UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

How to Rock Fall Largemouths

How to Rock Fall Largemouths
Casey Smith

When you think of fishing in the North in the fall you usually think of smallmouths, and that’s a smart way to think. But, it’s not the only way to think because green bass can be worth pursuing up north in the fall as well.

Hailing from Macedon, N.Y., Casey Smith has Great Lakes smallies within reach, but he’s also got phenomenal largemouth fishing virtually on his doorstep. With that in mind, it’s only natural that he’d want to dial in on a largemouth bite from time to time.

Smith's smallmouth umbrella rig secrets 

 

Casey Smith

When to go

Smith says that the best time for fall largemouth fishing happens after the first big cold snap, when the water finally drops below 60 degrees.  

“It’s definitely a narrow window when it’s best,” says Smith. “In September, the fishing stinks here. They start to spread out. The big schools people know about in the summer get busted up, and that lasts until the end of September. Then you have to hit that window from when that ends to when they stop feeding, and that’s pretty short.”

Basically, Smith says you want to hit the right window of cooling water that isn’t super cold. Unlike smallmouths, largemouths don’t really keep eating until the ice comes.

“They’ll bite down to like 47 or 48 degrees, but it starts to get tougher then,” says Smith. “Really, 50 to 60 degrees is your window. It’s the same in the spring; when it’s under 50 they’re very sluggish.”

 

Casey Smith

Targets to hit

One of Smith’s favorite ways to catch largemouths in the fall is to focus on pieces of hard cover that are in or around grass.

“The fish are moving toward hard stuff anyway for the winter. The grass is dying. They don’t want to be in it. So I just go right to hard targets,” says Smith. “They’re gonna sit there, be comfortable and school up. If it warms up a little bit you can go back to flipping the grass if you have some decent grass left, but with it cold you want to stay on that hard stuff.”

Casey Smith

Smith typically hits hard-bottom spots in the same depth range as the grass in the lake. On a lake like Cayuga he might fish hard targets anywhere from 10 to 20 feet deep. On a lake with less clarity and shallower grass he might focus in on the 10-foot range.

On a lake near his home, Smith has it super dialed, having found and marked a bunch of little rubble piles in the spring before the grass grew up. That sort of preparation is admirable and will undoubtedly pay off, but you don’t have to have a ton of sneaky hard spots marked.

“It could be one boulder or one vein coming off a flat or wood,” says Smith. “If that’s what you’ve got, or that’s what’s in the lake, it’ll work.”

 

Casey Smith

The technique

In the fall, Smith’s favorite bait is a 1/2-ounce tungsten Keitech Model 2 Football Jig with a small trailer such as a 3-inch Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw.

“It’s the fall, so it’s a little finesse and it’s an easier bait to eat,” says Smith of the jig. “It comes through the grass a lot easier than a bigger jig, too.”

Smith typically casts to his targets and works the jig along slowly once it is on the bottom. 

“I learned this on Guntersville. Back before I fished a lot of tournaments, I took a guide out there once, and he taught me that you could just shake a jig through the grass and it will work itself out,” explains Smith. “It helps it ease through there, and it doesn’t waste your cast if you aren’t in the sweet zone.”

On a calm day, Smith says a Ned rig is a good backup, but a drop-shot or a jerkbait could be a good alternative as well if the grass will allow. Regardless of the bait, Smith typically sticks with natural colors such as green and brown.

 

Casey Smith

You can smash

Though Smith most often chases smallies in the fall, he relishes the chance to target largemouths.

“Especially the last handful of years, the smallmouth fishing is so good that fishing for largemouth is hard to do,” says Smith. “But there’s a little tournament trail around here at the house, and sometimes you’ll get placed on lakes and maybe there’s a tough smallmouth bite going on. So, we’ll go flip grass or fish rock or something. And there’s one lake where a mixed bag always wins, so you have to keep them honest.”

Of course, he doesn’t mind that the largemouths are overlooked a bit.

“It’s here, it’s great, it gets absolutely no pressure, and it’s super fun when you hit the right lake at the right time.”

Tags: cayuga-lake  -casey-smith  -new-york  -largemouth  -fall  jody-white  tips-and-techniques 

Less Stress and More Fun

Less Stress and More Fun

After qualifying for the FLW Tour out of the FLW Series Northern Division for the second time in 2018, Slegona finally had the money lined up and hit the big leagues. So, he pointed his Tundra and Skeeter toward Texas in December to start an adventure that was a lifetime in the making. READ MORE »

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Make a Tiny Swimbait Your Winter Go-To

Wintertime and late fall fishing can be super fun, especially up north, when smallmouths are often fat and fairly grouped up. However, it’s not the time of year when you want a ton of rods on deck, and having a confidence bait or two is a must. For Casey Smith, the go-to winter weapon is super simple: a little bitty swimbait on a jighead. READ MORE »

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Miller Wins Wild Card on Kentucky Lake

Weighing limits of 15 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15-3 on day two, Michael Miller of Greenville, S.C., overcame a tough-fishing Kentucky Lake to win the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Wild Card and qualify for the All-American. READ MORE »

Olson Scouts Cumberland

Olson Scouts Cumberland

At just 19 years old, Lane Olson is fishing in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Were he from Alabama or Texas or any number of other southern states known for their bass fishing, that wouldn’t be too surprising. But Olson is schlepping all the way to Kentucky from Oregon, where he finished second in the Western Division Angler of the Year standings, missing out on the top spot by just one point. READ MORE »

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir. READ MORE »

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The Layout of Lake Cumberland

The ninth largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Cumberland is a perfect stage for the Costa FLW Series Championship. Home to all three bass species and over 1000 miles of shoreline, the lake can swallow up a big field with relative ease, and with the fall bite starting to pick up in earnest and the water level lower than usual, the fishing should be pretty good. READ MORE »

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

You can catch smallmouths on a lot of baits in the early fall, but one of the most consistent producers later in the year is a blade bait, and Scott Dobson is an expert with it. His go-to is the old-fashioned Silver Buddy, but he has some distinct preferences and tweaks for better success. READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

How Schmitt Targets Late-Summer Tidal Bass

As we’ve seen pretty much every year in the FLW Cup, which is usually held in the South, going way up creeks to find slightly cooler water is a productive pattern in the heat of late summer. The same strategy can pay off on tidal fisheries such as the Potomac River and James River as well, albeit with some tweaks for the situation. READ MORE »

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

If you were going to carry just one bladed jig, the ChatterBait Jack Hammer would be a great choice. But to say it’s the perfect ChatterBait for every scenario would be like saying ketchup is the perfect condiment for every food, or fluorocarbon is the only line you should use. Sometimes you need to opt for something just a little different to tackle a niche situation. As far as ChatterBaits go, there are a number of good options. READ MORE »