In November, the whereabouts of Shearon Harris Lake’s fat largemouth bass can cover an incredible range from shallow to deep, depending on water temperature.
But according to Josh Hooks of Apex, these chunkers will be following and feeding heavily on shad, regardless of their location, in an attempt to fill up before winter sets in.
If fall weather has been mild, shad are likely to be found in the shallower regions of creeks with bass nearby in the grass beds, primarily primrose or hydrilla.
“If the water temperature is still above 55, you can definitely catch bass up shallow,” Hooks said. “Anywhere you can find grass. I don’t think they’re as worried about the depth, as long as there’s vegetation. If you can find an edge where the grass stops, that’s usually a good place, or grass on a point. I like to fish the flats that have grass on them in the back of the creeks, too.”
When fishing grass, Hooks is looking for a reaction bite, which is dependent on fishing in the grass.
“When (your lure) hits the grass, it’s going to get fouled up, and you just rip it out,” he said. “You’re chunking and winding, covering as much water as possible. They’re not going to be stockpiled. I like to throw a Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe; it’s a smaller profile, lipless crankbait. Gold with the black back or purple are good colors.”
In colder water, shad will flee the shallows, prompting Hooks to back away from areas previously holding grass bass and target creek-channel bends and flats that dump into the creek channel. Relying on his electronics, he looks for areas holding large bait pods with bass nearby. Here, he casts a jigging spoon or crankbait, depending on depth.
“You can cast the spoon and hop it back to the boat,” said Hooks. “I like to do that because you can cover more water instead of having to be right on top of them. Basically, you just throw it out there and just rip it a foot or two off the bottom. But if they are suspended, you can get over top of them and vertical jig, adjusting accordingly to their depth. I just throw a chrome Hopkins spoon in a 1-ounce or ¾-ounce size without the bucktail. If they’re hanging on a ledge in 16 feet, you can catch them on a crankbait. But in 20 feet or more, I’d rather use the spoon.
“I like to fish shallow when they’re shallow that time of year because usually you can catch some real big ones, but I’ve also caught 9-pounders on a jigging spoon.”