Chuck MartinChuck Martin

Go Fish with Chuck Martin

It may be time to store my tackle for the season and winterize my boat, but I’m hoping there will be a day or two left of good weather that coincides with a day I get the boat out one last time.

Cold, nasty weather can keep me off the water, but I also noticed another aggravation that you often forget about until you encounter it: Falling leaves. It is not unusual, especially on rivers, to encounter mats of leaves so thick it’s almost impossible to fish anything but a heavy jig or worm in those areas. Even a spinnerbait can get fouled frequently and a crankbait can be frustrating to use. But if I am somewhere the leaves are not collected (such as an open-water point at Dillon where I’ve frequently caught bass in the fall), a crankbait is what I’ll often start with.

Live bait is probably less affected, but I seldom use it.

Some years I have had decent conditions right up to Thanksgiving and even caught some nice bass at Dillon Reservoir or on the Muskingum River. Success has usually come on crankbaits fished near points and drop-offs into the river channel.

I’ll usually fish slower than I did when using crankbaits in warmer weather, and I may drop to smaller sizes.

If you are more interested in catching saugeye than bass, this can also be a good time for you. At Buckeye Lake, anglers fishing the North Shore and the Fairfield Beach areas start picking up fish on suspending jerkbaits, such as Smithwick Rogues and Rapala Husky Jerks.

Most often, I hear about fish being caught around dusk.

Pleasant Hill can be a good fall saugeye lake, and the spillways at Wills Creek and Dillon can produce good saugeye fishing, although it may be a little early for that.

If I want to catch crappie, I’ll just go to Buckeye Lake. Not because the lake is that much better than others, I just have more confidence in finding the fish, which will probably be in a foot or two of water around rip-rap. I’ll use micro-jigs at Buckeye and probably larger jig/grub combinations at the spillways.

I have caught some nice bass at Knox Lake in early November, but I think that was more luck than anything else. (I prefer Knox in the spring.)

Take advantage of the weather when you can, have a good time on the water and stay safe. Many lakes are being dropped to winter pools and areas may be shallower than you remember them.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews



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