The wind is your friend
I spent this week on Kentucky Lake participating in a Strike King Media Workshop and filming some videos with a couple of sponsors.
As always, the writer event was a good time and highly productive. Strike King invites some of the top media in the country to spend a few days on Kentucky Lake to work and fish with its pro team members.
We always stay at Fishtale Lodge just down the road from the Paris, Tenn. landing and it’s held every year in early October.
The fishing is pretty good around there if you can get a break from the weather. Unfortunately, several fronts with 25 mph winds blew through that area while we were there and that made it tough to get around.
Weather fronts are common in early fall, but you shouldn’t let them discourage you from fishing. The changing weather is a signal to bass that cooler weather is coming and sets up some phenomenal fishing.
Cooling water temperatures puts the shad on the move and the bass are focused on them. We were seeing some of that on Kentucky Lake as the baitfish were beginning their fall migration toward the creeks and shallows.
From now until early winter, shad will be the bass’ primary focus as they begin the pre-winter gorging process to store up body fats. That’s the key to fishing this time of year – find the schools of shad.
On a river-run lake like Kentucky, bass will gang up around these shallow ridges and bars just off the main river and start pushing the shad onto them while other baitfish schools are running into the creeks were the bass are chasing them around.
And while a heavy wind can make it difficult to move around a big lake or hold on offshore structure, it can help you locate the shad and the bass.
The waves and current the wind causes help concentrate the bait and make catching those bass easier.
Wind is especially helpful on lakes that don’t have power generating dams. Without current, the bait and bass just roam around, but a good wind will position them along points and flats. The wind will push these pods of bait into those areas where the bass are setting up to chow down.
For that reason, I always assess where the wind is blowing and study my Lakemaster Map for those shallow edges onto which the wind blows and would likely funnel the bait.
Flat points that extend into a creek and have wind blowing directly onto them are a sure bet, but don’t overlook little saddles between an island and the shore where the necks of those areas become bass magnets.
Most people make the mistake of not fishing shallow enough this time of year. It’s remarkable how shallow the fish will get and the flatter the bottom the better. I’ve seen situations on Kentucky Lake where my trolling motor prop was grinding bottom yet my longest cast onto those flats were still producing fish.
Water clarity dictates my lure choices. Topwaters, like the Strike King Sexy Dawg or a buzzbait can be good, but spinnerbaits, Caffeine Shads and a 1.5 Shallow Square Bill crankbaits will catch ‘em, too.
Of course, cloudy days are better, but the wind helps diffuse light penetration on sunny days so the bass will stay active longer. Rainy days that deliver an influx of run-off water will draw the shad farther back into the creeks, so that’s something else to keep in mind.
This pattern will hold up until the water gets so cold the shad pull back to the main lake. So don’t let the wind get you down – use it to your advantage and you’re going to catch a lot of fish this fall!
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!