ROY HAWK: How I Prepare for Fall Fishing in Arizona - Major League Fishing
ROY HAWK: How I Prepare for Fall Fishing in Arizona
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ROY HAWK: How I Prepare for Fall Fishing in Arizona

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Roy Hawk details how he gets bit out in his home state of Arizona during the fall. Photo by Josh Gassmann
November 3, 2020 • Roy Hawk • Angler Columns

It’s time for some fall fishing, Arizona style. Obviously, we stay pretty warm out here in Arizona, and we don’t really get our first taste of fall fishing until early November. When the fall does come around, it’s definitely not easy to get bit. But there is a saving grace once we get a cold front rolling in. The fishing becomes absolutely outstanding when we get our first taste of pretty cold weather, and it’s important to be prepared for that since it doesn’t last very long.

We’re expecting our first real cold front to come in this weekend as temperatures should drop down into the 60s from the high-80s and 90s that they have been. When that cold hits, I like to reach for a couple of baits. Topwaters work really well in Arizona because the fish are chasing shad like they are pretty much everywhere else. Also, crankbaits are a no-brainer. The bait is important, but it’s more important to find where the fish are grouping up on the lake.

For instance, on Lake Roosevelt, you can find the fish around underwater ditches that are associated with the main body of water. These ditches just run into the lake off of the mountain terrain surrounding the lake. You can’t call them creeks because they don’t have any water in them, but they’re more like depression lines that come from the landscape.

As for where I live on Lake Havasu, we have a lot of habitat in the lake that the fish will cling to. Brush piles, fish houses and all kinds of stuff like that. I really like looking for those targets in the fall because that’s where those fish will congregate between 5 and 20 feet of water. Anywhere they can easily ambush that prey is where I expect to find the bass.

My Go-To Fall Baits

Another bait that I didn’t mention earlier that I like to use out here is a big flipping or football jig with a Yamamoto Double Tail trailer. It’s always a great back-up bait to have and it will get you some big fish. I think the bigger and slower presentation of the jig is more enticing to those fish that are just sitting around by a brush pile or wherever they are.

I like to flip that jig on places like Lake Roosevelt that have a lot of structure, brush piles and creek channels. A football jig is my go-to for Lake Havasu just because I work it more on the outside edge of structure and there’s honestly just not a lot to flip through on Havasu.

With the fish all grouped up, it’s going to seem like it’s really tough at times. You really need to be prepared to move around, move around and move around some more until you can locate one of those groups. Once you locate a group though, you could catch one on every cast. It’s really a feast or famine time of the year for fishing out here. It’s important to keep your head down because somewhere out there, they’re biting and someone is going to be catching them. Why not you?