Baitfish Equals Bass
In the fall bass school up under shad, and this is an excellent time to jig. The colder the water gets the better the jigging. Look for suspended shad with a depthfinder and the telltale marks of fish under them. If the fish are right on the bottom, drop your spoon to the bottom and work it up and down through them. Start with short six inch hops and let it fall on a tight line, Gradually increase the height of the jigging motion until the fish let you know what they want.
If the fish are suspended, get right on top of them and count your spoon down until it is just below the fish. Jig it up and down, raising it a little higher than the top of the fish and dropping it back to the lower limit. This is much more difficult than jigging on the bottom, but can pay off when the fish are not on the bottom.
Fish The Flats
Flats are good places to find bass in the fall. Look for smooth bottoms near the channel and work back and forth across it toward the shallows, searching for fish. Schools of bass often hold on flats waiting on shad to swim by, and other times they follow the shad. Fish under shad if you see them and fish directly in the schools of fish on the bottom when you spot them instead.
Brush on the bottom will hide fish, so jig in it even if you can not see fish. My biggest bass every on a jigging spoon, a 7 pound, 7 ounce beauty, came out of a brush pile at Lake Oconee. The water was 28 feet deep and I had been catching bass from it on worms. When they would not hit the worm, I dropped a spoon down and the big bass ate it. It was late June, not the time of year you normally jig a spoon, but it worked that day! A spoon with its exposed treble hooks seems a poor choice to jig in brush, but it is usually easy to jiggle it loose from any hang-ups. Let the weight of the spoon knock the hooks loose by twitching your rod tip up and down. Be ready for a strike while doing this, since a bass will often be attracted to the commotion.
Ridges and Humps
Ridges and humps are also good places to jig a spoon. Watch for fish on the bottom on the sides of the ridge, and get right over them. Also watch for bass suspended over deeper water, but even with the top of the hump or ridge. Those bass are not feeding but holding, waiting to move in. A spoon worked through them may be just the ticket.
Underwater timber is also a good place to jig. The fish may be suspended among the limbs of the tree or right at the base of it. Work the spoon up and down in front of them no matter where they are holding and you have a good chance of catching them. Look for them with your depthfinder or jig until you find where they are holding.
Channels Hold Fish
Creek channel edges are excellent spots to jig a spoon, especially in the winter. Often stumps and brush line the upper edge, and fish hold in it. Work all the channel edge but pay close attention to the outside bends of the channel. The bank will be slightly steeper there and the banks are often undercut, offering excellent hiding spots for fish. Work the upper lip and also drop your spoon to the bottom of the channel. This is how I caught the bass 57 feet deep a few winters ago.
Don’t be afraid to jig a spoon in shallow water. A few years ago in a Lake Sinclair tournament I was fishing a point at the mouth of a cove. I knew there was and old tree trunk lodged on the point and kept casting a crankbait trying to hit it. Suddenly I saw it appear on my depthfinder directly under the boat, only six feet down. I quietly picked up a spoon and dropped it down, bouncing it up and down all around the underwater log. A three pounder sucked it in and I set the hook and lifted the fish in the boat all in one motion.
Try jigging a spoon anywhere you think there might be a fish. The only way to go wrong is not to try!
For more on jigging spoons, check out my article on "How To Jig A Spoon" and the following:
Cold Water Fishing
More memories of catching cold water fish.
Winter Fishing Memories
Maybe some of the ways I have caught fish in cold water will help you this winter.
Late Fall/November Fishing Patterns
This is a good time to catch bass, crappie and hybrids in my area. Here are some good patterns to try.