Shad: The Key to Unlocking Fall Bass - Bass Fishing Forums - The Bassholes
Tuesday Night Chat - Every Tuesday at 8:30pm. Come Join the Fun!
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 10-27-2011, 07:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 11,455
Default Shad: The Key to Unlocking Fall Bass

Shad: The Key to Unlocking Fall Bass
With longer nights and cold fronts, the leaves begin to turn, the waters cool and the fish move shallow

By Gene Gilliland
Oct 27, 2011

Fall is upon us. With longer nights and cold fronts, the leaves begin to turn, the waters cool and the fish move shallow. One predictable pattern this time of year is the migration of shad into the creeks ... and the resulting bass feeding frenzy!

Anglers can take advantage of this pattern to locate actively feeding bass and quickly fill a limit. Schools of bass are often easily found, and lipless crankbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and topwaters will all catch them now.

But what is really going on with these shad? Why do they move into the creeks? What anglers observe is only part of the food chain dynamic. To understand it you have to look closer or in this case smaller to see what is driving the migration.

Shad are mostly filter feeders that eat primarily phytoplankton and zooplankton and cruise in huge schools, often traveling many miles in search of plankton-rich water. They roam the vast open areas looking for food. Early in the year, as rains and runoff bring nutrients into the lake, sunlight and warming water temperatures cause plankton blooms in the lake's open waters.

As summer gives way to fall, nutrients in the main lake are depleted and temperatures decline, putting a damper on plankton growth. In the shallow coves and creeks however, the last warm, sunny days can cause quick warm-ups, and the plankton can continue to bloom. Shad schools, which may include larger older fish from previous years and small juvenile shad that were spawned in late summer, migrate into the creeks in search of food.

This sudden influx of prey appeals to opportunistic bass. While they will usually not travel miles and miles following a school of shad, those that are resident in an area will certainly take advantage of the prey that swims into their home territory.

You can find bass in predictable locations in the fall. These are ambush points where the resident bass regularly feed. But now, with the increased number of shad schools roaming their creek or cove, opportunities for bass to utilize these prime feeding locations go up.

Keep in mind, however, that the old adage of "find the shad and you will find the bass" does not always hold true. There are millions of shad, far more than there are bass. Schools of baitfish do not guarantee bass will be present. There is very little that is truly random about bass feeding patterns. Bass have a home range and will seldom travel far to find food, especially if the food is coming to them. The challenge is to locate the spots that give predators a feeding advantage as the schools of shad cruise through the area.

There is a flip side to this fall migration pattern that you should not ignore. Gizzard shad, especially larger ones that trophy bass like to eat, are often benthic feeders. That is, they graze on the organic goop that coats the lake bottom or timber, rock or riprap. They don't need to migrate in the fall to follow plankton. Schools of gizzard shad can stay offshore, in deep water virtually all year. Resident bass don't need to move when the buffet is right there in their living room.

So, in general, fall shad movements are fairly predictable and do offer an opportunity to find actively feeding bass more easily since they are concentrated in smaller areas in creeks and coves. Find the ambush points and, as schools of shad move through, the bass will light them up.

But remember that some portion of the bass population may have everything they need in offshore hangouts. Good oxygen, comfortable temperature and plenty of food means there's no need to migrate. So don't automatically abandon the areas where you were catching fish in the summer just because the leaves are turning colors. You have more options now than almost any other time of the year. Enjoy!

__________________
Member Alabigbee Bassmasters  
mlsims is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Bass Fishing Forums - The Bassholes forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Unlocking Bass: 3 keys to better jig fishing mlsims Tips & Tactics 4 11-06-2012 10:11 PM
Fall Shad Boston1011 General Bass Fishing Discussion 3 09-29-2011 06:13 AM
fall bass 02gtvertible Gone Fishin' 5 11-15-2010 01:41 PM
Unlocking Welcome Posts Jared Member Introductions 4 11-22-2009 05:05 PM
Follow shad to more bass jerry s. General Bass Fishing Discussion 2 03-09-2009 07:15 PM

» Progressive Insurance
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:33 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.