Jason Lambert lists the two baits he loves to throw in the early fall. Photo by Josh Gassmann

We’re officially into September, kind of the unofficial start of fall in the fishing world. While it’s still pretty hot across the country, it’s never too soon to start thinking and planning for that early-fall bite.

Down here in Alabama, our bass start chasing really tiny shad this time of the year. Those shad are maybe only 1 to 2 inches long, so you really need to pick out some baits that are going to mimic that size and shape.

You’ll be able to visually see where bass are chasing shad, so that’s where you should start. Look for those shad on the grass line and in the backs of creeks where it’s pretty shallow.

Once I’m there, I like to go with two different baits around this time of the year: a white fluke and a spoon. You’re obviously going to have to downsize to match the smaller shad and you shouldn’t expect to catch your personal best like you would in spring. However, what these fish lack in size, they make up for in numbers. This is my favorite time of the year to just catch a ton of bass in a short amount of time.

Pulling up to a school of shad, there’s going to be so many bass hanging around and ready to eat. That’s why I like a fluke and a spoon for this. A simple white-colored fluke and a Mann’s Little George spoon can be the perfect thing to entice those bass.

Make your cast directly into the school of shad or just a little beyond it. The spoon should just be a steady retrieve while working the fluke like a normal soft-plastic jerkbait with an erratic action.

My Tackle for Flukes, Small Spoons

In terms of what kind of tackle I use for these, it’s pretty much the same for both. Both baits are small so you’re going to need to go with a spinning rod setup.

I use my Signature Series Duckett 7-foot-2 medium-heavy rod with 20-pound Yo-Zuri Superbraid to an 8-pound Yo-Zuri H.D. Carbon fluorocarbon leader. That leader really allows me to cast better and longer. It also doesn’t twist up as bad as just straight fluoro would.

Like I said earlier, while the fish aren’t going to be massive, this is still a really fun time to fish because it’s a lot more visual. You aren’t going to have to sit around and wait for a long time while dragging a worm just to get bit.

This is also when I like to bring kids out fishing. The kids won’t be bored this time of the year because there’s plenty of fish to be caught. It’s a good way to get to spend time with your family outside and create a lot of memories catching fish.

If you find the shad and tie on those two baits, you’ll have a great time on the water.