The weather is changing, and it’s getting a little cooler out there. You might be thinking it’s time to pack up your gear and start thinking about next season.
Stop right there.
You’re missing out on prime bass fishing time since they’re looking to feed and stock up for the cold winter ahead. The main reason why a lot of anglers overlook fall bass fishing is that they don’t understand how to catch them.
Bass and fish, in general, are cold-blooded, so their habits and patterns change with the weather, you need to do the same. We’ll talk about everything you need to know to have success this fall with your bass fishing game.
How Fall Changes the Game
Truth be told, I’m a cold-weather angler. I prefer fishing when it’s cooler out because not only is it more comfortable for me. I think I have better luck with bass, which is my favorite fish to track.
During the summer when it’s hot, bass tend to spend more time in deeper water to stay cool. They only go towards the shallows in the early morning and at dusk, primarily during spawning season in late spring into summer.
Come fall, bass will start making their ways towards shallow water more frequently, but most importantly, they’ll hang out around drops and ledges of creeks and rivers. These are the points where rivers meet ponds and lakes, and this is precisely where you want to look for bass.
The main reason they spend a lot of time in this area is that they feed on the shad and crawfish that work their way down the river to the lake at this time of year. They will feed on these resources endlessly to fill their bellies.
Presenting the Bait
For your presentation, you can use a jig, but you want to cover as much water as possible and keep it moving. You can decide the type of jig you want based on the amount of cover you’re dealing with.
During a sunny day, you want to use bright colors like yellows, oranges, and greens. If you’re dealing with an overcast or cloudy day, go for natural colors like white, brown, and black.
If you take away one thing from this section is that you want to fish structure changes in the ground and if possible, drop-offs where creeks and rivers meet lakes and ponds, you’ll have the best chance in these areas.
Fishing Shallow and Mid-Depth
- Fishing along creek channels
- Cover a lot of water quickly
- 50 degrees or fewer permits changes in bass fishing habits
The next choice you’ll have is what type of water to fish and how deep you want to present your lure.
For shallow water, I would suggest fishing a shallow flat close to the creek channels using a shallow squarebill or football jig. You’ll have an easy time finding bass in shallow waters during fall because that is where they go to feed.
For mid-depth water use a crankbait and keep that thing moving. Cover a lot of water and ensure that you never drag it because fall is primetime for clear water and you want to keep your presentation neat and tidy.
Keep in mind the temperature of the water as well. Fall is different for all of us, and some of these rules may not apply to you until winter. Some of you may experience these habitual changes in August. We’re talking water temperatures around the 50-degree mark or less, whenever that happens for you.
Fishing Deeper Waters
- Test the waters with cranks and jerks to find schools
- Use swimbaits to catch larger bass
- Present with the right head
If you find yourself looking for larger bass in deeper waters, you’ll want to change your strategy entirely. Based on a lot of advice, many anglers tell me that more giant bass will stick around in the deep water longer than smaller bass. There’s a great strategy to try and bypass some of the smaller bass and get straight to the goods.
For trophy bass, you want to start out with your cranks and jerks to try and find schools of bass. Once you find a honey hole, you’ll want to switch over to a swimbait and present it around ten feet deeper to catch the four pounders.
When you’re choosing your bait, you want to go with a swimbait that makes a lot of noise because you’ll need to divert their attention away from baitfish like shad.
The most important thing to remember is the presentation of your swimbait is key. Each one requires a different strategy to get the most action, so you want to pay attention to the heads you’re using. Go with a half-ounce for deeper fishing and a ⅛ ounce for shallows.
For all you topwater anglers out there, I haven’t forgotten about you. It’s possible for you to catch bass in the fall as well believe it or not. We all know that summer is primetime for topwaters, but you want to pay attention to the surface.
If you still see a lot of bass breaking the surface, you might be able to toss a spook out there and get lucky. Bass are predators, and they love picking on the weak so they may think that the lure is a fleeing fish and have no choice but to strike it.
There are two major things to remember when fishing topwaters in the fall.
- Number one: You need to see schooling fish beneath the surface. If you have a fish finder, you should see them in a few feet of water underneath the boat.
- Number two: There needs to be a consistent flow of bass breaking the surface to fish topwaters in the fall.
Top 5 Fall Bass Fishing Baits
- Lipless Crankbaits – I believe that crankbaits are the best choice for fall fishing because this is the time when bass are ganging up on schools of shad. Find yourself a place with plenty of cover near running water like a creek or river. You will kill it here all day with a lipless crankbait.
- Spinnerbaits – You want to stay on top of the fishing figuratively and literally. Something your crankbaits dip too low for the shallow water which screws up your presentation. Hitting the water with a spinnerbait will help with your presentation by keeping you on top of the schools. Choose your blade based on water clarity, single silver for foggy, and double for clear.
- Topwater Walkers and Buzzbaits – I am not a fan of topwater lures but using a buzz bait is never a wrong choice if you find a school. I would recommend using a jerk or spinner first, and once you locate the school switch over to a buzzer to get them worked up a little.
- Rubber Worms – Worms are my go-to when I’m dealing with a lot of cover. If the bass aren’t biting any of the other options, it might be the size of your lure and the time of day. Fishing in the evening isn’t ideal, but I like using rubber worms and sticking to the cover. Slowing down your presentation with the worm helps as well.
- Swimbaits – These are great for deeper waters and larger bass. As we said previously, you want to warm them up with a jerk or crank and then switch over for bigger fish. Make sure you do some serious research from industry experts on swimbaits, they are difficult to fish with but deadly if you figure them out.
Fall Fishing Final Thoughts
Now you can stop putting away your gear and get excited to get back out on the water. Fall fishing is alive and well, and you have an incredible opportunity to hone your skills.
Fishing in the fall requires a change in habit from what we’re used to, but there are still months of great fishing before the water freezes and we start talking about ice fishing.
If you have any tips or tricks for fishing in the fall, be sure to drop me a comment!