Monday, October 22, 2018

Cold Water River Bass Fishing

This past weekend, Don Henry and I made our annual trip to the Mississippi River for a little fall fishing.  The past couple years, the weather worked out to our favor...this year, the weather tested us on both days.  Saturday morning on our way to Pool 9 we ran into an October Blizzard.  Winds were gusting up to 40mph and the snow coming down was thick as fog.  Typically a little snow in October is nothing, this was a hard snow that blanketed everything for a few minutes, thankfully it did melt away quickly as the temps were near 40 degrees.  We fished in some flurries which isn't anything brand new to fall fishing, but the 30+ mph north winds were a constant battle.  The Minn Kota Talons and Ultrex trolling motor made the day much more tolerable fighting these conditions.  These two tools give you total boat control and allow you to fish any style you want.  The day was a typical fall day up there, however the fish were not easily tricked.  We had to really slow our baits down and fish through the trees and weeds to get them to bite.  I know I say it plenty but having the right equipment on these "light bite days" is important.  Using med/heavy flippin rods by QuantumPT and smooth casting control of the QuantumPT reels really made these terrible fishing conditions disappear.  Backwater areas with little or no current are always the popular places to be this time of year.  The water in Pool 9 at several different locations was hanging right around 48 degrees all day long.  It was a good day, boating a few dozen largemouth bass with plenty of two pounders tugging at our lines.  The cold and wind wore us out and by the sunset we were regrouping at the motel for the next day.
Largest River Bass to date: 4.76#

We woke up Sunday to temperatures of 28degrees.  Needless to say we were in no hurry to get on the water today.  Some tackle prep, a hot breakfast and coffee later we were headed to the ramp in Pool 10 for some more backwater fishing.  Today, the wind was out of the south and much lighter, and the sun was out all day long.  The temperatures only rose into the high 40's but it felt great all day long with that bright sunshine.  Today was a similar day, focusing on backwater areas where the fish were starting to gather for the winter months.  The middle and upper sections of Pool 10 have many of these areas and are quite easy to get to.  Rocks are always good this time of year and the bass were holding true on this fact today.  The water on Pool 10 was at a 15.9ft level, 7-8 feet higher than a typical October day, this gave the fish plenty of areas to hide.  Flooded trees, especially willows seemed to hold a lot of baits today.  Don and I pitched craws and tubes into the tree stems and the fish were ready for a quick meal.  Many fish were caught using this method, but a method that continues to shine for me is the swing-head jig.  This, paired with a Hot Rod Baits Big Craw has been a great search and catch combination for me.  It is quickly becoming an everyday tool for me.  One other method that shined today was the jerkbait.  I was using the IMA Flit 120, this jerkbait has 3 treble hooks, suspends in the 6-8 foot range and you can really cast thing a long ways.  It is ideal for fall fishing with the stop and go presentation for weary cold bass.  This bait caught me my largest ever Mississippi River bass today, it weighed in at 4.76#, a true beauty.  Needless to say it was the highlight of the trip.  Overall it was a great 2 days of fishing on the Big River with a couple of friends.  It might be the last time I visit the Mississippi this year and if so, it will be one to remember for a long time!
Don Henry with a nice Pool 10 keeper

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