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Shad Migration: Bass Highways and Gas Stations

It’s October, kids are back in school, and summer road trips have come and gone. However, our favorite game fish, bass, are just now hitting the “highways.” Check out these tips and let this article serve as your roadmap to catching big October bass!Bass HighwaysBass use deep grass lines like highways to travel from their deep water summer haunts to the shallow pockets and creeks where they will gorge on shad. Aquatic vegetation, otherwise known as “weeds” or “grass,” sometimes extends out from the bank to approximately 8 to 20 feet deep, depending on water clarity. Bass travel along these grass lines, (where the vegetation ends and the open water begins). Anglers can target bass along these grass lines by casting parallel to them with a shad-imitating swimbait such as the Optimum Baby Line-Thru Swimbait. This sinking swimbait will come off as an easy meal to hungry bass.Bass are largely keyed in on shad at this time of year, but just like anyone on a road trip, these bass will take the easy option and opt for “fast food” when given the chance.

Weed Lines Image by LowranceFor that reason, anglers can catch some of their biggest bass of the year by dragging a heavy football jig along these deep grass lines. The Greenfish Tackle Craw Ball features a unique jig head design that allows it to pass through underwater vegetation better than traditional football jigs. You can trigger reaction strikes from lethargic bass by allowing the Craw Ball to get hung up in the deep grass and then ripping it free with a quick jerk.Bass Gas StationsIf deep grass lines are bass highways, then secondary points are gas stations where bass refuel. Points are characterized by a shallower hump extending from the bank and surrounded on three sides by deeper water. A secondary point is a point within a creek or cove point is a point within a creek or cove, as opposed to a primary point, which extends from the bank into the main portion of the lake. Bass often congregate on these features and feed as they are on their way from deep to shallower water.Anglers are wise to fish these points in two different ways. You can cast from deep water to shallow water and fish these points “downhill.” This means dragging your baits down the sloping sides of the secondary point. Fishing points “downhill” is effective when targeting the most active bass on the shallow portion of the point. Another approach to fishing secondary points is to sit your boat on top of the shallow portion of the point and cast into the deeper water, (called fishing “uphill”).This Fall, instead of hurrying to the backs of creeks and pockets to search for shad, try to anticipate fish routes: it might be worth the trip!

Updated October 22nd, 2014 at 2:38 PM CT