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Fall Bass Class

Fall Bass Class

Fall in the North can result in record size smallmouth and largemouth bass

Late September in the Haliburton Highlands region offers a wealth of opportunity for anglers.

They say fall is the time of plenty. Plenty of big bass if you fish in Northern Ontario.

As the days get shorter and the outside temperatures begin to signal a changing season, our wonderful fisheries come alive with all species preparing for the long winter period by putting on the feed bag, as this is especially true for our world-class bass fishing all across the province.

Both smallmouth and largemouth bass tend to gang up in tighter schools and pack hunt like wolves which in turn actually makes the fishing that much easier.

Once located, an angler can experience some of the finest fishing of the year on the same lakes that had pleasure boaters, jet skis, and swimmers, but now are void of the weekend crowds and replaced by endless opportunities to fish for some of the biggest bass of the year.

Such is the case during a late September trip we took to the Haliburton Highlands region in search of some big largemouth on a chain of lakes that we have never fished before.

Even with the fall drawdown of water levels, these lakes had countless natural structure elements to attract baitfish and in turn, the big green bass that we were bulking up.

Locations such as long tapering rock points, mid-lake reefs and shoals, deep weed beds, submerged timber, and plenty of transition areas of sand-to-rock and rock-to-weed, are prime locations for fall bass.

With the cooler water temperatures and lower metabolism of this cold-water bass, I decided to choose areas similar to the ones mentioned above and just ‘go fishing’ with toned down Ned Rig jigs in the three-sixteenth ounce size with tiny plastic-bodied baits, medium-power spinning rods, and eight-pound fluorocarbon lines since I was fishing in water depths ranging from eight to twelve feet deep, I wanted to work my bait long bottom with a short hop, skip and jumps and not get caught up in the rock or wood by slightly burying the tip of the jig into the soft plastic of the bait.

Once I felt the slight pressure or tick of a bite, the jig hook found its mark ninety percent of the time.

I was fortunate to pick a few days with cool crisp mornings, but very little wind and high bright skies that warmed up the water temperatures around the rocks and wood, which in turn attracted the baitfish and bigger bass.

The mornings were a little slow and the bites were as soft as soft gets, boating a few largemouth and smallmouth bass in the one to two-pound range but I was after the bigger gals that call these lakes home so I just kept fishing and patiently fished my small Ned Rig as natural as humanly possible over the rocks, wood and weed beds until approximately eleven o’clock, then it was lights out awesome!

My first big largemouth, caught on the edge of a rocky point with sparse weeds fought like a devil with long powerful runs, head shakes and a bulldog stubbornness made my heart race with anticipation to finally get this big gal.

A five-plus-pound big-bellied black largemouth bass.

Caught, photographed, and released to live another day.

Not three casts later, a similar weight sensation on my line signalled bite, hookset, and another dog fight with big largemouth number two—slightly bigger than number one, closer to the six-pound mark.

Another beautiful largemouth bass with amazing colouration and not a scratch on her, snapped a few quick cell phone pictures then back she went into the drink.

I fished similar areas to the spots I caught these two big bass and was fortunate to catch another big largemouth in the five-plus pound range with five additional bass in the two-pound range to conclude my day on this brand-new lake we never fished before.

Talk about a northern Ontario adventure

To me, this is what northern Ontario is all about. Opportunity. Unlimited amounts of lakes, very little fall angling pressure and lots of healthy bass with hardly another boat in sight the entire day.

This year, enjoy the warm summer bass fishing but don’t put the boats or rods away until the ice begins to form, there are lakes full of bass bulking up for winter and waiting for you.

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