After a summer of smaller baits, I start to get the itch to tie on bigger baits once fall rolls around. Bass are keying in on big, massive shad around this time of the year in the southeastern part of the country. That’s why bigger, shad-imitating baits are a big key for me back home in Mississippi.
For example, instead of throwing a Jackall Rerange 110 jerkbait, I’m going to use a 130. That bigger profile is going to catch the bass’ eyes better and get me bit more often than not. Same thing goes for a spinnerbait: I like a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce green spinnerbait with two willow leaf blades. Do the same thing with a squarebill crankbait, especially if the body of water you’re fishing has gizzard shad.
Bumping up the size even just a little bit can make a huge difference.
Fishing can get pretty tough this time of the year, and it’s really going to be about mind over matter. Those bigger profile baits will produce more bites than those finesse-style baits will this time of the year. I understand that what I’m telling you is typically backwards than what you may usually hear, but it works well for me.
It’s the dry season in the Southeast, so the water is probably going to be pretty low in the backs of creeks. Because of that, I’m looking for anything in the water that could be a target. That’s anything that I can visibly see. It can a single boat dock in the back of a flat pocket or a tree laying down off the bank.
Those fish are going to set up out away from the bank if they can find it because the shad are just now starting to migrate into those creeks.
You should be on the lookout for any target that’s far away from the bank. If there are a few trees in the back of the creek, start with the one that’s the furthest away. Those fish are going to want to suspend near that tree or dock or whatever your target is. The target may be in 20 feet of water, but those fish will be near the top of it.
That’s when you take that big spinnerbait, crankbait or jerkbait and burn it by them. Covering water is so important.
The one thing you have to keep in mind about this kind of fishing is that it’s truly pattern fishing. You’re not going to find big groups of fish doing this, so don’t expect a ton of nonstop bites. If you can find the creek with the best population of bait, that’s going to have the best population of bass, which is going to be your best chance to get bit.
Remember to look for those visible targets and upsize your baits and you will be just fine this fall.