Brush piles are keys as the peak of fall bass fishing approaches
September is the month when all that work you did back in January and February pays off. All those days on lakes, some drawn down for the winter, lashing limbs and small trees to cinder blocks and dropping them along contour breaks and channel drops, will be worth it.
September begins brush pile season for bass fishermen. Brush piles have been the ticket this month as long as I can remember, anywhere I go. I don’t know why, but September is the month to start fishing brush.
Now, is September a great fishing month? Most bass fishermen would agree that it’s a tough month, because fish are in transition. I’ve always liked fishing in September, but you’ve got to realize you’re probably not going to catch a heavy stringer. Baitfish are just starting to move back into creeks for the fall, and bass are starting to follow, but they’re scattered. By the end of September, the fishing will be real good, and October will be great, but at least the first couple of weeks of September, it’s tough.
Video game bass
Back when we used flasher units, it used to be tough to find brush piles, even ones you put in yourselves. You’d have to idle around an area, try to line up things on the bank, maybe find it on your flasher, maybe find it with your crankbait. Now, with these units we have, like my Lowrance ActiveTarget, you can see ’em 70 feet away. Pull up, and there it is. That’s what fishing has become: a video game.
There won’t be fish on every brush pile just yet. You might fish 50 and not get a bite, then get 20 pounds off the next one. I’ve caught two or three fish off a brush pile on a crankbait, then they’d slow down, and I’d change to something like a jig or a big worm and try to catch a couple more.
I’m going to start out around Labor Day fishing the main lake and the mouth of creeks. I’m looking for contour breaks. By the end of September, in the creeks, they’ll be on channel breaks, but early in the month, they’re on contour breaks. Long points with contour breaks are really good spots. A hard bottom makes it even better.
When you’re fishing brush, a crankbait is a deadly tool. I fish them year-round, but they’re really good in the fall. I’m going to be looking for brush from 10 to 22 feet deep, so I’m breaking out a Dredger 14.5 to 25.5, depending on how deep I find them. September and October colors are cream pie, which is the old “carp” color, bonehead, honey shad, lone ranger and even homer — the good shad colors. You have to experiment a little bit, but cream pie is usually the ticket.
I fish them on a 7-foot-6, Lew’s David Fritts cranking rod with a BB1 or BB1 Pro reel spooled with 10-pound Sensation, a low-stretch monofilament. Make a lot of casts to a brush pile from a lot of different angles. It might take a while to find the angle that they want. One thing to remember is, in the fall, bass want baits that are falling down to them. That’s why jigs and big worms are good. If you could get a lipless bait like a Warpig down to them, it would be great, but they’re bad to get hung up in brush.
Move to creeks
So you fish the main lake and the mouth of the creeks, maybe a little bit into the creeks, the first three weeks of September. Then, all of the sudden, you’ll start seeing shad come up in the creeks, and the fish will be on ’em. So by the last week of September, I might be fishing from the middle of the creeks all the way back.
I think a bunch of those bass all go back at the same time. I think there are probably some that live there all the time, and they just bite better. Whatever, it’s a big migration. When you go up north, to those lakes that have smallmouth and largemouth, there’s a big migration into the creeks where the water is warmer and where they overwinter.
Especially when the bass get back in the creeks, you’re looking for the depth they’re holding and the brush. If you know where enough brush piles are, at different depths, when you get them figured out, you can just make a little milk run from brush to brush. Here’s one thing about catching them in the creeks; they’re a little easier to find with your bait and not your electronics. When they get on those slopes, they’ll get right on the bottom where you can’t see ‘em as well with your electronics. But they’ll bite.
And they can act different in the morning and afternoon. You might fish the best brush pile you’ve got in the morning and catch nothing, and come back in the afternoon and catch 20 pounds. These fish go up and down, in and out, and if you fish enough spots, you’ll run into them.
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