It’s time to hit the cooling oxbows

In North Louisiana during October, the weather will start to cool off. The bass will get into their fall mode more quickly than they do in South Louisiana because they’ll start to feel winter approaching. This month, I prefer to go to the cypress tree-filled oxbow lakes off the Mississippi River — Providence, Concordia, St. John and Bruin. These lakes are outside the levee and fish about the same, and they are within about a one-hour drive of each other. In October, the bass will start getting active and feeding heavily to store up fat for the winter.

Early morning

My first tactic early in the morning when the fog starts lifting off the water and before the sun starts shafting through the trees is to fish a white Strike King buzz bait around the cypress trees. If the forecast is for clouds, I’ll fish a black buzz bait.

When there’s wind on the water, instead of using the buzz bait, I’ll fish a 1/2-ounce Strike King Premier Plus spinnerbait in the sexy shad color. If the water’s clear, I prefer the sexy blue back herring color. If the water’s got more stain to it, I’ll fish a combination of chartreuse and white. Generally at this time of year, I either can fish the buzz bait or the spinnerbait until about 10 a.m. on these lakes with success.

Mid-day

If this region has a cooler fall than normal, I’ll start looking for flats near boat docks at this time of day and watch for bass chasing shad on these flats. On the days when I’m able to see the schools of shad clearly on those flats, I’ll fish a 1/2-ounce Strike King Red Eye Shad in chrome blue, chrome black or chrome sexy shad, according to the color of the water.

Besides the flats, the bass will be holding on the boat docks, where you often can catch them on the sides and the fronts of the boat docks. Also, search for isolated cover like logs or bushes between the boat docks on the flats. You can run that sexy shad bait in these areas and often catch a bass waiting to ambush shad.

The bass may not be holding tight to the cover. In October, I’ll use a medium-to-fast retrieve, covering a lot of water with the Red Eye Shad. If I’m not catching the bass on the Red Eye Shad on the flats, or if I’m having good action but for some reason the bass stop biting, I’ll pick up a Strike King Series 3 crankbait in the same colors. I’ll return to those banks I’ve fished with the Red Eye Shad but move out somewhat deeper to fish 4- to 6-foot-deep water with the Series 3. I’ll be using a medium-to-fast retrieve with the crankbait. I like to deflect the crankbait off some type of cover, running it into the poles of the boat docks when I’m fishing around them.

Also, I’ll try to find the shad holding on those clean, flat banks with sandbar drop-offs. You’ll see places on these oxbow lakes where the bank tapers down to 3- to 4-feet deep and then a 10-foot drop-off. You often can locate bass stacked up on the edges of those drop-offs. I’ll crank the edges of those drop-offs and come over the lip of a break with a Series 3.

Afternoon

If the weather’s warm, and I’ve found bass on these drop-offs, I’ll start casting a 10-inch Strike King Rage Anaconda in junebug, Bamabug or redbug along those breaks, especially if the temperature’s warm. October bass seem to like that big worm better than the jig.

I’ll also take that large worm and flip it on a 1/4- to 3/8-ounce slip sinker, depending on the depth of the water, around the cypress trees where I’ve caught bass in the morning with either the buzz bait or the crankbait.

At this time of year, I’ve found that on these lakes, flipping that big plastic worm seems to produce more big bass than flipping the Strike King Hack Attack Jig will.

In late October when the weather’s cooler, I’ll flip the Hack Attack Jig. The more the bass feel the onslaught of winter, the more they seem to prefer a bigger, bulkier bait like the jig. If the bass are holding tight to a tree in shallow water, I’ll use a 1/4-ounce slip sinker, or if they’re farther away from the tree in deeper water, I’ll fish the 3/8-ounce slip sinker.

If I want to try to catch a big bass during October, I’ll fish Lake Bruin, Lake St. John or Lake Concordia. However, to catch numbers of bass and still have a chance at a good-sized bass, Lake Providence is hard to beat.

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