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Get Ready for Fall Fishing

By Bob Jensen - September 1, 2007
“Get ready for fall fishing”. That sounds kind of premature, but now is a good time to get ready to get after the really big fish, and the really big fish bite in the fall. So do the small and medium-sized fish. Everything bites in the fall, and the other benefits of fall fishing are pretty hard to overlook also. The weather can be beautiful, colors on trees are vivid, and often you’ll have the lake to yourself. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re ready when fall fishing arrives.

Fall BassMake sure you have fresh line on your reels. You don’t need to go stronger; you just need to make sure it’s fresh. If you’ve fished all summer without changing line, you need to re-spool. Line that’s been pulled across rocks and through weeds all summer is going to get nicked, and you don’t want nicked line between you and a really big fish.

Although our chances for hooking into a big one are perhaps best in the fall, you don’t usually need to increase line strength. Go with a line that allows you to most effectively present a bait. If you do a lot of jigging, six pound test Trilene Sensation is a great choice. It’s ultra-sensitive yet has outstanding knot-strength. It’s what you want when Mr. Big bites.

Do some research. Visit tackle shops and see if you can learn the names of some lakes that have a history of producing big fish. You probably already have your favorites, but it doesn’t hurt to learn about other opportunities.

Once you learn about a new lake that you’d like to try, get a good map of that lake. Find the areas on the lake that you think would be good spots to try. Remember, good fall spots are different than good spring areas. In the fall, the fish will often be found near deep water. On the day you hit the water, they might be shallow, but they will probably be near deep water. Locate areas with fast drop-offs and you’ll probably be near big fish.

Make sure you have a supply of bigger-than-ordinary baits. If the largest largemouth bass you’ve ever caught is the quarry, go with a big Power Worm. A seven incher will get more bites and a lunker will eat it, but if you’re just interested in a trophy, a ten inch Power Worm will increase the odds of getting the biggest one to bite.

If walleyes or smallmouth are what you want, it’s tough to beat a Roach Rig and redtail chub. A six inch, maybe even bigger, redtail is in danger every time it enters the walleye or smallmouth zone.

"Do some research..."
Make sure your landing net is in good condition. Big fish break wimpy nets, and then the big fish gets away. Don’t go on the water with an inferior net, especially in the fall. Frabill Power Catch nets are the toughest nets out there. Don’t risk losing a big fish because you were under-netted.

Fall is when the true trophies are most susceptible. If you’re ready to catch them when they’re ready to bite, you’ve increased your odds of catching that once-in-a-lifetime fish.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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