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Fall creek fishing heats up

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Oct. 10, 2003
When it comes to catching fish during the fall, nothing beats fishing a small stream or creek. Whether it's panfish or bass you're after, there's sure to be a creek or stream somewhere near that has received little or no fishing pressure this summer. Due to heavy rainfall and continually muddy water, most anglers stayed off of these secluded hot spots. Of course that turned out to be good for the fish as well as the few remaining fall fishermen.
My first fall outing on a creek came on the Okatoma River near Seminary. The water was crystal clear and teaming with feisty spotted bass. Although most of our fish usually come from the shoals or rapids area of the creeks, the fish were positioned differently on this trip. They were located tight on the steep banks, just under the surface.
It didn't take long to figure out that they would literally crush topwater baits. The weather was cool, not cold, and the fish were really feeding. There would not be any lethargic bass on this day. Hot weather had come and gone and those tiny torpedoes, otherwise known as spotted bass, were making up for lost time.
Ideal craft
Our boat for the day was a Coleman canoe. This canoe was very light and didn't take on very much water. This allows an angler to control the boat better than a flat bottom boat. Anglers should employ an anchor at the back of the boat. Once a hot spot is located simply slip the anchor over the side and cover the area with fan casts until everything has been checked out.
Once the area has been fished thoroughly, just pull the anchor up and drift a little further down stream and anchor again. On this day catching bass was so easy it was like taking candy from a baby. We would cast Rattlin' Rogues right up next to the banks and let them sit still for a second. Sometimes the strikes would be ferocious when the bass crushed the baits sitting still.
Different bite
At other times the bass would strike the lure after we twitched the bait beneath the surface. Usually they would hit the lure within the first five or six feet of the bank. Sometimes the more aggressive bass would even follow the bait out near the boat and then strike during a fast retrieve.
Rattlin' Chug Bugs and Pop-Rs are also proficient baits in the cool fall weather. The active bass may attack the bait from the time it hits the surface until the time you pull it out of the water. I have had them smash the lure the second it touched the surface. Other times they would literally smash the bait as I was lifting it from the water.
If you like to fish, then you owe it to yourself to find a fishing partner and try out a creek or small river this fall. Barring unforeseen rises in the water levels, the fishing should be fantastic on up until December or until cold weather hits. But don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself.