Starting spots for fall: In the morning I prefer to start on gradual sloping pea gravel banks that slope into rockier ledge rock pockets. I’d start there with either the Whopper Plopper, which I have made a lot of money on throwing or the G5 crank bait and from there would look for the wind the rest of the day. Look for the wind that’s blowing in and if that does not work, I’d transition to bluffs throwing a spinner bait, which during the fall can be a great place to start and technique to use.
Now, the cool thing about where I’d be starting is these places throughout the day attract a large amount of shad, schools of shad. There’s two ways to look at shad this time of year, you can look at the big schools of shad that are roaming the backs of creeks and pockets that later in the day the sun gets up and they get to flickering, which then will have the bass start to come through and push those shad around. This is a great time to throw a spinner bait and let that fall down through them to catch bass. Another thing I like to do during the fall is key on watching for the gizzard shad, look for big 12-15-inch gizzard shad that get spooked from your trolling motor. When you see them come from the bank or back of a pocket, there’s going to be a good chance the bass are going to be around. The bass like to eat those big gizzard shad so it’s key to pay attention to the bait. This will be where your spinner bait or whopper plopper come into play.
Look for the wind. The slick days during the fall can make it harder to catch fish. You need a break on the water surface to direct bass up to the bank or the bait up to the bank, which the bass will follow. The wind will also give bass security and allow them to run the bank and chase and eat bait. Think of it like looking through a frosted window instead of a clear window, a disturbed surface is going to make the bass feel more comfortable and at the same time stir things up, which translates into the bass chasing those shad.
Although I really love throwing the Whopper Plopper, the R2S Bubble Walker is going to be a player for me as well. This bait is going to be good if I’m faced with calmer water conditions.
You can really get out there and have a lot of success fishing in the fall. Find and follow the shad and the bass will not be far behind.
We found out that James is going to do something pretty special in 2018. James will be donating $2.50 for every pound of fish he catches during the FLW Tour as well as in Major League Fishing, to the Shriner’s Hospital for children. A great gesture by a great guy! RBBASS wishes James much success in 2018 and beyond.
Follow James on his angler page, Facebook, FLW and MLF:
James was born in Aurora Missouri and now resides in Springfield Missouri. He started fishing as a young boy watching his father fish tournaments both locally and regionally, so he got the bug at a young age and that carried that into his adult life. Shortly after graduating high school, Watson enlisted as a soldier in the U.S. Army, where he quickly established himself as a leader and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He was also a combat training Drill Sergeant for two years. He served in the Army until 2001 and then opened a realty franchise where he had great success. He was fishing as an FLW co-angler in 2009 where he would earn a trip to the Forrest Wood Cup. In 2010 James made the move to the front of the boat and fished as a pro while juggling fishing and his real estate business. In 2013 James’ business partner told him to quit answer phone calls and hit the road fishing full time. Since that time James has fished some small circuits and then into a full time FLW touring pro. From that point on he has been fortunate to make a living promoting product and catching bass. He has brought his business skills to the fishing industry which has been a proven asset when it comes to promoting sponsors and understanding the importance of the business side of the fishing industry.
James would like to thank all of his sponsors:
Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, Luck E Strike, Simms, Costa, Lowrance, TH Marine, War Eagle, Cal Coast Fishing, Power Pole, Maxima fishing line, Uranus Fudge Factory, RPM, The O Wacky Tool, Bass Pro Ships, Balls Deep Tackle, Hughes Custom Baits, Everett Chevrolet, Waft USA, River2Sea and Swagger Tackle Co.
Story by Randy Walker