DAVID DUDLEY: Smaller Swimbaits, Even Crappie Jigs, Help Me Get Bit in the Fall - Major League Fishing
DAVID DUDLEY: Smaller Swimbaits, Even Crappie Jigs, Help Me Get Bit in the Fall
3y • David Dudley • Angler Columns
EDWIN EVERS: From nerves to excitement as REDCREST 2024 gets underway
1m • Edwin Evers • Bass Pro Tour
DREW GILL: Pure forward-facing is not for everyone
1m • Drew Gill • Angler Columns
EDWIN EVERS: Out of the frying pan, back into the fire
2m • Edwin Evers • Bass Pro Tour
GRAE BUCK: Embracing the pressure of the Bass Pro Tour
2m • Grae Buck • Bass Pro Tour
MICHAEL NEAL: Bass Pro Tour rookies to watch in 2024
2m • Michael Neal • Angler Columns
JACOB WHEELER: 2024 will be ‘the great reset’
2m • Jacob Wheeler • Angler Columns
EDWIN EVERS: What’s all the fuss about forward-facing sonar?
3m • Edwin Evers • Bass Pro Tour
FLETCHER SHRYOCK: Preparation and versatility are key to success in 2024
5m • Fletcher Shryock • Angler Columns
BRADLEY ROY: Change your mindset to catch more fish in the fall
5m • Bradley Roy • Angler Columns
JOHN MURRAY: I’m returning to my West Coast tournament roots this week
6m • John Murray • Angler Columns
MATT LEE: Mercury pro’s blunt assessment of his 2023 Bass Pro Tour season
8m • Matt Lee • Angler Columns
JACOB WHEELER: The Freeloader made Guntersville a special win
10m • Jacob Wheeler • Angler Columns
ALEX DAVIS: Bass Pro Tour anglers are in for a treat at Guntersville (but bring some Band-Aids)
11m • Alex Davis • Angler Columns
KEVIN VANDAM: ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’
11m • Kevin VanDam • Angler Columns

DAVID DUDLEY: Smaller Swimbaits, Even Crappie Jigs, Help Me Get Bit in the Fall

Image for DAVID DUDLEY: Smaller Swimbaits, Even Crappie Jigs, Help Me Get Bit in the Fall
David Dudley explains why he downsizes his swimbaits and even reaches for crappie jigs when fall rolls around. Photo by Josh Gassmann
October 21, 2020 • David Dudley • Angler Columns

We’re in the thick of fall fishing right now as we sit in the middle of October. It can be tough sometimes, for sure. But, if you have the right bait tied on, it can make all the difference, especially if that bait is a little bit different than what the fish normally see.

A really small swimbait (or even a crappie jig) is something that I discovered can work really well this time of the year to get multiple bites.

I learned fishing around my home in Virginia that crappie-style swimbaits are great in the fall, and that held true even during my travels across the country. You may pick a technique up when you’re back home, but you never know if it’s going to work somewhere else unless you try it.

Well, this is battle-tested for me.

Here’s How and When I Use It

Crappie-style baits that imitate shad are perfect for catching fall bass because the presentation is so much smaller than other baits. The shad are small, so you don’t necessarily need a big bait to fool these fish.

I usually go with a 2.8-inch swimbait because I think anything over 3 inches is getting too big. When you’re working in the back of creeks and you see those bass busting on shad, that’s when you should reach for these kind of baits. I like to use them with a 4- to 6-pound test leader with 10-pound braid to help me with my casting distance.

I just mentioned doing this in the backs of creeks, but you don’t necessarily need to be in the back of a creek to try this out. Anywhere that you think there’s a fish around, I suggest using this technique.

When it comes to the retrieve, the fish are going to tell you how fast or slow you bring that bait back in. Sometimes they’re going to want it fast, so you have to up the gear ratio in your reel and put a bigger weight on. Even with a smaller bait, you might need to bump up the weight from 1/8-ounce to 1/4-ounce to get the desired speed on the retrieve.

Let me be clear, I don’t know for sure that this technique is going to help you catch a personal best, but it’s definitely going to help you get bass in the boat.

I hate fishing in the fall and I think it’s about as tough as it can be. However, when you downsize those swimbaits, it makes it a whole lot easier than trying to beat your head against a wall working a big topwater or crankbait. The fish that are chasing shad are not going to be the biggest fish in the body of water. But, if you’re looking to just get bit, then this may be the best strategy this fall.