Fall Bass Action Heats Up | News, Sports, Jobs
Fall is the perfect time to fish locally in pursuit of line-tending bass. How and where to catch these often elusive underwater creatures can be tricky. What we’ve discovered over the years is that fall is the perfect time not only to take advantage of the change of season, but also to make the boat a trophy bar.
Every time we’ve been out after Labor Day for the past few years, we’ve had at least one stem setup for the boot. As the water temperature begins to drop, another rod will be installed for a lipless crank.
If the conditions line up right, you can definitely catch big fall bass by digging deep into creek mouths throughout the fall. A more consistent pattern is achieved by using shallow, square-billed, mid-depth lures.
Target the shallow plains around Mayville and Lakewood. Most bass will be shallow at this time of year. These flats are natural stopping points whenever you’re out on the water. With a crankbait they can work fast or slow if you get bitten.
If the water is stained, fish shallow with a shallow square bill. In dirty water, the bass will be tied to the structure and hang around weed beds, stumps and deposits. For moderately clear water, step back and target 6-8 foot water with a small square beak. Just about any 200 series will work.
Cover the water quickly. The key to fall fishing is to get the trolling motor high and keep going until you find something worth casting multiple times. The fish are going to be in groups, so it’s important to move quickly until you find a school of active fish. The faster you eliminate the dead water, the faster you can tackle a big bag of fish.
You can catch hundreds of bass on lures throughout the fall, but your biggest fish will move shallow when the water temperature hits 50 degrees.
Keep changing it. Try shad patterns almost exclusively in the fall. We have noticed that in the fall, bars can get very picky when they are in school. If you’re getting short strikes, it’s probably not a color issue. More than likely, they want a different action. Try switching between wide and flat baits for the best results, as each school you find will be different.
Jerkbaits are extremely overlooked lures for catching school bass in the fall. Schools of fish are not difficult to locate at this time of year, which means they come under a lot of pressure from anglers. If you encounter a suspicious school, a jerkbait is the way to go.
This is the time of year to be aggressive, force a reaction bite. Jerkbaits are so effective in the fall because their aggressive, cutting action forces a bass to react. Remember that bass feed a lot because they are fattening up for the winter months.
Stick with simple colors. There’s no need to get too fancy with your jerkbait color selection. Keep it simple. On cloudy days or in low light conditions, stick with a matte shad pattern to allow the fish to get a better bead on it. When the weather is nice, you can’t beat brighter colors like chrome because its flash will attract bass from afar to eat it.
In the fall, if you’re fishing in windy weather, don’t fight the wind, play it. You have to throw a jerkbait. You’ll still catch some on other reaction baits, but windy conditions bring the big ones out of the woodwork. Focus on shallow side spots and windblown gravel bars if you’re looking for bigger fish. They’ll show up quickly, so there’s no need to soak an area if you don’t get a few bites.
Fishing with swim baits is a great way to catch giant fall bass, while other jet baits are mostly used to cover water.
When fishing with swimbaits it is so important to find a swimbait that does two things. You want the tail to produce a lot of “to bump” and you also need the body to swing from side to side. There are a bunch of good swimbaits on the market, but the Yamamoto swimbait was the best when it was introduced and in my opinion is still the best.
Use a crankbait, jerkbait, lipless crankbait and topwater plug to find shoals, but when I find them I’ll use a swimbait to catch the bigger fish. It’s a great way to shoot down in schools in the fall. 1 and 2-pounders can explode on top, and you can catch big 4-pounders from below with a swim bait. You won’t get as many bites, but the bites you do get will be big.
Each swimbait has a specific cadence that gives it the most action. In a sense, you’re trapped at a certain reel speed, so “go slower” is not the solution to go further, but here’s a little trick: you must add weight so as not to modify your recovery speed. What I like about Yamamoto swimbaits is that they can be fished slowly so I will have three different head sizes fitted a 1/8 ounce head for shallow coverage, a 1/ 4 ounce for mid-depth coverage and a 1/2 ounce Head for fishing deeper structure.
If you see a lot of schooling bass breaking the surface, it’s always a good idea to throw in some surface water before leaving the area. Whether you’re casting a walking or popping surface water, it’s important to cast long and fish quickly.
Catching big fish with walking bait is one of the most exciting ways to catch any fish, but a big mouth exploding out of the water will give you a thrill that will last all winter long. Surface baits that work absolutely catch bigger fish in the fall and I think that’s because they really trigger a bass’ predatory instincts. This big bass thinks something is trying to get away and she can’t stop attacking it.
Tired of short strikes on your surface lures? In order to hook more bass, reel in your lure when it comes back halfway to the boat. Most short strikes occur while the lure is close to the boat.
If you’re looking to get more bites out of a popper, you’ll need to start using a small surface popper, so when it’s tough and a limit will get you far, this is the way to go. The farther you cast it, the more fish you will catch, so long casts are key.
Fall bass is a ton of fun and can be very exciting. This fall, before winterizing the boat too soon, take a few more trips on the lake and create some memories for the coming winter months.