I know a bunch of y’all are obsessed with whitetails right now. Nothing wrong with that, but I gotta tell ya, November may just be ‘the perfect month’ for bass fishing. So be real careful in your treestand, and also, be real careful not to miss out on some of the best shallow water bass fishing of the year.
I’m always a little hesitant to talk about specific water temps, because obviously, water temps vary greatly in any given month depending on where your favorite body of water is located. But I gotta tell ya, surface temps are between 50 and 60 degrees are the green flag to the start of largemouth putting on the feedbags in fall.
Very few lures are better matched to November than shallow-running square bill crankbaits. Largemouth are feeding really shallow on shad around visible cover in one to five feet of water. Whether you’re fishing around laydowns, docks, rip rap, or shallow rocky points, a square bill is the perfect tool.
Not only does a square bill crankbait resemble shad, but one of its greatest benefits is its natural way of deflecting off shallow habitat to instigate bass to eat it, without you having to impart much action on it. Spinnerbaits are hard to beat in November too, but they sometimes require a little more effort spent making them jerk and deflect to make a bass bite them, compared to a square bill.
In the same way that whitetail activity can occur all day in November because of the rut, bass will bite a square bill all day too. However, I will tell you, this is one time that I really believe lure color makes a huge difference depending on water color, and on sunny versus cloudy days.
If it’s cloudy and windy, and the water is off colored or slightly dirty, I throw a chartreuse crankbait with a black back. If you have a sunny day, or you’re fishing in fairly clean, clear, water, then I prefer a more natural color like “ghost” – or a silver body with a black back colored square bill.
As far as my favorite square bill tackle; I use 15-pound fluorocarbon line, on a 6.3:1 baitcasting reel, on a 6’ 10” casting rod with a relatively soft tip. I like a slightly faster retrieve this time of year, because the bass are eating so aggressively, and the shad are really active too.
A 6’ 10” rod with a fairly soft tip will allow you to cast more accurately around shallow habitat than a longer rod will, and a forgiving rod tip is critical to avoiding pulling the treble hooks out of their mouths once you hook ‘em.
You might notice the flat-sided lure with the round lip in the middle of the three crankbaits I have hanging on the antler. That flatter-bodied lure is great as we move into early December, and water temps get really cold. Its round lip slides around shallow cover in a more subtle way than the square bill, and its tighter wiggle seems to get more bites in real cold water.
Whether you choose the whitetail woods, or shallow water crankbait fishing, you can’t beat November. So until next month, be safe, and enjoy this one to the fullest.