Lures for fall bass fishing will consist of almost anything you have in your tackle box. Fall bass are feeding heavily and you will be able to catch them on a variety of patterns and baits though out any given day on the water. You may start the day with a buzz bait and catch several, then the sun comes up and you switch to a spinnerbait and continue catching fish and then to finish the day you would like to feel that tap of a big largemouth bass inhaling a jig so you pitch one to a dock and set the hook on the biggest fish of the day. The fall is a great time to fish! The cooler water temperatures being more comfortable for bass and the fall migration of bait fish pull hungry bass to the shallows to feed up for winter. Sure some lures and patterns will produce better than others and I’m going to cover some things that have worked for me.
Top water all day long.
Have you ever tried a buzzbait or surface frog around shoreline cover at high noon in the fall? You should, top water baits are not limited to low light conditions, especially in the fall. Large bass are cruising the shallows feeding up for the winter and a top water bait is a very easy prey that will draw strikes from long distances and through heavy vegetation.
Popper type baits such as a Rebel Pop “R” or a Yellow Magic are great baits to mimic the shad that are migrating to the backs of major creek arms this time of year. They can be worked fairly quickly to allow you to cover quite a bit of water in a short period of time. I generally use a 2-3 twitch then 2-3 second pause rhythm. You may have to vary it to find what is working for the day.
Normally a medium to fast retrieve is affective this time of year as bass are aggressive. However use plenty of pauses in your retrieves (except with buzz baits) to create an erratic and injured effect. When retrieving a buzz bait you can use twitches to get extra noise and spit from the blades, this will simulate a pause and this erratic twitch can draw some explosive strikes from bass that are just content to watch it swim by.
Spinnerbaits around vegetation.
Spinnerbaits are great for covering water. My favorite application is in scattered grass on windblown banks. Bait fish get pushed up on the banks and bass lay in the grass waiting for a ball of bait fish to come by to ambush. A double willow leaf bladed spinnerbait works best in clear to stained water. The two blades generate a lot of flash and mimic a small school of bait versus one larger fish. If you have muddy water an Indiana blade under a Colorado blade will give you some flash and some extra vibration to help bass find your bait.
There are several retrieves that can be productive and you’ll just have to experiment with your water and once you find something that is working don’t be afraid to change it up if the bite slows down. My favorite presentation is to run the bait just under the surface where the blades are making a wake. Several times during a cast I will twitch the rod tip to cause the blades to break the surface. This does two things, first the blades flutter erratically and second they will bang together making noise. This drives bass crazy. If that doesn’t work then try a medium retrieve that just ticks the top of any vegetation in the area, again hitting the vegetation will cause the blades to flutter giving an erratic presentation. And finally if neither of those work I’ll slow roll it just off the bottom trying to bump into anything that may be there, rocks, logs, or dock pilings, any cover you have available.
Rattle traps in the grass.
I love a rattle trap in scattered grass. They are great for active and in-active fish. Retrieve your bait just fast enough that it is scrapping the top of the vegetation in the area. When you feel your bait load up with the vegetation give it a snap to rip it free. This ripping action can draw strikes from active feeding fish and as a reaction strike in-active fish. It’s a great way to cover a lot of water looking for the shad and that hot spot. Once you find it you can catch fish on every cast for several minutes.
Carolina rigs on points and flats.
This is a slower presentation but very effective on points and flats. Again you can cover a lot of water while searching for that sweet spot and once you find it, repeated casts to the same spot can pay off big dividends this time of year. I like to use baby brush hogs and fluke type baits in pearl or water melon colors trying to mimic the bait fish that are present. Find points in the back half of creek arms, I like to start shallow and work my way deeper. Usually the shallower fish will be more active. Also windblown points are going to have more active fish than the leeward side of the creek arm. Vegetation and timber are a plus as they create ambush points for fish. Keep your rod tip low to the water when pulling your bait across the bottom, this will help ensure that your weight stays on the bottom digging up dust and causing your bait to bounce and jerk behind it.
While this is the slowest presentation for covering water that you can use this time of year it has been the most effective for putting kicker fish in the boat for me. I am fortunate and have a ton of hydrilla on most of my lakes. After filling a limit I can head to creek channels and find where they swing against the hydrilla and start punching heavy weight baits through the grass to catch a kicker fish. I may hit a 10 yard spot and if I don’t get a bite or don’t see shad in the area I will move to another key location. Punching in the fall is no different than any other presentation, keep searching until you find that key spot and then saturate it. Heavy weight baits do two things, one obviously you need to get your bait through vegetation and two the fast fall created when it does get through the surface mat creates a reaction strike scenario for the bass underneath; either smack it or let it fly by.
If you didn’t notice I’ll say it now, everything I do I like to have an erratic retrieve. There are enormous amounts of bait fish in the faces of bass all day long this time of year and you have to do something that will trigger a strike. Erratic action kicks a bass’s instinct in and he can’t help but strike!
Get the Net It’s a Hawg Mike Cork
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