Fishing: Pros share fall lures, tricks

In late August and on into mid-October, the bass fishing patterns begin to change and the bass fishi

In late August and on into mid-October, the bass fishing patterns begin to change and the bass fishing gets better in lakes and rivers, and this is especially true in the Northeast.

However, it can be even better when you make the right lure choices, and who better to help with these choices than three touring bass professionals who have become millionaires catching bass, and one local angler who spends at least three to four days a week on the water during the soft-water seasons.

Arkansas pro Mark Rose has won six Forrest L. Wood series tourn­aments and is an expert when it comes to shallow-water bass fishing. His go-to bait in the fall is the Shaky Head Worm. He likes to skip this lure in shady areas like under docks, overhanging trees and any other low-hanging and underwater structure where bass tend to hide. The key is to let the bait fall and then shake the worm. This is one bait that can be cast, where the others can’t.

There are several retrieves that Mark uses with the shaky rig. The choice depends on the structure and water depth. Using two hands, one on the rod and one on the reel, he lightly shakes the bait two or three seconds after it hits the bottom, using only the rod tip.

If the fish biting are small, Mark doesn’t leave this cover, he switches to a Kevin VanDam plastic frog and fishes the shady areas on top of the water. Bigger bass will be attracted more to the frog than to a shaky head worm. He recommends the frog during the late summer and this time of year, especially on busy lakes (Saratoga) to seek out the backwater areas.

New Jersey’s Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, a popular professional angler, is a 13-time Bassmaster Classic qual­ifier, winning one in 2003, and has a combined bass tournament earning in excess of $2.5 million. He’s also a Bassmaster Lake Champlain tourn­ament winner.

Like many of the top pros, Mike relies on crankbaits for what is called power fishing, covering a lot of water in a short period of time, and at that level, time is money. For those who only may have limited time to fish, it means more time catching than just fishing.

Crankbaits come in a number of shapes and actions, all of which he uses, but at different times. For waters temperatures 60 degrees and above, he prefers wide wobbling crankbaits, especially around wood cover. His favorites are Bagley’s Divin’ B series, Poe’s hundred series, Mann’s Plus series and Fat Free Shads.

For temperatures from 45-60 degrees, especially around weeds, he likes a tight wobble. His choices here are Rapala Shad Rap and Risto Rap, Cedar Shads, Bomber As, Rat-L-Traps and Norman N Baits.

He has three basic color schemes: shad imitating in pearl, white, silver and chrome; Perch/sunfish imit­ating colors like chartreuse with black backs, brown and chartreuse and firetiger; and lastly crawfish imit­ators in brown, orange, black and blue mixes.


Edwin Evers of Oklahoma, who won the Bassmaster NY Lake Erie/Niagara River tournament, is also a crankbait fisherman. Evers says “crankbaits will catch anything that swims.” However, he has a little addition to this wiggle bait that can entice a bite even more. He rigs a shallow running crankbait on a three- to four-foot leader with a three-way swivel and then a jig on a one- to two-foot leader. Then he casts the rig and uses a stop-and-go retrieve. When the crankbait hits underwater structure, he increases the retrieve speed which imitates prey trying to escape, and the bass will attack it.

The final angler, who used to fish weekend regional and local bass tournaments, has been fishing for 60 years. This angler (me) use to have just about every lure made as well as some I made himself. But about 20 years ago, I was introduced to something new by a good friend — the wacky worm — and within the next few decades, it slowly became my “only lure.” Not a good idea I know, but it has never let me down. However, over the years, I’ve learned to rig it a bit differently, depending on the type of structure and sometimes the angler.

Now, fishing the weightless wacky worm in deep waters can be difficult getting to the fish because it takes a while for it to get down into the strike zone. If you add a bell sinker about eight to 10 inches beneath the hook and worm, it will get down to the bottom. Then using the rod tip, you can add a jiggling motion to the worm. This same rigging can be used for fishing sunken weeds in deep water by regulating the depth of the wacky worm to be just above the tops of the weeds.

Last September, I had a 6-year-old in my boat, who, using his Spider-Man rod and reel outfit, landed his first largemouth bass on the wacky worm, but not in the traditional way. His method was to cast it out, and when it hit the water, he would begin to retrieve it. And it was on this retrieve that the bass hit the worm. It was a fun battle with his dad holding the youngster’s belt and the young angler reeling. I hand-lined the bass in.

The last version of wacky worm fishing, learned from Tim Blodgett of Saratoga Tackle, is to fish it beneath a bobber. He said he used to do that when his daughter was young. All you have to do is twitch it every once in a while. I have tried it on the Hudson River in Schuylerville with several young anglers this year, just dragging it behind the boat, and they caught fish.

Add these lures to your tackle box, use these techniques and catch more bass this fall.


The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation (GSLFF) will host its 11th Annual Fall Fishing Contest from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 8 with all measuring and award present­ations scheduled for the Sport Island Pub on Riverside Drive Boulevard, Northville.

The four fishing categories are bass, walleye, pike and trout, and the top three fish caught in each category, determined by inches, will pay $275, $125 and $50, respectively. The entry fee for those who pre-register will be $25 and includes a 2013 GSLFF membership. Click here for an application or call Jack Smith at 863-4271 or Randy Gardinier at 848-7248.

Categories: -Sports

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