This week we will be approaching the November Full Moon, occurring on the 19th of the month, and peaking at 3:59 am. This moon will also offer a near total lunar eclipse with 97% of the moon eclipsed at 4:03 am EST. With a duration of 6 hours and 1 minute, it will be the longest eclipse in 580 years, for those of you keeping records, LOL. So, if you are going to the lake, or up early to hunt, might as well set the coffee maker a little earlier and get up to view the skies. Once you get to the lake, you’ll find it is slightly lower, down .23 feet from last week to 1070.30. That is .70 feet below full pool with surface temps of 64 degrees.
Striper fishing is good, but inconsistent. The high pressure days that we had last week took the edge off of the bite, and the fish were finicky once you found them. The fish are also scattered, with anglers reporting catches from the rivers, to the dam, and all in between, Overall, I think the afternoons offer the best bite.
Live baits on down lines and free lines are a strong overall pattern, both are viable methods depending on weather and time of day. On these high blue days I mentioned in the opening paragraph, down lines have been the best producer, specially once the sun gets up. Much of the bait will tend to move out over a deeper bottom as the day progresses, expect the fish to follow. Look for the Stripers to be over channels, in channel swings, or anywhere you find bait. Earlier in the day the fish may more oriented to points and humps, or gravitate more to the pockets and coves. Use the free lines and down lines in conjunction, and adjust your depth for each situation. Keeping a Mini Mack in the spread, as a down line or behind a planer will account for some extra bites. Adjust the depth of the Mini, based on where you see the greatest activity, basically treating it like a live bait. .5 mph is all the speed you need to keep the grubs swimming and the blades turning on the Mini.
Fishing Gizzard Shad and Trout on the free lines and planers is becoming a very good pattern as expected at this point in the year. It is still somewhat of a random pattern, but targeting structures early, humps and points should produce some activity. Later in the day, try fishing over the channels, channel swings, and areas with bait concentrations.
The topwater/casting bite is still there, again more sporadic and influenced by weather recently, but blind casting to humps and points will get you some bites. Swim baits, walking baits, and OG’s, Mini’s and Flukes are all good choices, popping baits if you get a little wind to help you out. Casting the Mini Macks are also a very good choice for this method. Run and gun is the key, as this is very much a high saturation technique.
The Bass are fairly cooperative, it’s just matter of finding the pattern and bait for a day, if there is one. Junk fishing has been good and may be the best pattern on a given day. The fish are moving around quite a bit, and you’ll see the patterns shift throughout the day. As a general rule, look for shallow fish early, then move deeper and onto offshore areas after mid morning. Casting crank baits has been very effective, choose baits that are suitable for shallow water areas early , target areas from 4 to 10 deep. Selecting baits that dive to 10 to 15 feet after mid morning will keep that bite going thought the day. Find a rocky area and grind the bait into the rocks, you should know quickly if the fish are there. The Rock Crawlers and DT’s are a couple of the favorites for this pattern.
Channel Swings have been reliable structures, and a variety of baits are effective on these areas as well. Crank baits and spinnerbaits are effective,, especially early, with jigs and worms having all day application. The Roboworm on the shakey head will account for great numbers on this pattern. They are mostly just keepers, however there are a few of the bigger fish mixed in. If you just want to catch fish and have fun this is a very consistent and productive pattern. Jigs will also get the bite and may up the odds of getting the bigger bites.
Fishing some of our many docks has always been a great technique at this time of the year and that pattern is pretty productive now. Depth is the big variable, and that can change with the weather, but to start with target docks in the creeks in 15 to 30 feet deep. Adjust based on the weather conditions and time of day. You’ll need to fish a lot of docks, numbers are often the key to making this method payoff. Worms and jigs are the staples for this pattern, but moving baits can be effective, particularly on shallower docks.
Spoons are really coming into play and will only get stronger with rolling water. Spoons can be fished effectively on a variety of structures, or simply dropped into bait concentrations. Basically, if you see fish/bait/structure on the sonar, drop a spoon, you’ll be surprised how many fish will respond. Expect a mixed bag, if it eats Shad or Herring, it’s likely to eat the spoon!