The kids have only been back to school for a few days, but it hasn't stopped my grandson Liam from calling me during lunch most days, to see if I will pick him up after school and head out onto the lake for a couple of hours of fishing in the evening. He may be young, but he has fished enough in Northwestern Ontario to know that once Labour Day rolls around, one of the most productive and fun ways to catch smallmouth bass kicks into high gear.
it is almost a magical mystery ride.
I am talking about casting crankbaits – both the lipped and lipless varieties – and it is a great early fall way to catch smallmouth bass.
Part of the reason is because smallmouth are so acutely tuned into their environment. By that I mean: while it is still essentially summer, the cool evenings that have befallen us of late have chilled the surface water temperatures enough to cause them to drop a couple of degrees.
A week ago, for example, the surface temperature on Lake of the Woods was hovering between 72° F and 74° F, but the other night, it was sitting at 69° F.
You wouldn't think that a decline of three or four degrees would be significant, but to the bass, it is like flipping a light switch. Ditto to the tasty crayfish that they dine upon. Come early September, the freshwater lobsters moult and shed their hard protective exoskeltons. Until their new carapace toughens up, the soft-shelled crayfish are vulnerable, easy pickin's for the fish, and they know it. As a result, the crawdads hide in the cracks and crevices between the rocks and boulders lying along shore.
So now, let’s set the scene. We have revitalized, invigorated and belligerent bass that are suddenly missing out on their most important source of food. So, they're hungry and ready to pounce on anything that looks good enough to wrap their lips around.
Enter the crankbait.....