The Bronze Bombs of Fall

The great thing about fall in the Tennessee River Valley is the largemouths really put on a show. From shallow-water cranking to blowing up on hollow-bodied frogs, it’s almost nonstop action. After all, that’s what the area has become famous for. But, according to B’n’M pro Brad Whitehead, fall is when the world-class smallmouth fisheries come into their own. Brad is a guide on the Tennessee River and says when the evening turns cooler, it’s time to get after the brown fish. Of course, even though the first day of fall is September 22, it’s mid-October before things get started. It takes seven to ten days of cool nights to impact water temperature. When it finally does drop, the smallmouths really put on the proverbial feedbags.

According to Whitehead, there are three key factors in finding and catching fall smallmouths. The first and arguably most important is current. The fishing is mediocre with little to no current, but picks up in relation to the flows. This is because the current moves the bait down the edges of any current break. Since smallmouths are ambush hunters, they will lie in wait for the bait to come to them. This gives the fish a chance to lie in, or behind, a break in the current. The fish get the benefit of moving bait, but they won’t have to fight the current to catch it.

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