Fall bass action heats up on Gainesville Lake
Oct. 5, 2001
Many local bass fishermen are familiar with Gainesville Lake located on the Tombigbee River. Not too many are more familiar with the fantastic fall fishing the lake provides, however, than Jerry Davis and his son-in-law, Joe Giles. I was able to see just how good the fall fishing can be while on a trip to the lake this week.
Although there will always be more than one pattern on a lake, this is the time of year Davis prefers fishing shallow ledges. Usually these ledges will be located at the creek mouths. As the shad move over the sandbars and shelves, the bass gorge themselves with easy meals.
When it comes to fall ledge fishing on Gainesville, catches of 50 to 100 bass a day for a pair of anglers is not unheard of. In fact, I can attest to that fact since I witnessed over 100 bass caught and released there in a day of fishing. Of course a few were kept for the frying pan, but most were released to grow and fight another day.
Few anglers fish Wing Dings nowadays, and not too many know how versatile the bait can be. Jerry Davis is one of those select anglers who does know how to catch a fish or two on the bait. The Wing Ding doesn't look like it would catch a fish, but catch fish it does!
The bait comes in several sizes and is made up of lead, a little paint and a single blade and treble hook. There is a hole through the middle, which allows the bait to move up the line once a bass is hooked. This prevents the bass from throwing the heavy bait like they used to do the Little George.
Once Davis has located a ledge with shad and schooling bass, he will go to work with the Wing Ding. This bait has a single spinner on it that allows Davis to keep in constant contact with the bait. If he feels the slightest variation, he knows something is happening. Usually there will be a fish on the end of the line.
Wing-ding means variety
On our trip to the river, Davis and Giles demonstrated the variety of fish that can be caught on the bait. Although the lure is primarily used for catching bass, it is also deadly on other species as well. Davis caught largemouths, spotted bass, hybrid stripers and even large shad on the bait. "I don't know how to fish a lot of baits, but I do know how to fish a Devils Horse and a Wing Ding," understated Davis. After witnessing him catch bass after bass with seemingly little effort, it is easy to see that he knows what to do with a Wing Ding.
Giles also demonstrated the bait's ability to catch a variety of fish. In addition to catching largemouths, spots, stripers and hybrids, he also caught more than one blue catfish, and crappie. One of the catfish tipped the scales at just over 12 pounds! I was also fortunate to catch a few bass and stripers on the bait, and even caught a large drum. If there is a fish that feeds on shad, they will strike this bait.
While everyone caught some bass on the old favorite plastic worm, the star performer of the trip was definitely the Wing Ding. It is deadly indeed when in the hands of seasoned anglers such as Davis and Giles. You can be sure of one thing; when it comes to fall fishing on Gainesville, there will be plenty of bass to catch, and Davis and Giles will spend their share of time chasing them.