News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

North Alabama Fishing Reports

Many boaters hardly ever look at one of their most important pieces of equipment.

The kill switch is a device designed to attach to a life jacket while the boat is level or on plane. Should something happen to the driver that takes him or her out from behind the wheel, the kill switch pulls free and immediately cuts off the engine. Before taking off for your next adventure, check to make sure the kill switch is in working order. Put safety first on your list.

Wheeler Lake: Largemouth bass finally are coming to the forefront as air and water temperatures are gradually going down. That should please the professional bass anglers who will come to Decatur on Oct.18-20 to participate in the Bassmaster Southern Alabama Open.

Several patterns are working when trying to catch largemouth bass. One of the best this week is working crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastic worms around long points that extend gradually into deeper water. Points that make a sharp drop have held some fish as well, but the mild slope, especially if it has a gravel or shell bottom, is the area where a lot of rods are bending.

If you donít do well with crankbaits or plastic curly-tale worms or trick worms, consider switching to topwater lures such as a Pop-r or Zara Spook. Some anglers are catching quality largemouth bass and some smallmouth bass by throwing a torpedo-shaped topwater lure that has a spinner device on each end.

Look for bluegill to feed during daylight around rock bluffs or sloughs with a gravel bottom. The best way to locate a school of bream is to throw a small, in-line spinner lure. Once you hook up on the in-line spinner, switch to live crickets to get the more aggressive bites.

White bass and hybrid stripe are circling shad around creek mouths early in the morning when current is flowing. Look for the surface action and be prepared to throw a one-quarter-ounce, chrome-colored, lipless crankbait or a small swimming jig in either pearl or silver/flake colors.

Wilson Lake: The smallmouth bass bite is improving every week. The bronzebacks look like theyíre going into an aggressive fall feeding pattern. Drifting live shad or live minnows in the current below Wheeler Dam is a popular technique.

If you are drifting live shad or live minnows in the swift water below the dam, be prepared to hook up with a few large hybrid stripe or stripers as well as some drum weighing more than 10 pounds. If you have a long battle with a big drum, be sure to check your line, as the fight easily could stretched your line to the point where it will break if you connect with a trophy-sized smallmouth bass.

Look for largemouth bass to feed in the back of creeks or sloughs with plenty of wooden structure. Placing a Texas-rigged plastic worm where the structure creates shade is a good way to catch a big bag of bass.

Pickwick Lake: Anglers are catching smallmouth bass down from Wilson Dam by using live shad or live crawfish on a modified Carolina-rig. If you feel any pressure at all on your line, itís a good idea to set the hook immediately.

White bass are schooling around causeways lined with large rocks when current is flowing. The white bass are mixed in with few hybrid stripe and they are feeding in the ditches that border the rocks. A medium-sized in-line spinner such as a Roostertail is a good lure to try.

Lake Guntersville: Largemouth bass have been feeding during all hours of the day but the best times are early in the morning and late in the afternoon where the fish have been in a feeding frenzy. If you see several 2- to 4-inch shad leap from the water at the same time, thatís a good indication that the largemouths are in a frenzy. Throwing a chrome or white-colored crankbait into the action almost assures that you at least will receive a strike.

The bream bite is slow to fair and the best catches are coming during late afternoon. Look for grass beds near boat docks or boathouses and use live crickets for best results.

Paul Stackhouse,
Daily Sports Correspondent

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