Wait for cool weather to switch to fall patterns
For professional bass angler Brian Latimer, October is one of those months that can either fish like summer or fall, depending on that particular year’s weather. But he said this is the month when it usually transitions into fall on Lake Hartwell.
“Two things to look for when deciding when to start fishing fall patterns include the temperature and the photo period, or how long the sun is shining. And we can still experience scortching temps in the Carolinas this month. However, the photo period is definitely becoming shorter every day,” he said.
Latimer said when the air temperature and photo period both fall into autumn patterns, that’s when he begins fishing as if it’s fall.
“Don’t watch the calendar to look for the seasonal pattern. You’re going to watch the weather and the photo period. When those conditions push the bass off their summertime haunts, that’s when you need to consider your fall patterns. But the single most triggering factor is the weather patterns,” he said.
Basically, if it’s still hot outside, Latimer sticks to his summertime fishing patterns.
“And once it does turn into fall, that’s when I start targeting spotted bass and largemouth bass on Hartwell, which is a deep, clear lake,” he said.
At some point this month, Latimer will begin casting jerk baits, topwater lures, and drop shots. As for what areas he likes to target, he focuses on main lake humps, main lake brush, and main lake points.
Keep to the main
“And typically, I like to fish the longer, steeper points in the fall. I really like those points that come out to the river channel, intersect with the river channel, then drop right off into the river,” he said.
Jerkbaits are always a good bet.
“Jerkbaits imitate shad, and those type lures always dominate during the fall of the year here, because fish are typically feeding on shad,” he said. “Crankbaits, topwaters and small finesse lures all work great once fall weather hits.”
Latimer said this isn’t a good time of year to anchor down in a creek all day. Those humps, brush and points he targets are all on the main lake, or at least where creeks meet the main lake.
“This time of year, the fish disperse and don’t concenctrate in small areas like creeks. The majority of the fish – and this is true for any lake this time of year – are on the main lake, and in, or at least in close proximity to, the main river channel,” he said.
Latimer said some fish will certainly stay in creeks, even this time of year. But those numbers are small compared to what’s always on the move throughout the main lake.
“Cartainly, you have resident fish in this creek or that creek, at the upper dam and the lower dam. But they constitute a small number of the bass population. The majority of the fish are really spread out in the fall. So if you stay on the main lake, I think you give yourself a better chance of connecting with those migration routes and the bass using them,” he said.