September is a tweener. It’s not nearly as autumn as October. Yet, it’s refreshingly less like sweltering summer than August. But for bass fishermen, September sometimes lands us smack in the middle of a month of confusion.
The first question is likely “are they still in their deep summer haunts, or should I be searching the shallows?”
Kevin VanDam says whether bass are shallow or deep in September depends on – well – weather. “Weather is such a huge factor in September, and I don’t mean the weather on a given day, but really the weather on a given hour of the day. The bite or pattern can change from hour to hour in September,” said the four-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
“I remember fishing Table Rock one time in September, and I was catching them on a drop-shot rig in 25’ – 35’ of water. Then a little storm passed over the lake and all the sudden the deep bite stopped and I started catching quality bass on a topwater,” recalled KVD.
Speaking of topwater, Kevin says the surface bite can be a great safety net in September, especially in lakes that have an above average shad population like Buggs Island, Guntersville or Grand Lake.
Shad are a big part of September’s sometimes puzzling equation according to VanDam. “Often times what happens in September is you start getting more rain than you had during the hot, dry summer months and in turn, the rain runoff in the backs of the creeks puts groceries in the water for the shad. When you couple the rain run-off with cooler evenings, it’s not long before the shad move to the creeks. And of course, the bass follow.”
Ultimately, September is a month of seek and find. But again, only fools fail to acknowledge the weather. For example, without much rain, the shad might be slower to make their migration into the creeks.
Accompanying Kevin on the September search is a wide-ranging arsenal of lures. “You pretty much have to bring all the weapons in September. Take a look at the front deck of my boat in September and you might see anything from a drop-shot, to a Spit-N-King topwater, to a Burner spinnerbait, to a deep-diving Strike King Series 6 crankbait – it just all depends on the weather,” concludes VanDam.