I don’t really fish a lot during the fall when I’m back home in South Carolina. Not because I don’t want to, I just think it gets really tough out here this time of the year.
With that being said, there are still some techniques and things I like to do that can get me a lot of bites in a short amount of time. The main thing I like to do that is probably a little bit different than most guys is drop-shotting a full-sized, white, soft-plastic jerkbait like a Berkley Jerk Shad in late fall.
I first came up with this idea when I was fishing drop-shots in the winter with worms and other smaller baits. I knew the fish were feeding on shad out deep, so I thought to myself, “Man, it would really be nice to get this jerkbait down there so they can bite that.”
With that in mind, I started playing around with the idea, and trying to find the perfect combination of weights to get it to work.
I know it seems a little off-the-wall, but I’ve had a lot of success doing it over the years when it starts getting pretty cold. To use this technique in the best way possible, here’s what I like to use in terms of tackle: a 3/16- to 1/4-ounce belly-weighted hook, a 1- to 1.5-ounce drop-shot weight on a 5- to 6-foot leader, 14-pound fluorocarbon and a casting rod.
That heavy drop-shot weight carries that bait all the way down to the bottom really fast, and then you just fish it like a spoon.
Once it hits the bottom, you pop it back up and let it flutter back down to the bottom. That weighted hook is going to help as well because you’re going to have a lot of resistance with a lot of line. I want that jerkbait to get down there as fast as possible, so that weighted hook is very important. Most of the time I can barely get it to the bottom before a bass comes over to grab it.
Back home on Lake Murray, I use this technique in about 28 feet of water. It doesn’t get super deep there, but if I’m on Lake Lanier, I wouldn’t be shy trying this at around 50 feet. As long as you can see shad or bass on your electronics, the depth shouldn’t be too big of a concern. Just drop this bait down on balls of bait and there’s probably bass there waiting to eat it.
The biggest thing is that you want this bait to fall on slacked line. Remember, you’re fishing this bait like you would a spoon, so you’ll need that line out so it can get to the bottom. Unlike a spoon, if a fish bites this on the way down, he’s going to hold onto it longer because it’s a soft plastic instead of that hard spoon.
Give this a try this fall when you need a bite or two. It’s worked for me and I’d bet it will work for you as well.