Marty Robinson explains why he transitions from wood cover to rock in the fall. Photo by Josh Gassmann
By Dave Landahl - September 18, 2020
Simplifying your fishing tactics and techniques can often help you catch more fish. Of course, as long as your simplification results in the proper technique, lure, location, etc.
MLF Bass Pro Tour angler Marty Robinson believes in keeping it simple when bass fishing in the fall. He has a one-two punch that should help you hook up more bass as the leaves are changing colors.
“For me, I look for bass to be transitioning during the fall,” Robinson said. ”There’s no set time when this happens, and it can depend on what area of the country you’re fishing. But around the middle of fall, you’ll start to see bass move from wood cover to rocky cover. You’ll need to figure out when that is, but it happens every year.”
The Move from Wood to Rock
Focus your initial fall attempts on the shallower wood cover such as laydowns, bushes, docks, etc. Keep on the lookout for shallow water food fish such as bluegill. If they are still up shallow, the bass will likely be there as well.
“I’ll check shallow wood, like laydowns and other cover to start,” Robinson said. “I’ll flip a Zoom Z-Craw with ⅜- to ½-ounce sinker. Fishing the wood is productive when water is still fairly warm and the temperature hasn’t dropped a lot yet. I focus on creeks and shallow shoreline cover, but I’ll also check main lake wood.
“A lot of bait migrates into creeks in the fall. This is especially true if there’s a lot of rain, or the water is high and the bait pushes further into the good oxygenated water, back up into the creeks.”
As the air gets chilly and the water temperatures drop, keep checking the wood, but when the bass are no longer there, don’t worry – just search out hard cover, and you’ll find the fish.
“Later in the fall, bass will move off the wood and transition to using rock as cover,” Robinson said. “I like to look for two types of rocky cover: subtle offshore rockpiles, or riprap. About 90 percent of the time, I’ll use my Lowrance to scan for rockpiles up and down the creeks.
“As far as riprap, it’s tough to beat fishing around bridges. Any riprap can be good, but bridges seem to be anytime during the fall.”
Robinson will use a pair of Buckeye Lures Mop Jigs for his rock-fishing endeavors. A ½-ounce football head in brown and orange with a green pumpkin Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail trailer when fishing offshore rockpiles, and the standard mop jig in brown with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk when fishing riprap.
“When I fish the rockpiles, I will usually drag the jig along the bottom,” says Robinson. “Riprap often has smaller rocks which makes dragging difficult. That’s where the standard Mop Jig shines. I will hop the jig around and it prevents excessive snagging and catches bass.”
For both fishing the wood and rocks, Robinson uses a 7-foot 3-inch Castaway Grass Master Braid Rod with a Lew’s 7.1 Custom pro reel spooled with 15- or 17-pound P-Line fluorocarbon.
“That one rod design works for all three of the techniques I mentioned,” Robinson said. “It’s a very versatile rod.”
So, why are the bass moving from wood to rocks? Robinson isn’t positive, but he thinks it has to do with their diet.
“Maybe the crawfish get more active again in the rocky areas before winter,” he observed. “The bluegills move out of the shallows too, so that food source leaves. It all has to do with diet, and more food is available on the rocks as the season progresses. Also, the time of day you fish doesn’t seem to be too important. There is usually a morning bite, but you can catch bass throughout the day in the fall.”