Fall definitely isn’t the easiest time to catch a bass, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch ‘em. Obviously, locating the baitfish is going to be the biggest key, but once you do that, another big part of the equation is choosing the right bait yourself. I have five excellent baits that I rotate between when the weather starts to cool down, and I think they could definitely help you out if you’re trying to get bit this fall.
Fall, in my mind, is a great time to catch topwater fish. It’s also a fantastic way to cover a lot of water when the fish are active and chasing bait. I go with 30-pound braid to a 12-pound monofilament leader for my line. I love to use this bait around schooling fish over the middle of pockets of baitfish that are suspended.
The fall is squarebill central in my mind. It’s hard to beat a shad-colored squarebill when the bait is pushed up around rocks, laydowns and trees. Any sort of hard cover is what you should be looking for with bait around. The erratic action that the squarebill creates when it bounces off of those hard objects is something bass just want to eat. Spooling on 12-pound fluorocarbon is also going to be your best bet for line.
Since the bass are really keyed-in on bait this time of the year, a swimbait like this one must be one of my go-to’s. I love this bait because you can fish it out deep or you can fish it shallow in the backs of creeks. Just locate a ball of bait and run this swimbait through there in anything from 3 to 12 feet of water. I recommend spooling 8- to 10-pound fluorocarbon onto a 6.3:1 reel.
This is a great bait to have at your disposal in the fall. I love using it on windy days, but anytime during the fall would be the right time to tie one on. A white/chartreuse or any shad pattern is what I’m going to go with this time of the year. As for my blades, I really like to go with a willow blade, usually double silver willow blades. However, there are times when I’ll go with a smaller Indiana-style blade to slow it down more if the bait is bigger.
I turn to a Red Eye Shad when I’m fishing big bait flats. If you go into a pocket of a creek and there’s a drain or a low spot, there’s going to be bait across that flat. The usual depth for this method is around 6 feet, but it can also work for depths that are shallower than that.
Remember to not get discouraged if you’re not getting bit right away. Think of the fall kind of like the spring in that you’re going to be doing a lot of moving as opposed to just sitting on a point or a hump like you would in the summer. The quality of the fishing is going to change throughout the day in the fall. One hour may be great, the next not so much. Just stay patient and you can still get plenty of bites when your timing is right.