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Published Oct. 1, 2005

It's what's up front that counts. At least if you plan to catch bass consistently this time of year. Reading weather patterns correctly and adjusting your presentation accordingly are necessities if you intend to catch your limit. Cold fronts will push down from the north regularly, creating high blue skies and bright sunshine, making the bass wary. They will either move tight to cover or retrench to a deeper breakline.

There are two presentation possibilities. The acclaimed method is to fish heavy cover slowly, flipping soft plastic baits into or adjacent to the heaviest cover you can realistically fish. Canopy cover such as dense hydrilla, lily pads or a dense reed line provide the best opportunities.

The other method is to move to deeper water that offers scattered grassbeds. Scour these areas with rattling crankbaits searching for reaction strikes from fish that are in a neutral state. Ambivalent bass are tough to catch. If you utilize techniques that appeal to the fish's predilection toward violent reaction, as opposed to finesse fishing and downsizing of baits, you might be pleasantly surprised.

_ Joe DiMaio frequently can be found on the tournament trail.