Guidelines with Steve Jonesi; Eastern Iowa

Finally!!! Water temps have finally fallen to a safe range to chase our favorite toothy critters once again, here in Eastern Iowa. Surface temps have fallen into the low 70 degree range which has triggered the shallow migration of the entire food chain. We’ve always heard  and read ,that we must “find bait, find muskies” and this is never more true than during this Fall transition. Our tactics this time of year are pretty simple in nature but do require a command of the bait. We’re typically fishing faster, looking for active, aggressive fish.

Bucktails are the #1 choice when fishing this shallow, weedy environment, with models by Muskie Mayhem and Musky Frenzy getting the nod. Baits that can be cast a long distance but can be bulged upon touchdown(splash!) are key. The Heavyweight Jr. Double Cowgirl from Team Rhino Outdoors and the IC9 from Musky Frenzy have been particularly effective. Fishing the edges with rubber has also put a few fish in the boat , with the 10” Poseidon leading the way.  Fish can be in as little a foot of water chasing shad and such and the strikes and subsequent battle to the boat can be epic with fish coming out of the water like Tarpon. With shallow water…..they’ve got nowhere else to go but up!

When conditions dictate, a well presented, (keep it outta the weeds!) shallow, buoyant crank like the SS Shad will pry those neutral to negative fish to at least show themselves, giving us an opportunity to go back when conditions change, etc.. Wind has been minimal recently but when it blows, the bait is packed on the windblown structures. The fishing should just get better and better as temps drop into the 60’s. Game on!

Gregg Thomas

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