Guide Jeff Thomas of Broadway said that fall bass fishing is about to break loose on Jordan and Harris lakes south of the Raleigh-Durham area.
The fishing’s getting better each day,” he said. “At Jordan, bass are relating to wood in shallow water, and at Harris, if you can still find some shallow hydrilla, they will be in that stuff.”
Fall weather triggers threadfin shad to head toward the banks, and bass and other gamefish follow.
“The way the weather works here on fish is almost the exact opposite of spring, but the results are the same,” said Thomas (919-770-4654). “Instead of cold weather warming up to a trigger point in spring of 67 to 70 degrees to kick off the bass to move to shallow water, in the fall, the water temperature drops to make bass move out of deep water, and they start chomping again.”
When water temperatures fall to 70 or 65 degrees in the fall, the cooler weather triggers bass to go shallow in search of food. And this year, plenty of baitfish are at Jordan, Thomas said.
“You can almost walk across the lake on them anywhere you put in,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen more shad at Jordan than I can ever recall.”
One major difference in the spring and fall movements of bass to shorelines is the motivation, which to Thomas’ way of thinking makes fall a better time to fish for largemouths than spring.
“In the spring, they’re going shallow to spawn and do all that stuff,” he said. “In the fall, all they’re interested in doing is eating so they can survive what might be a really tough winter.”
Thomas said Jordan Lake’s 14,600 acres of water, fed by the Haw River and New Hope Creek, have been uncommonly clear all year, but that’s only affected his choices of lures.
“In Jordan the bass are relating to wood, mainly, and that’s always been their fall pattern,” said Thomas, who is fishing shallow-running crankbaits around stumps and downed trees instead of spinnerbaits.
“I like to hit the backs of creeks because that’s where shad go this time of year,” he said. “I’ve been trying to chase the wind a little, sitting a ways offshore and casting crankbaits to shallow water.”
Thomas said he’ll switch to a spinnerbait when the sky is cloudy and the surface is rippled by a slight breeze.
“But mostly I stick to the small crankbaits because I think they look like a small shad that’s injured,” said Thomas, who is fishing a bait that runs about 4 feet deep. “At Harris I throw one that’s a faded chartreuse color, not bright chartreuse.”
“The great majority of those fish are 2- to 2 ½-pounders, but every now and then you’ll get a 3- to 4-pounder,” Thomas said.