October weather provides different opportunities
Few things rival a sunny October day when the breeze is southerly at just enough pace to ruffle the water and the bass are in the mood to play.
Two recent fishing trips help make my point.
Last Sunday and Tuesday dawned clear and crisp. Experience indicated there was no need to try to beat the sunrise over the boat ramp, so I agreed with fishing buddies Tyler Woak of Niles and Ted Suffolk of Canfield to meet mid-morning to give the sun time to warm the air and water.
A couple of degrees can make a huge difference in cold-water fishing, especially in the spring and summer. When the lake temperature is generally around 60 degrees, any areas that are 62 degrees (or warmer) will be more likely to hold fish that are apt to bite.
Tyler and I shoved off Sunday from the Mahaney ramp at Shenango. I pushed the BassCat’s throttle and hunkered down behind the windscreen to avoid the 40-degree blast of 60-mph air.
We settled down on a rocky shoreline at one of the several bridges that cross the lake and it only took several casts to connect with the morning’s first bass. The 16-inch smallmouth slammed my spinnerbait and bulldogged stubbornly at the end of my line before cartwheeling across the mirror surface.
It was the first of a half dozen Shenango bass that took our spinnerbaits and crankbaits. As the day warmed, the best fishing was on the breezy shorelines. A 3-pound largemouth was the day’s biggest fish in our mixed bags of smallies and bigmouths.
Tyler put a nice exclamation point on our trip with a dandy smallmouth that gulped his crankbait as it banged off an old stone foundation on a flat near a channel swing.
Moving baits were the ticket, as the bass were taking advantage of the abundant shad that move shallow at Shenango in October.
Two days later, Ted and I met up for a run at shallow water largemouth.
The fishing wasn’t fast and furious, but it kept us going for four hours as we worked a two-foot-deep flat with scattered patches of the last of the season’s coontail vegetation. Ted cast a boot tail swimbait rigged over a single spinner blade. I opted for a bladed jig with a boot tail swimbait as the trailer.
Both appealed to the 10 bass we boated during our mid-day outing. All of them were feeding fish that were zeroing in on yellow perch pushed around by the wind-driven current washing across the weedy flats.
Lots of good fishing days remain on our local reservoirs for anglers who know how to adjust for this time of the year. Sunshine, wind and water temperature all need to be taken into consideration as October counts down toward Halloween.
The bass, as well as crappies and walleyes, will almost always feed where the wind is pushing baitfish toward them. They also will prefer areas where the sun is beaming energy into water, though they might choose to lurk in the shadow of a stump, rock or other vertical cover.
And best of all, we need not be in a hurry to get on the lake, as the day’s action will peak when the sun is high in the sky.
Jack Wollitz’s book, “The Common Angler,” explores the fun stuff that makes fishing a passion for so many people. He appreciates emails from readers. Send a note to email@example.com.