Strike King pro Shaw Grigsby gives anglers all the tips and tricks for landing big bites in Zone 1 during September.
“September is not so much different than typical summertime fishing, as the Fall pattern doesn’t really break until late October. With hot summertime temperatures dropping overnight, the early morning bite is what I’m typically trying to take advantage of before temps begin to climb later in the day,” begins Grigsby.
“If you want to beat the heat – go at night! The night bite can make for some unforgettable action this time of year. You’ll want to change your approach based on how much light you have, whether that light comes from the moon or lighted docks. On dark evenings, making noise is key. Buzzbaits, a Sexy Dawg, or swimming a Rage Toad can be killer. During moon-lit evenings, I like a dark-colored spinnerbait like the Strike King Tour Grade Night Spinnerbait. I also like a 7” Mag-Cut-R-Worm and other dark-colored soft plastics. Don’t forget about lighted docks and boat ramps! The lights attract bugs, which attract bluegill, which attract bass. I love a KVD 1.5 in these situations,” says Grigsby.
“Back to the daytime… This time of year can mean wonderful early morning and late evening bites. If loud baits aren’t triggering strikes, I immediately go to fishing something quieter like a swim jig, Thunder Cricket or spinnerbait. The spinnerbait often gets overlooked because of the emergence of bladed jigs, but sometimes the bass prefer the spinnerbait since everyone is using bladed jigs now,” advises Grigsby.
“If your lakes have vegetation, that’s the first thing I’m keying in on in the morning because of how it attracts minnows, shad, shrimp, and other bait species. Every lake is a little different, but one thing is certain – vegetation produces oxygen which will attract bait and bass. In more stagnant bodies of water without water movement, you’ll want to key in on the upper portion of the water column because that’s where the oxygen will be most available, typically, 0- to 7-feet,” Grigsby shares.
Let’s hop into to Grigsby’s top bait choices for September.
If the water is clear, Grigsby prefers Clear Water Minnow. In stained water, he switches to Bone. For muddy water, he will favor a Black Lab.
“The Sexy Dawg does well at mimicking an injured baitfish. Cast it out, give it 3-5 seconds before you work the bait. Some of the biggest fish I’ve ever caught have come after the ripples have settled from the bait hitting the water. Twitch it slow. Your job each morning is to figure out what the fish want in terms of cadence. Keep changing it up until you dial in the best cadence,” says Grigsby.
BONUS TIP: Use a J300 Elite if you find schooling fish. Hit them with the Sexy Dawg when they’re on top, then follow up with the jerkbait when they go back down to deeper depths.
Grigsby’s choice remains consistent whether he is fishing in clear, stained, or muddy water – White or Black.
“This is a ‘sleeper’ buzzbait. Its unique design keeps it from getting caught up in the grass. Don’t forget a trailer hook! I always have a Black buzzbait and White buzzbait tied on regardless of water clarity. It’s more about determining whether the bass are actively feeding on shad, which is when they might prefer white. Generally, I’m picking up the Black buzzbait first and switching to White if I’m not getting a lot of bites,” Grigsby shares.
BONUS TIP: Pick up a Skip’N Buzz if you encounter docks or overhanging timber.
He opts for Green Gizzard in clear water, and switches to Bully if the water is stained. Oyster is his choice in low-vis conditions.
“Throwing it at grass edges, scattered submergent grass. This bait is new enough that it presents something truly unique. Unique can be the key when fish become conditioned to other baits. I’m using this in a lot of the situations where I might have picked up a spinnerbait or squarebill before. The Jr. size will trigger more strikes, but don’t be afraid to upsize to standard Hybrid Hunter to target bigger fish,” advises Grigsby.
If the water is clear, he will throw Okeechobee Craw Scounbug, while more stained water calls for Blue Bug. Black Blue Flake is Grigsby’s go-to in muddy conditions.
“In the afternoon, I’m sticking to flipping plastics in and around the grass. If I’m fishing mid-day, that’s what I’m doing 90% of the time. I’ll also rig up a 7” Cut-R Worm or Zeus Worm in these situations as well,” Grigsby says.
He opts for White Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig in clear water. If the water is stained, he will throw the Bluegill, while he will switch to Black and Blue if the water is muddy. He also likes to add a Scounbug trailer to this set up.
“There’s rarely a time that I don’t have at least two swim jigs tied on. There’s a lot of reasons I like it. Great weed guard, great diameter hook, and a head design to come through cover. You don’t have to just swim it. I pitch it around the weeds. Fish tend to like the slower fall which is why I opt for the ¼ oz. If they aren’t chewing on the louder, more active baits, I’m immediately opting for the swim jig,” shares Grigsby.