Perhaps more than any other time of year, fall fishing can mean specific locations – specific structure that holds fish. As fish relate to deep structure, you really need to trust your electronics.
If there is a mistake many anglers make when fishing structure, that mistake would be fishing a spot versus fishing for fish. Whether you’re targeting walleyes or bass, deep rock structure in particular often will load up with fish in the fall, and you’ll need to mark them with your electronics.
You can fish in places familiar to you and catch fish, and previously good spots are worth trying, but I find I catch far more fish by looking over the location with my graph before I ever drop a line. To better mark fish on structure, move the boat up and down the structure so that you can better separate fish from the blind spot that occurs over an irregular bottom. When you mark fish, hit a waypoint. Once you have these waypoints, you can get to work.
Fall fishing over structure is often all about boat control, and luckily for today’s anglers, there are many tools that make boat control easier than ever. Simply pulling yourself up to the waypoint where you marked fish and hitting the “spot lock” or anchor feature on today’s bow-mount trolling motors is the simplest boat control there is, and this feature is deadly effective.
You can, however, step up your boat control even more by making tight and precise moves with the boat so that you pull your presentation past the fish at different angles. I often find that if I can’t get a specific fish to bite, I’m usually coming across the fish at the wrong angle. I often catch that fish by simply changing direction.
If your bow-mount trolling motor is struggling to hold in really strong winds, don’t be afraid to use your kicker motor or even auxiliary motor by having the rear motor in forward gear to aid the trolling motor on the bow. Of course, back-trolling with a tiller remains one of the best boat-control methods there is when you’re fighting really strong winds.
Vertically fishing specific structure, where you specifically target fish on your electronics, is deadly for fall bass and walleyes. Tungsten jigs give anglers a huge advantage when fishing deep water or when fishing heavy wind.
There are many presentations that will work for this vertical and precise fishing style. Live-bait rigging with chubs, for example, with a large egg sinker that fishes right below the boat is a great presentation for catching big walleyes. A heavy bottom bouncer and snell can also produce fish. Because of the lack of speed for this precise style of fishing, snells are typically plain, with perhaps a bead or float.
Of course, jigs shine with precision boat control, and the key to catching fish you see on your electronics regardless of presentation is simply keeping the presentation right below the boat in the cone angle of your electronics.
It does no good to keep your boat right on top of fish if your presentation is somewhere else. For precise jig fishing, where you’re attempting to mark a fish and hold the boat over the top of the fish, absolutely nothing beats the performance of tungsten. The added weight of tungsten increases performance dramatically, particularly when fishing in more than 20 feet of water or when fishing in wind.
By trusting your electronics and using boat control, you can increase your batting average dramatically by fishing fish versus fishing a spot.
In some cases, you can actually find your jig on your electronics and watch fish hit the jig. In that case, it’s much like what ice anglers enjoy when using electronics.
This fishing style is methodical and deadly, but in order for this system to really work, you have to trust your electronics enough to where you keep looking and keep hunting until you actually mark fish, because this fishing style is very slow. You don’t find fish by having a line in the water. You’ll find fish by simply looking over structure on your electronics.
Once you find fish, your chances of catching them goes up dramatically when you plant yourself over the top of them.
For more tips from Jason Mitchell check out the pages of Outdoor News or visit: jasonmitchelloutdoors.com