By Lynn Burkhead

By Lynn Burkhead


Herald Democrat


The old television commercial said that when E.F. Hutton talked about finances, it paid to listen.


When it comes to bass fishing success, a similar thing could be said concerning anglers who are skilled at catching fish.


Especially in the autumn quarter of the year when bass are aggressively feeding up on baitfish for the coming winter.


"It’s a numbers game in the fall (with aggressive, schooling fish)," said Major League Fishing pro Byron Velvick when asked about the fall’s big appeal for bass anglers.


"You’re just trying to cover a lot of water," he added.


And trying to find fish.


Which can make not finding fish a particularly frustrating endeavor, especially at this time of the year.


"You’re wanting to throw into a place where you know that there are a number of fish feeding actively," said Velvick. "You know there’s an aggressive bite somewhere on the lake."


So how do you go about finding that aggressive bite at this time of year?


In Velvick’s case, you start by taking a page from one of the sport’s all-time best bass fishing pros.


"I learned a long time ago from Rick Clunn that in October, most tournaments are always won in the backs of bays, in the backs of pockets, in the backs of coves, in the backs of washes," said Velvick.


You remember Clunn, the first man to win four Bassmaster Classic championship trophies (before MLF pro Kevin VanDam also accomplished the feat).


In addition to his four Classic triumphs — and his 32 Classic appearances — Clunn is also a winner of 10 other B.A.S.S. events and $2.1 million in career earnings.


The Missouri bass fishing legend has finished as a B.A.S.S. tournament runner-up 14 times while also finishing in third place some 11 times.


What’s more, Clunn has a staggering 106 "Top 10," 171 "Top 20 finishes, and 283 "Top 50" finishes in 394 career B.A.S.S. events.


In other words, Rick Clunn is the best of the best in bass fishing, the E.F. Hutton of his sport.


Which explains why that early on in his career, Velvick knew that it would pay to listen to Clunn’s advice on fall fishing.


It wouldn’t take Velvick long to discover why.


"Because bait gets pushed to the back," said Velvick. "From October on, it’s a key time to get off the main lake.


"You can almost eliminate 80 to 90 percent of the lake because in October, it’s rare that those fish are still out in the main lake.


"They are almost always in those shallow back pockets."