More than any magic bait or secret location, confidence is the unique component any angler must have to be productive on the water. Anglers have to be confident in the fishing locations, and confident in the baits to present. In the fall, I believe bait confidence is more important than location. I rely on bait confidence over locations because I plan to cover a lot of water. I’m going to put my trolling motor down and fish what’s in front of me. Location in the fall, while relevant, isn’t as important to me as knowing the bait I’m presenting will catch bass. I know when I cross paths with a bass, the bass will eat. My fall lure choices are very specific.
I have three confidence baits for fall bass fishing, and all of them are considered power fishing. To me, power fishing is using baits which cover a lot of water quickly. Power fishing is also aggressive fishing; I want baits to crash into cover, move branches, and make a lot of noise in the water. My fall lure choices are squarebill crankbaits, vibrating jigs, and spinnerbaits. Each has their applications depending on weather, water, and forage.
Squarebill Crankbaits are my all-time favorite bait to use in the fall. I can cover a ton of water, they are virtually snagless, and attract large bass. Crashing them through brush, against timber, or into dock pilings can trigger some violent strikes. Oddly enough, the squarebill crankbait is an excellent choice for tight-lipped bass. The defection created by a squarebill crankbait hitting an object will trigger a reaction strike from a lazy post-front bass.
Spinnerbaits are a go to when I have schools of shad in the area. I like a double willow leaf blade combination to generate as much flash as possible. All the flash mimics a small school of shad, which is a primary food source for bass in the fall. I still look for cover, strike zones, and funnels to retrieve the spinnerbait through. When the spinnerbait hits a piece of cover, pause it and let it flutter for a second. If there isn’t a strike as I wind my bait to the cover, this flutter will drive a stationary bass crazy, and they can’t help but eat it.
I like vibrating jigs when the water is dirty, or weather conditions prevent accurately casting a spinnerbait. I also opt for a vibrating jig when bass are feeding on larger prey. If the lake’s primary forage is bream, bluegill, or gizzard shad, I opt for the thump of the vibrating jig over the vibration of the spinnerbait or squarebill. Still casting to targets along the bank, I’ll cast the vibrating jig past the target and retrieve it around cover. Unless using the Crazy Jig, a weedless version by NuTech Lures, it’s important to maintain a steady retrieve when coming through cover with a vibrating jig. While a vibrating jig has some inherent snagless capabilities, the open hook will cause problems if allowed to drop into cover. The exaggerated thump created by this bait pulls bass from cover to attack it, so retrieves to the side, above or below cover are still effective.
Keep a squarebill crankbait, spinnerbait, and vibrating jig in the appropriate colors tied on this fall. Anglers who stay versatile and swap between these three lures will cover more water. Covering water means finding more bass willing to eat. More bass willing to eat means a very productive day. Give these fall lure choices a try, anglers who do will find they catch more bass.
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