Fall is coming and so is the Fall feed. That means bass will be moving back up to shallow waters and honing in on bait to stuff their faces in preparation for the cold weather and water. Here are our top baits/methods for this early fall transition that you need to try!
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First and foremost, let’s talk topwater. Everyone loves fishing topwater and Fall is prime time. From the anticipation of a bass crushing your lure as you retrieve to the sound mix of the pop and water breaking to the satisfaction of one skyrocketing in the air with your bait hooked in its mouth, topwater is one of the most exciting ways to fish hands down. Topwaterbaits are a great way to mimic fleeing baitfish on the surface and trigger a bass’s competitive instincts to get in on the action. Heres our favorite baits for Fall topwater:
We really love the 75, 90, and even the 110sizes for Smallies and the 110and130sizes for Largemouth. We like using Monofilamentline due to the stretch that gives us a little forgiveness as the fish jump and fight. A lot of anglers will simply steady retrieve this lure, don’t be afraid to throw in some pauses or some jerks to splash some extra water.
Walk-the-dog style baits, such as the Heddon Spook,Spook Jr., or MegabassGiant Dog-X, are a little more subtle than Ploppers and put off a different style of action but are proven to trigger big bites.
Are your treble hooks catching too many weeds? Good old fashion buzzbaits are tried and true topwater lures that can be worked around lily pads, grass and timber without snagging into them. We love the Cavitron Buzzbait from Megastrike that advertises as “The Slowest Buzzbait” and a slow retrieved Buzzbait is often exactly what the fish want!
Swimbaits, swimbaits, swimbaits! We’ll go over 2 options, a hard-bodied and a soft plastic style swimbait. If you are trying to mimic baitfish, swimbaits are perfectly designed for just that. We like fishing our swimbaits in clear to slightly stained water and really love spots that have some current. One of the best tips for swimbait fishing is to slow your retrieve down. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower and see if that helps.
It’s no secret that these swimbaits catch big fish. However, a lot of angler’s associate Bull Shads with BIG swimbaits and rightfully so. With the new Baby Bull Shad measuring in at just 3.75 inches long, anglers don’t have to be intimidated by the 6”, 7”, 8”, or even bigger sizes. The Baby Bull Shad will get more bites than its bigger brothers but if you are on the hunt for a big bite, give one of the bigger sizes a shot. Fishing Online's Noah Heck gives some tips and tricks on how to successfully fish the Baby Bull Shad:
Keitech Swing Impacts
Swing Impacts are one of the most popular soft plastic, boot tail style swimbaits that are proven fish catchers. They come in a variety of sizes and colors but our go-to is the 4” in Green Pumpkin. We like to rig it on an Owner Ultrahead Finesse Jig in the 1/16th ounce 2/0 size. For river/creek Smallies we like to drag this setup across a rocky bottom.
Spinnerbaits are a great baitfish imitator! The blades put off a lot of flash and vibration that trigger some big bites. We love throwing spinnerbaits in slightly stained water when there is some wind to break up the water’s surface. We’ll vary our retrieve speed but we like to get the bait just below the surface. This way, when a bass is looking up and sees your spinnerbait reeling over her, she doesn’t get a good look at it, just sees the flash and reacts! We love the Z-Man SlingBladeZ and 412 Bait Co.’s Phase IV and we’ll use a Keitech Swing Impact as a trailer. Don’t be afraid to mix your trailers up, you don’t always have to use a swimbait style trailer. We have caught some really nice fish using Craws as trailers. Including this gator of a Pike that John Harley caught on a 412 Bait Co Phase IV with 412 SmallJaw Craw trailer.
Let's talk Bottom Baits. When the tough gets going, the going goes finesse. It’s fishing, and no matter what time of the year it is, there will always be slow days when a bite is hard to come by. When that happens, bust out the spinning gear and try out these 2 well-known methods. Shaky Heads and Ned Rigs are known to catch numbers with some quality fish mixed in. Z-man has introduced two new baits that we love to use.
These baits are 5.75 inches long and look like a stick bait but with some added flair on the end. These added appendages can make all the difference between getting a bite and not getting bite. Matt Randolph, a member of our pro-staff, likes to add a rattle and scent to his so the fish can really dial in on it, especially in dirtier water.
Z-Man TRD TicklerZ
Basically, a smaller version of the Bang StickZ, these little guys are an excellent Ned Rig bait. Small, subtle, and perfect to trigger bites on the toughest of days. We like to rig them up on a Z-Man Finesse Shroomz Weedless or an Owner Ultrahead Finesse hook. For both the Shaky head and Ned rig we like to use 8 lb braided line to an 8-foot/8-pound fluorocarbon leader.
We hope this information helps fuel your Fall fishing tactics. Now get out there and get fishing!
- FishOn ProStaff