Hot surface water temperatures scatter fish to flats and the backs of creeks

By Don Ingram
   As temperatures at night remain in the upper 70’s and 80’s, shad start migrating to the back of the creeks and shallow flats. The hot surface temperatures scatter fish to the flats and back of creeks in search of food. The old adage “find the food source and you find the fish” is as true in fall as any other time of the year.
   Whether you are fishing a lake or river and stream, bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill will be wherever there is an abundance of food. Once you identify the primary source of food for that species of fish, start using or mimicking the food source.
   For example, I recently went to a lake I hadn’t been on since March. The surface temperature was 86 degrees. Because of the time of year and weather conditions, I rigged a 10 inch Prowler worm Texas style, a 5/8 ounce Lunker Lure casting jig, and a Carolina rig with a lizard. For the first hour, I fished main lake drops, ledges, and humps in about 20 to 25 feet of water.
   After about two hours without a bite, I noticed something chase a shad across the back of a shallow pocket. I decided if I wasn’t going to catch any fish, I would at least fish the way I like to fish and target shallow water cover.
   I put the deep water rods back in the rod box and pulled out a 6’6 G-Loomis NRX spinnerbait rod, a 6’6 cranking stick with a shallow water 100 series Bandit crankbait, a G-Loomis flippin stick with a tube, and a topwater rod.
   I started fishing isolated cover on the flats. After about ten minutes, I caught a two pounder. I started in a shllow pocket and caught a three pounder, then a four pounder. To make a long story short, I caught a total nine fish in four hours of fishing. The largest five fish weighed about fifteen pounds.
   Remarkably, all nine fish were caught in less than two feet of water with a surface temperature of 86 degrees and an air temperature of 97degrees.
   By recognizing the surrounding conditions, I was able to adapt and catch several fish. If I had continued fishing ledges and drops, I might not have caught anything. It wasn’t looking to promising at the time.
   Why the fish were so shallow in such hot weather is still a mystery. The more I go fishing, the more I realize how little we understand about how fish adapt to changing conditions and how they survive in their environment.

Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

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