During October, the baitfish move up into shallow water, and the bass follow the bait.
Because the grass is dying back in the fall, fishing a spinnerbait through and around the lily pads will be much easier.
I'll start with a 1/4-ounce chartreuse-and-white Mann's Classic Spinnerbait, because it will ride higher in the water than a bigger bait and come over the grass and pads with fewer hang-ups. Those colors represent the white of shad and the chartreuse of bluegill, and have proven to me that they consistently produce the most bass at anytime of the year.
I'll use a white split-tail trailer with the spinnerbait since it creates less friction in the water and also stabilizes the bait better than a different type of trailer. Those twin tails produce a lot of action on the hook end of the bait where I want the bass to attack.
I'll be casting the spinnerbait on Berkley 15-pound-test 100 percent fluorocarbon line with a Pinnacle Optimus reel with 6.4:1 gear ratio and a 6-foot, 9-inch Seeker fiberglass spinnerbait rod.
I'll cast the spinner bait along the edge of the grass, around lily pads and along big cypress stumps under the water. Although I'll let the bass decide the retrieve they want, I usually start off reeling that spinnerbait just under the surface of the water fast. I've found that on this lake you'll catch most of your bass around isolated clumps of weeds, which tend to attract the baitfish better, away from the bigger masses of weeds.
I'll fish the same areas I've fished with the spinnerbait with a white homemade buzzbait. I know many people like to fish black buzzbaits, but at this time of year the bass' main forage will be shad. I think the white buzzbait represents the color of the shad better than black buzzbait.
Remember that, in October, the bass are moving into shallow water around grass, lily pads, cypress trees and stumps to feed. So, the bass that don't take the spinnerbait might take a buzzbait, because it creates a bigger disturbance on the surface of the water.
I'll fish the edge of the grass by running the buzzbait over underwater stumps, throwing it past isolated cover and bringing it right by those isolated patches of grass. I'll throw to the backsides of the cypress trees, and swim the buzzbait around the sides and out in front of the cypress trees.
Anytime I'm fishing in the fall and winter, I'll always use a jig. When bass are feeding, they're looking for live bait, and that's usually baitfish or a crawfish. I'll use the jig to imitate the crawfish on the bottom around the cypress roots and stumps, since that's where you find crawfish.
My favorite color for jigs is black-and-blue, and for a trailer I use a Mann's HardNose Craw in the same colors. I'll pitch this jig just past the cypress trees and work it back to the fronts of the cypress trees, and then out about 6 or 8 feet. I'll also pitch the jig around cypress knees.
To catch bass this time of year on a jig, make sure the jig falls absolutely vertical. If you have ever watched a crawfish when it's scared and panicking, it will swim up and away from danger. But when it thinks it's out of reach of a predator fish, it stops using that tail action to propel it up in the water column. Then it falls straight to the bottom.
When the crawfish is falling is when the bass will attack. So, you want to make sure you have a vertical fall on your jig anytime you pitch it around cover.
The secret to catching bass around cypress trees
You have to get the bass out of those root wads of the cypress trees once they take the jig. I use 30-pound-test Stren Sonic Braid line and a 7-foot, 11-inch graphite flipping stick to give me as much leverage and power in the rod and line as I can get. When I feel a bass take the jig, I strike really hard to get the fish's head up and its momentum moving toward me to ensure the fish doesn't bury itself down in those roots.
However, a bass may turn sideways and hang up in the roots after you set the hook. If this happens, the best thing to do is move your boat to the bass and reach down in the water to try to get the fish out of the roots.
If that doesn't work, keep as much pressure on the line as you can and hope the bass comes out.
Information on Bogue Homa
Bogue Homa has a 15-inch minimum size on bass. You'll catch a lot of 1- to 2-pound fish there, but the lake has been stocked long enough now that you should catch some 3- to 5-pound fish in a day of fishing.
I expect to catch 15 to 20 bass at Bogue Homa per day this month. I believe a 5-pounder is a big fish in Bogue Homa, but some bass weighing up to 7 pounds are there.