October is a month I have circled on the calendar every year; it can be the best month for the kind of fishing I do, and there are plenty of other bass fishermen think the same thing, no matter what kinds of baits they like to throw. Fish are moving back in creeks, and they’re moving up, feeding heavily, and they become easier to catch.
To me, what makes October so good is that bass really relate to creek channels more than any other time. They’re going to get on channel breaks and be right on the edge of the break.
Outside bends are good, and places where points run up against a the creek channel are great. Rocky places get good, along with riprap. The farther you get into October, the better riprap and rocky points will get. Look for bass to be on the part of the point where you’ve got deep water right up against shallow water. Those kinds of places are going to usually have plenty of rocks, and that’s the kind of bottom that bass like to use in October.
Several different patterns will show up this month, and two of them can be real good, because you’ll find fish anywhere from zero to 15 feet deep. At the first of the month, I’m usually fishing 14 or 15 feet deep, but by the second week, they’re usually anywhere from 12 feet to zero.
On High Rock Lake, my home water, you can go in the back of Second Creek. In any creek on just about any lake, you can go to the back and fish shallow. The farther back in the creek you go, the better a little square-billed crankbait like Berkley’s Pit Bull becomes. It’s a great bait to fish out to about 5 feet. But you can also fish farther out. I think when you fish a little deeper, you get away from some of the fishing pressure.
I like to fish about 10 feet deep with a crankbait like a Digger 8.5 in either oatmeal cream — a color like the old carp color — hot mustard or a shad color. It’s got a wide wobble, so you’ll have fish hitting it because it imitates a crawfish or a shad.
The key is that you need to pinpoint the cover these fish are using on the creek-channel breaks. The fish will have the cover pinpointed: a single rock, a stump, an isolated brush pile. You have to find that piece of cover that’s on the drop. I like to locate the channel edge and idle along, watching my Raymarine electronics for anything that looks different, and then concentrate on those spots.
I usually sit deep and cast shallow; I want to bring my bait down the drop. It’s good to be able to sit in 25 feet of water and cast into 8 to 10 feet of water. If I find a good piece of cover, I will fish all around it, casting from a variety of angles.
October is just a great month to bass fish. The weather is usually consistent. It may get a little cold right at the end of the month, but usually, the weather is excellent throughout the month, and the fish respond to it.
Where most bass fishemen love to fish in the spring, I love to fish in the fall; I’ve probably won more money fishing tournments in the fall than any other time of year. My first Bassmaster tournament win was at Buggs Island in the fall, and I caught fish doing exactly what I’ve written about.
If you can tear yourself away from your deer stand this month, a trip to the lake can be very rewarding if you just locate creek channels and, cover, and put your bait right in there. The bass are going to be there, and they’re going to be hungry, and that’s a great combination.