Get the Point, for Fall Smallmouth

By Dave Duwe - September 1, 2006
Just because it's after Labor Day, that doesn't mean that it's the end of the fishing season. My best months for smallmouth bass are September and October. The shorter days and cooler nights bring the suspended main lake smallmouth bass back to their rocky haunts. This time of year I prefer points; main lake rocky points. The lake I fish most of the year is Lake Geneva in SE Wisconsin. Lake Geneva is a very deep lake with a lot of gravel and rock. Rock is a perfect place to find crayfish; which is a primary food source for the smallmouth bass.

The points I like are where the water comes from the deepest portion of the lake. For example, Lake Geneva has a couple places where the depth goes from 100' to 2' very quickly. These kinds of areas can produce 40-50 fish in a short period of time. I use two methods for fishing this time of year. One is dragging jigs and the other is Carolina rigging. Both are very effective ways to fish a lot of water quickly.

The first method dragging jigs is a method of pulling a football head jig and a spider grub along the bottom to mimic a crayfish. Depending on the water depth I use a 3/8 oz or ½ oz All Terrain Tackles Jim Moynagh's rock jig. www.allterraintackle.com These jigs have a very thick paint finish which makes them ideal for dragging the bottom. To fish these you want to make a long cast and the retrieve is drag, pause, drag again. You must vary the pauses to see what the fish like. I like to keep the tip of the rod near the surface of the water. It allows you better contact with the bottom. I usually rig a 7' pole, medium heavy, with 14-20lb Silver Thread. The 7' fishing pole will allow you to retrieve the slack line quickly and to give a powerful hook set. Though the bite can be violent, most of the time it is very subtle and will feel "just different." You need to watch your line for the fish that just pick up your jig and swim away with it. Once you catch one, you'll figure out the pattern. If your jig becomes snagged, one only needs to jiggle the rod tip and most of the time the jigs weight will allow it to be freed. The grub I use is an Arkie Crawlin' Grub. You need to experiment with the color to see what the fish are interested in.

Caroline rigging is another method I love to use to cover a lot of water. When I Carolina rig, I always use a 7' Quantum fishing rod with heavy action. The longer rod again like the jig fishing can gather back a lot of line and aid in hook setting. The main line in Carolina rigging is at least 17lb test. In the clear water of Lake Geneva, I like using 10lb leader. For those who don't know what a Carolina rig is, it is a sinker (I prefer either an egg sinker or bullet weight, at least ½ oz) a glass bead, a swivel, an 18-24 inch leader with a 2/0 worm hook. The bait I prefer to use is either an Arkie Crawlin' Grub or Zoom 6" lizards. Green pumpkin or pumpkin seed colors produce most of my action on Lake Geneva.

Point fishing is awesome in fall. The fish are schooling at this point and I have literally caught a fish every cast on a main lake point. The schools are very big. The key to the whole deal is finding where the fish are positioned. Some days they are right on the tip, and other days they are within a couple feet of shore. One must experiment to find their exact location. A good graph like a Vexillar Edge 3, which I use, is ideal for determining the location of the schooling fish.

Get the point, fishing can be the best in September and October. While other people are hunting and the pleasure boaters are gone, some of the best fishing of the year can be had on area lakes. Look for the rocky points for the best success.

Author Dave Duwe
Dave Duwe
Full-time guide Dave Duwe owns and operates Dave Duwe's Guide Service, featuring the lakes of Walworth County, WI. Dave has been guiding for over 20 years and is one of Southeastern Wisconsin's best multi-species anglers. Dave is an accomplished outdoor writer and seminar speaker. He is a member of the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association and Walworth County Visitor Bureau. Sponsors include: Lund Boats(Jerry's Sport Service Inc.), Mercury Marine, Arkie Jigs, and Vexilar Marine Electronics, a pro-staff member of Minn-Kota trolling motors,Hummingbird graphs, Cannon downriggers, Lindy, Pure Fishing and All Terrain Tackle. For more information, please check out Dave's website www.fishlakegeneva.com .