The Tips You Need for the Best Fall Bass Fishing
September, October, November… the days are a bit shorter, a little cooler; you might need a long sleeve shirt, or pants instead of shorts for those early morning kayak trips. The water temps are dropping, leaves are being blown along the surface; collecting in bays or bends in the creeks… and nothing could be better than fall bass fishing.
Tips for the Best Fall Fishing
The transition from summer to fall has begun and it is time to enjoy violent strikes from the most aggressive bass of the year. They are feeding up for the winter and will attack anything that comes close, so you might want to hold on tight.
You can catch fish all day, but the late afternoon bite (last three hours before dark) can be absolutely on fire. Choosing shallow water creeks or flats - with a lot of stumps or lay downs - will provide an opportunity for the most memorable fishing. And the best thing about it, there are fairly simple and consistent patterns that repeat year after year.
Where Bass Go In The Fall
Paddle, pedal or motor across the flat or up that creek throwing at every piece of wood you can find. It really doesn’t matter how shallow, or how small the piece of wood, toss a bait past it. Allow enough distance in your cast to get the bait moving before it reaches the target; don’t land on the target, throw three to “as many as you can” feet past it and start your retrieve – preferably casting upstream and pulling the bait with the current. The extra distance past the cover is to keep from spooking the fish, and the direction seems to work better. Most bass this time of year will give you one shot, one, so the cast is important. Again, do not worry about too shallow or too small when choosing cover to target. You may not be able to see the bass on that twig sitting in six inches of water, and it will surprise you to find them there, but they will be there.
Now, if you can find a huge shadow just below the surface (a large root ball or stump)... take extra time to try multiple angles. They may be sitting upstream, downstream, the left or right depending on current. Once you find out where they have positioned themselves, make that same cast at the next piece of wood; and the next. Move, cast, repeat.
What Lures to Use for Bass In The Fall
Personally, I am chunking topwater during an afternoon outing in the fall because… well, if you ever had a 7 lb bass come out of the water and crash down on a Zara Spook or demolish a buzzbait, it is hard to fish anything else. So let’s talk about baits that catch those big hungry fish; spooks, buzzbaits, flukes or senkos and a new addition for me… frogs.
The Heddon Zara Spook Jr:
The Heddon Zara Spook Jr in the baby bass pattern to be specific. I feel confident that others will work, but if it isn’t broke, I ain’t fixin’ it, so Zara Spook Jr in baby bass. In my opinion, hands down the best bait to chunk across that root ball or stump. When you find those shadows just below the surface, this bait can be worked up, to and over them. The walking bait allows you to work it erratically; stopping just before, on or after the targeted spot. Most often, use a steady walking motion. But if they do not bite it, work it hard in a twitch, stop… twitch, stop motion.
The Classic Buzzbait:
A basic Buzzbait from Academy and Wal-Mart work as good (or better) than any expensive option and they are really cheap. Let’s be serious; it is a wire with a skirt being held up by a chunk of metal as it buzzes across the surface until something mistakes it for who knows what and smashes it. Not high tech, so why pay high dollar? This one is simple, chunk and wind it. I think any color will work as long as it is a silver blade, white skirt and a chartreuse grub (tail down).
Ok, may be a little more to it but not much. Use this bait and fish along the length of a laydown running it parallel to logs or pieces of wood varying retrieve speeds. I find that moving the bait as slow as possible seems to elicit more bites.
If laydowns are not working, choose those small limbs and twigs sticking above the water and try to bump it against the wood at the point it meets with the water. The buzzbait is very effective on those tiny twigs standing in shallow water, and is an excellent bait to cover water searching for where fish are positioned.
Zoom Flukes or Yamamoto Senkos:
The Zoom Fluke may be one of the most underappreciated fall baits out there. Fished weightless around cover, it mimics a wounded baitfish. A small twitch of the rod tip will cause the bait to jump erratically in different directions which trigger strikes. If they do not hit on the movement, let it drop and hold on. A Yamamoto Senko on a weightless Texas rig also mimics an injured baitfish; it will just drop deeper a bit quicker. Either fished around cover can be quite effective.
Keep one, the other or both tied on. If the fish are a bit slow to bite, these may just trigger the strikes. If they are hitting topwater and you miss one with a buzzbait or a spook… drop your topwater rod (in the kayak) and toss a fluke or senko right back into the spot. The bass often crush it, I assume they think it is something they wounded.
Stanley Ribbit Frogs:
I used to get very frustrated when I found a spot I felt would hold fish during that magic topwater hour, only to find it covered with leaves and debris. The treble hooks of the spook, or the spinning blade of the buzzbait would make it impossible to fish. But the last few years on the kayak tournament trail has taught me the value of a Stanley Ribbit Frog. This type of bait can be rigged weedless, making it possible to fish any trash on the surface.
Don’t just use it with grass, weeds, leaves or trash on the water. This bait can be tossed across that same wood cover you hit with a spook or buzzbait. The feet will create a turbulence that can trigger some ferocious strikes anywhere.
Fall Fishing – The Best Bites of The Year
Take a couple of these baits along on your next trip and hopefully you will find the magic of fall fishing. Just keep in mind; no stick to small or too shallow, and hold on tight.
Whether you are paddling, pedaling or motoring a kayak; there is not a lot to dislike about fishing during the transition from summer to fall, and from fall to winter. Early morning fog, topwater in the afternoon with ferocious and explosive strikes… cool and comfortable weather… no sir, no downside to mention.