Tuesday was the first day of fall, as of yet it really doesn’t seem like it. One thing for sure though, you better get ready because it will be here soon. For now, it’s just giving us time to get our fishing and hunting gear in shape and handy.

This last rainfall gave a little runoff, but not very much. Our night time temps seem to be getting into the lower 70s, which is good, but our daytime temps are still running in the 90s. We’ve had some cloudy days so that made it good for topwater action. On these cloudy days, shad move toward the shallows and some bass are right there.

Several bass are being caught in the 3 to 5 foot range and on a lot of our area lakes the shallow bite has been fair to good. It’s pretty easy to figure out the location of the fish with baitfish action, rock, grass, wood or any change from rock to wood or a change from grass to rock, etc. Find these combinations and you have fish.

As water temps drop into the lower 70s to higher 60s the fish will begin to feed up, getting ready for winter. These fish will be feeding on just about any kind of bait that is handy like perch, crawfish and shad. Some of our lakes will also have eels and small snakes.

Lure choices for this coming fall will usually be the ones that match the bass food choices. Keep in mind what these fish are really after is protein and the food source that provides the most protein is bream. On lakes with thick grass mats, those mats hold the bream and you need to get a bream patterned bait because it will get you some bites. Also in these thick mats, a punch bait will usually produce bigger fish. For punching, a larger pigged soft plastic bait is a higher percentage bait. The only thing about this method is that it’s slow and the bites do not come often, but the rewards for catching a bigger fish is worth it.

If this just seems too slow for you, go aggressive with buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, squarebill cranks or bladed jigs. These are baits that you can cover more water fishing aggressively or fast. On Mayse the movement from deep to shallow is happening now except around brush piles or wood in 10 to 14 feet of water. You’ll find fish suspending over the brush in about 4 to 5 feet. These fish will hit just about any type of shad pattern bait. I prefer a soft plastic swimbait with only a light weight and just cast and swim it back to the boat trying to keep it in or about that depth. Use your electronics to find these brushpiles and if you only see baitfish and no bass, just mark it and come back in an hour or two because if there are baitfish, there will be bass sometime that day.

See how easy it is? Not much to it at all — it’s just about cover and food. I promise you that if you do this, you will catch fish.

And speaking of catching fish, at the Big Bass Splash on Fork this past weekend, first place in the tournament went to Blake Hardy of New Waverly, Texas, who caught a 10.61 bass and won a 2020 Triton 19 TRX powered by Mercury, a 2020 RAM truck and $7,000. Several of our area anglers weighed in hourly fish and collected checks. Congratulations to Stephen Jones, James Crawford, Chance Woodard (who won twice), Mitchell Stout, Tony Stout, Orrin Vandeburg, David Vandeburg and Justin Evans. Little Angler winners were Legend Woodard, Kaleb Woodard and Lane Miller — way to go you guys.

Fishing Reports

Bob Sandlin: Water stained; 83-88 degrees; 0.96 feet low. Largemouth bass are good on topwater frogs, and topwater trollers at sunrise and deeper baits below 10 feet during the day. Crappie are good on jigs and minnows. White bass are good on slabs and Alabama Rigs. Catfish are fair with live prepped and bait.

Cooper: Water clear; 82-85 degrees; 1.08 feet low. Largemouth bass are slow on Texas rigged craws and Carolina rigged worms. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows. Hybrid striper and white bass are good on slabs.

Fork: Water stained; 82-86 degrees; 1.19 feet low. Largemouth bass are slow on deep diving crankbaits, bumping artificial worms, and spinners. While slow some large 8–10 lb fish have still been caught the past week. White and yellow bass are good on Alabama Rigs. Crappie are fair on jigs and minnows. Catfish are good on prepared bait

Tawakoni: Water stained; 84-87 degrees; 0.86 feet low. Largemouth bass are fair on topwaters in the mornings/evenings, thicker dark green worms, and crankbait during the day. White bass and hybrid stripers are good on slabs and rat–l–traps. Crappie are fair on minnows. Catfish are fair on trotlines.

Hugo: Elevation below normal, water 86 degrees and murky. Blue, channel and flathead catfish good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live bait and shad below the dam, main lake, river channel and shorelines. Crappie good on minnows and jigs below the dam, around brush structure, channels, main lake, river channel and standing timber.

Lower Mountain Fork: Stocked approximately 7,100 rainbow trout on Sept. 3 and approximately 2,800 rainbow trout on Sept. 11. Elevation normal, water clear. Trout good on crickets, grasshoppers, PowerBait, small lures and tube jigs below the dam, along rocks and spillway.

McGee Creek: Elevation below normal, water 83 degrees. Largemouth, spotted and white bass good on buzz baits, flukes, plastic baits and topwater lures around brush structure, flats, points and rocks. Crappie, spotted bass and white bass fair on minnows along channels, creek channels and standing timber.

Pine Creek: Elevation normal, water clear. Largemouth bass good on topwater lures in coves. Crappie excellent on jigs around brush structure and channels. Channel catfish fair on chicken liver and cut bait along creek channels.

Texoma: Elevation normal, water 83 degrees. Lake fishing is good in the early morning and late evenings. Largemouth bass are good on topwaters and heavy bait. Blue catfish fair on cut bait and shad below the dam and main lake. Striped bass good on live bait, live shad, slabs and topwater lures below the dam, along flats and main lake. Topwater fishing on the lake is good in early morning near Washita Point. Large schools of smaller striped bass have been present while larger striped bass will be feeding beneath the schooling fish. Below dam, fishing has slowed a bit with lots of small striped bass being caught as well as small blue cats and live bait or cut bait. Crappie fishing is good with crappie shifting to fall patterns. Crappie are staying in large schools holding on structure in 20-30 feet of water.

Fish smart, be safe, and I’ll see you on the lake.

Jim Blassingame is a Paris resident and avid angler.

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