According to the calendar it is officially fall — the time of year most fisherman (and hunters) look forward to for several reasons. Among them are the milder weather and the fact that fish make a big move from deeper water to more shallow water to feed and become much more active for longer periods of time.
This is all great news for anglers who no longer have to night fish to catch bass and crappie. Look for feeding bass in the daylight in key areas close to the bank or where the deeper water and the shallow water meet. Good examples are the edge of a large flat or the deep side of a main lake point. One of my favorite spots is a stair steep bluff or rocky ledge. If you find such a spot that also has some type of cover, this is a big plus. A real hot spot is where the old river channel hugs the bank and follows it for a bit. These types of spots are what many anglers call honey holes. Always take time to fish these areas very well.
Bass will be one of the first fish to start feeding shallower. Watch for signs of breaking shad on or near the surface. This is always a good sign of feeding active bass. For bait, fish with a white or chrome-colored bait resembling a shad. Make your cast a little past the feeding bass and work your bait back through them with a series of twitches and pauses while you feel and watch for a strike.
This is all really a basic early fall fishing pattern, but is one a lot of anglers are very glad to see. Fish will stay in this pattern until a major weather change or a major lake change such as high muddy water from a storm or fast dropping water from a lake pull down to winter pool. The fish will then reposition after the lake settles down. But this is the official kickoff to the fall fishing season and it should keep getting better as it goes.