September Can Only Mean Change
By Steve Welch
I love September because for me it means get shallow on the white bass and pray for wind. I am telling you that you canít get shallow enough. The white bass get right on the wind swept flats and I have a thirty pound anchor that we use to slip drift with, much slower that a wind sock and if I need to stop just let out fifteen feet of rope and it will hold you.
We put the boat in eighteen inches of water and cast to the shore, which is how shallow I am talking about. The white bass and walleye use the mud line to attack their prey from and we catch them by the hundreds.
About mid month the lake will turn over and then everything will be shallow. The crappie will move back into mid depth haunts and put on the feed bag as will the white bass and walleye so I have a variety of species to catch. We do multi specie trips and try and get a three-man limit of crappie while the wind is picking up speed and then go tear up the white bass. Pretty fun if I donít say so myself.
The tackle you will need for this endeavor is a stout spinning rod. I use a custom eight-foot rod so I can make long casts. I have it made by Normís Rods in Decatur Ill. 217-877-4529. If they are very shallow I use one of three baits. My 3/8oz. Candystriper available through my website or a number three Blue Fox Vibrex and lastly a 1/4oz. Big Dude blade bait. All work very well in shallow conditions. I spool my reel with ten pound Fireline Crystal braided line. I love the no stretch and with the no stretch line if you get hung in a weed on shore you can snap it free.
For the crappie we are doing several things to catch them. First of all the standing wood pattern in the mouths of your bigger coves is working and we simply cast a jig six feet past a tree and let it pendulum back at about six to ten feet deep. I like a twelve-foot rod to aid in making the pendulum and you donít need to continue to cast. Just let three feet of line past the end of your pole out and pendulum your jig past each tree and keep moving.
Another pattern is to slip bobber these same trees and I like a slightly shorter, stiffer rod for that so I can actually cast it. I once again use my Normís rod for that in the eight foot length. I actually flip it underhand like bass fishermen pitch a jig.
The third pattern is to fish river channel ledges with down trees on them and target the higher branches in fifteen feet or so. You might be in thirty foot of water but no matter you are looking for a branch that the crappie will suspend on. I like a shorter rod for that as well so I can actually watch my jig on my Lowrance depth finder. I once again use my Normís rod that I had built much stiffer to handle the quarter-ounce Deep Ledge Jigs that I developed and are for sale on my website. I like the heavier jig with the short number four hook on it so I can feel my way through cover better and I spool my reel with eight pound Fireline Crystal so I can then just snap my rod and free my jig once it gets hung up.
My Candystripers have taken off as the go to bait for white bass and walleye on the lake but this year I have really been surprised on how good of a summer crappie bait it has been. It actually catches about everything. Now if I could just get everyone on board on my Deep Ledge Jigs. I learned to fish deep structure on Kentucky Lake and just took it home with me. The problem is that most anglers on Shelbyville are afraid to venture out into twenty-feet of water and target crappie. They are missing fish that never get any pressure and can be much bigger.
Along with my Deep Ledge Jigs we developed a couple of hair jigs to compliment my regular jigs and I made them larger for the big fish you see at Kentucky Lake and down at the Mississippi Reservoirs but our fish on Shelbyville love them as well. I have been using them for a year now and simply love all the big fish I am catching with them. We are coming out with more jigs in different weights and styles and made to take a larger hook for walleye applications and even a spinner variation. Keep an eye out on my website, as these will be available very soon. We are having them custom made at a machine shop right now. They are precision balanced and have recessed eyes and nobody else will have these jigs as we aim to make a high caliber product for the serious angler.
All my products are available at my website www.LakeShelbyvilleGuide.Com and also available at Marve & Kathyís Bait Shop at the Bo-Woods boat ramp located just south of Sullivan. They are also available at D & M in Sullivan IL. I am always looking for more retail shops so shoot me e-mail if you are interested.
I have plenty of openings for fantastic fall fishing on beautiful Lake Shelbyville. Come check out the trees turning the bright colors of red and gold. Just go to my website for availability and while you are there look at all the new pictures. We have really had a good season and I personally have had a stellar year and have done over 140 guide trips since mid March.