Blitz Strategies for Wild November Bass! - The Fisherman

Blitz Strategies for Wild November Bass!

2017 11 Blitz Strategies Wild November Bass MAIN PHOTO
The author with a good bass taken during the Halloween blitz of 2016 along the Central Jersey coast.

Run & gun the surfline in search of striped bass this month.

As I flip back through my log books from November 2016, all I see is surf glory. The Halloween and Thanksgiving Day blitzes were legendary, but not uncommon.

One of the finest falls in quite some time fell upon Jersey surfsters in 2016, and if you didn’t have a good season, then you weren’t there when the fish were there. It sounds simple and stupid, but it’s the truth. That’s the key. Don’t chase reports, you have to go make your own and put in the time, especially during the unpredictable days and nights of the fall run.

One of the biggest problems surfcasters have had nowadays is the two-bladed sword of the social media world. Yes, the bite was on this morning, but you missed it. Then you go out in the afternoon and nothing is there. Change up your plan. If you really want to dial in the fall run bass, here’s how to maximize your time on the beach to get knee-deep in the blitzes.

2017 11 Blitz Strategies Wild November Bass BAIT BLITZ
Keep an eye on the water this month as bass and blues pin baits up against the beach; no reason to cast to the horizon when fish are feeding at your feet.

Follow the Bait

Spearing, peanut bunker, sand eels, herring, rainfish, tinker mackerel, adult bunker – you name it – the type of bait schools may change year to year, but make no mistake, there will be bait in the waters and the bass will be on them. You may walk up to the beach and see dark masses of bait in the water, but nothing may seem like they are on them. Just because you don’t see bass crashing on the schools doesn’t mean they are not below keeping those schools nervous and on guard. My best day last November was on an Ocean County beach at 2 p.m. where adult bunker were dark and blobbed up outside the second sand bar, people were just sitting around because there were no visual signs of bass. As far as everyone was concerned, the morning blitz was over. I switched up from a popper to a snag hook, sent it out, and ripped into the school to liveline a bait. Within literally 10 seconds, it was engulfed by a 35-pound striper. Everybody got out of their trucks and began casting after that.

I released that beauty and proceeded to back it up with another 20-pounder. Another guy to my left switched up to a white 6-inch paddletail and let it sink to the bottom and he was tied fast to a 20-pound bass. No visual signs were around, but patterns told me those fish were still under the bait school, just not feeding on top. While it’s easy to say morning and evening hours are the best times to see aggressive feeding postures from stripers, know that the fish will always stay with the bait, no matter the time of day. Go down and deep when that happens during mid-day hours. And always know that where you saw bait in a certain area that evening, you’ll be sure it’s a good spot to set up casting plugs at night.

We all have our favorite lures, but sometimes falling into a pattern of what’s comfortable may not be the right choice. When you see bass crashing on top, the go-to thinking would be to switch up to a topwater popper or something that shows surface action. But don’t fall into a groove where poppers will be the only offering they will key in on. Think like a bass. Sure, they may be going with reaction strikes, but there may just be too much commotion going on up top for them to key in on your popper. That’s when you want to go a little slower with a metal lipped swimmer, or even drop down with a big paddletail shad to get down under the schools where smarter, bigger bass lay in wait.

Or if you are comfortable with a favorite swimmer, but see sand eels washing up at your feet, switch to an Ava jig, rubber Felmlee sand eel teaser or something of the like. You always have to be cognizant of what is happening around you and adapt accordingly, no matter what your habitual pattern may suggest.

2017 11 Blitz Strategies Wild November Bass BASS BUNKER
When stripers are keying in on bunker, Storm or Tsunami shads are effective, though a livie can also get the job done.

Give It a Go

Everybody’s schedule is a little different, but most of us have the nights off. So why aren’t you out fishing? Just because you don’t have your main sense of eyesight convincing you bass are there doesn’t mean bass aren’t there feeding like mad. I cannot tell you how many bass are caught under the veil of darkness. My usual go-to night shift lure is a black or blurple Bomber A-Salt, with a white bucktail 3/0 teaser 18 inches ahead of it. Cast out in a cut or slough, which you no doubt have scoped out during the daytime, and work a stretch of beach knowing all the structure points, lining them up with any light pole, dune or house to get your bearings during the night. Ten-, 20-, even 30-bass nights are common when you line up the tides and spots right.

2017 11 Blitz Strategies Wild November Bass NIGHT
“My usual go-to night shift lure is a black or blurple Bomber A-Salt, with a white bucktail 3/0 teaser 18 inches ahead of it,” said the author.

One of the most glorious blitzes I was a part of last year was when Atlantic herring were being bombarded by bass all throughout the morning, afternoon and evening. The only reason I was one of the first on it with two other guys was that I was street-hopping like mad on a 15-mile stretch of coast, looking for life and my prospecting paid off. Of course, the bite was blown up within an hour with the cell phone brigade on it, but I’ll say this, everybody that showed up shoulder to shoulder was on a fish. When it got too crowded, I went against the cardinal rule of leaving fish to find fish, and made a move a mile south to intercept the school, and it paid off big time. Again, rods were bent cast after cast. But you have to be willing to be mobile.

Even if you don’t have a beach buggy permit for the beaches, you can run and gun down the coast to follow or find fish. Do your research and know your parking spots beforehand so you can jump out of the truck and be into fish in an instant.

It’s not easy, and it’s not a given. There will be days of getting blanked when you’ve made the time to go. It happens. I for one, can attest to many fishless nights. But anytime you have time, don’t care if it’s at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., get out to the beach and go fish. Get off the computer, turn off the cell phone, and alert your significant other that you’re going to be away for a few hours.

You never know just when the schools will pound the surf grounds, but I do know that if you’re there, you’ve got a way better shot at catching fish. If you’re not into surf stripers this fall, then you aren’t fishing hard enough. To the victor go the spoils of those putting in the time. This is no time to whine or talk smack on Facebook. The ones that are catching fish consistently don’t have time for that stuff; be one of those guys this year!

2017 11 Blitz Strategies Wild November Bass MATCH HATCH
As the season progresses and new baits like herring arrive on the scene, be prepared to mix and match new plugs like this similarly matched SP Minnow into your bag of tricks.

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