November is an awesome month, for me it is my most favored month as I get to hunt birds over my pointers and continue to fly fish for various species. Through the years I have had some notable and memorable days with some “Cast and Blast” adventures whereby I was able to fly fish for a portion of the day and then do some bird hunting as well.
All too often I think many folks here in southern Indiana (and I expect other places as well) start to pack up their fly equipment when the temps and leaves start to fall. I have found through the years that some of the best fishing of the year, especially for largemouth bass, occurs in late October through the early part of December.
It can stay hot pretty late and quite frankly the slowest portion of the year for me is late summer into early fall. The bass are lethargic and it takes quite an effort to get a fly down into a zone where they are feeding…but as the air temps start to fall…the water temps follow and once again you have a transitional pattern evolving whereby bass are looking to move up in the water column and put on the feed bag.
Just this past Saturday, November 7th, found me on a small lake (about 7 acres) here in southern Indiana in search of largemouth. The plan was to fish for an hour or two…then move a mile or so and chase quail. I eased my float tube backwards into this small lake that I would be fishing for the first time. There is an added excitement for me to fish ‘virgin’ water. I had a 6 and 8 weight rod, both lined with Rio sink tip, type 1 fly line. On my 8 I had a large shad popper, now this may sound like a contradictory plan to have a popper on sink tip line…but believe me it is a deadly combo. I make long cast and let the fly sit for several seconds. At this point you have to be alert and ready for often you can get a big blow up…at the same time the sink tip portion of the fly line is now beginning to sink and as you then start to give short strips, the fly will actually ‘pop’ and gurgle along. I love this combination as it allows you to ‘walk-the-dog’ back towards the float tube.
My first cast would prove perfect as I had an explosion and hauled in a small bass. The next cast, a few feet up the shore, would find me hauling in a nice 16 inch, 2 pound bass. Over the next hour I caught bass after bass; at times I could see a wake coming for many feet away as a bass would rip into my popper. One more tidbit; when using this combo…don’t give up on the end of the retrieve. As you begin to draw both line and popper back towards you the sink tip will cause the popper to be submerged and at this point you have a streamer that is accelerating and darting away from any fish that might have been in hot pursuit. Be prepared! You will have some of your most aggressive takes during this phase and you have to be ready to both sweep your rod and give a long and powerful strip set with your line hand.
So…don’t pack up…not yet. Find that small lake with little pressure and grab your fly gear and get going. November might just be the best month of the year to catch a lunker bass.