Fishing For Fall Bass

Fishing For Fall Bass

The Guide To Fishing For Fall Bass

Fall bass fishing can be an exciting adventure while you target the hungry bass that are becoming more active after hiding in deeper water all summer. However, fall fishing can be difficult, especially early Fall, as it’s essentially a transition period with changing water temperatures and daylight times.

The Best Fall Bass Fishing Tips
  • The bass are where the baitfish are
  • Look for areas of running water near structures or points
  • Shad baits or shad imitation lures are most effective

Overall, Fall is an excellent time for catching bass. This is the time they are looking to feed and prepare for the cold winter ahead. Unfortunately, the primary reason anglers miss the opportunity to catch Fall bass is because they don’t understand the fish’s habits or how to catch them during the Fall transition period. This post is a guide for those on the hunt for some fall bass, including where to look, the best lure to use, and how to use it.

baitfish bass in the fall clear water

The Fall Transition

As the Fall season begins, the water temperatures cool, and the days become shorter; this is the Fall transition. If you understand this process, you will be able to take advantage of it and catch bass more consistently.

In general, largemouth bass and any other predator fish species will be where the baitfish are. 

Baitfish prefer the areas with a lot of oxygen, which in the summer are the deeper waters not under direct sunlight.

In the Fall, baitfish migrate upstream or in areas of lakes and canals that are oxygen-rich. During this time, as the water temperatures lower, the shallower areas become more oxygen-rich, accommodating the baitfish. As the baitfish move to shallower water in early Autumn, the bass follow.

In late Fall, the baitfish slow down and start preparing for the winter. Late Fall is usually when the baitfish will head back into deeper hiding spots where they spend the winter, especially in colder regions where the surface can freeze.  But in general, the same principle applies. The general rule is the bass are where the baitfish are. The best part about fall fishing is the bass are usually more concerned about finding food than finding cover to hide.

fly fish in light chop

Early Fall

Fish, including largemouth bass, are cold-blooded, so their patterns and habits change as the weather changes. For this reason, the most successful bass anglers are the ones that change their methods with the water temperature.

Where To Look

As the Fall season approaches, bass tend to make their way into the shallow water more often. Bass in the Fall are frequently found around ledges and drop-offs of canals, lakes, and rivers. Look for areas where bait could potentially be drifted past an ambush point, meaning any moving water flowing past any vegetation, structure, or point.

The most important thing for an angler to look for when Fall fishing is any changes in the ground. Look for structure changes, drop odds, points, and intersections where two waterways meet. Any healthy-looking vegetation edges are also good areas to cast.

medium diving crankbait

Best Fall Bass Fishing Lures and Baits

Fall bass tend to favor crawfish and shad in most areas, but using what is most prevalent in your waters is always key. Therefore, the best baits to catch bass in the Fall are either live or artificial forms of these creatures. Bass are feeding heavily in the Fall to fill up before the winter and spawning months.

Jigs

Jigs are always a great option when trying to draw bass and cover as much water as possible. However, when using a jig, be sure always to keep it moving.

On sunny days go for bright colors such as oranges, yellows, and greens. On cloudy or overcast days, go for natural tones like brown, white, and black.

Crankbaits

Since bass are constantly feeding on shad in the Fall, crankbaits make for an excellent lure choice during this season. Lipless crankbaits are usually the best and more effective for these hungry bass. Rip through vegetation with a lipless crankbait to hook a bass that was lurking in the shallow grass for shad.

Also, a squarebill crankbait with a shad pattern is ideal for casting into stumps and logs along the shallows that are full of shad baitfish. A square bill crankbait is excellent at getting reaction strikes from fish hiding in cover. Any blade bait can help get a reaction strike from the nearby bass, potentially even the inactive bass.

Jerkbait

If you see a fish actively leaping out of the water trying to strike shad, then it’s a good time to grab your jerk bait and cast it into the action. Realistic soft jerkbaits will almost certainly have you catching bass during these active hours. Work a twitch-twitch pause movement in the shallow water with less water clarity until you feel a hard strike.

Swimbait

No lure imitates a fleeing shad baitfish like a swimbait cruising in front of a school. Swimbaits generally work best in the shallow spots when Fall fishing. If you spot a school of shad in the water a few feet deep, there is likely a bass nearby ready to bite. Use a steady retrieve and cover a much of the water column as possible.

Spinner Baits

Spinnerbaits are also great shad imitators during the Fall transition. Anglers can slow roll their bait around docks and other structures, which will likely trigger hard strikes.

Topwaters

Since fall bass fishing is all about fishing the shallows while bass are feeding on top of the water most of the time, Buzzfrogs can be a great addition to your Fall tackle box. You can drag through thick vegetation or near other structures to entice some exploding topwater strikes. A buzz bait and other topwater lures can be great at getting active bass to strike hard or even get the inactive bass or still lethargic bass to become intrigued with this potential meal.

zara spook - fall when bass

Different Areas Mean Different Tactics

Every fishery has different water depths, temperatures, and characteristics. By learning the general rules and paying attention to your specific area’s uniqueness, you can have success bass fishing anywhere.

When fishing shallow areas, look for fish feeding on the surface. The shallow areas are the best in Fall when bass are actively cruising there and feeding heavily. Using a shallow squarebill, football jig, or any shad-looking swimbait will be effective.

When fishing mid-depth areas, a crankbait in constant motion will likely be effective. Try to cover a lot of water, ensuring that you don’t drag the bait. Fall is known for relatively clear water, so it’s best to keep your presentation looking tidy.

When fishing deeper water, test the area with jerkbaits and crankbaits to find schools of bass, use a swimbait when going after big bass, and be sure to present with the right head.

Water Temps

Overall, it’s critical to keep in mind the water temperature of where you are fishing. The Fall season means different things to everybody and can be warmer or cooler. When water temperatures drop around close to the ’50s, it’s time to adjust your tactics with these styles. This may happen at different times, some locations will transition in early Fall or late summer, and other areas may transition in late Fall or winter. Once the actual cold front hits, you want to slow down your retrieve and start using Autumn and Winter tactics.

threadfin shad late fall fish

Fall Fishing Overview

All fish react to meteorological conditions and seasonal water temperature changes. The Fall season means air temperature decreases and shorter days, and the fish are aware that it’s time to prepare for the winter. Early fall fishing conditions are similar to late summer, while late fall fishing is similar to winter in many areas. However, every time of year has its unique characteristics for anglers to adjust to. The main things to pay attention to are the water temps and baitfish; bass will always follow the baitfish.

Plan Your Fall Bass Fishing Adventure

Bass fishing is excellent year-round in many of the world’s top locations; however, our expert guides all agree that the Fall and Spring are the best bass fishing seasons. As the water temperatures cool, big bass are becoming extra active and aggressive.

Your professional guide will take you to all the best fishing spots holding some Fall bass; whether your goal is numbers of smaller bass in the shallows or potential trophies in slightly deeper waters, your guide will work with you to provide the trip of a lifetime. In addition, you will learn invaluable skills and information to help you with your next bass fishing endeavors by fishing with an expert.

The Falls Canal – the peacocks are still biting!

The Golden Gate Canal – peacocks and largemouths are on fire!

The Everglades – multiple species in significant quantities, the largemouth bass fishing is especially hot!

Headwaters Lake – the bass are feeding and some are growing to incredible sizes at this lake!

Lake Toho – a famous and scenic lake known for its consistent bass fishing in size and numbers!

Lake Erie – Smallmouth bass are still biting hard in Fall, preparing for a cold, icy winter! 

The same spots that were thriving during the late summer are still producing as we transition into Fall, but with even better results! The fish have moved around and found new homes in these waters, but the local guides have adjusted to the season changes and are crushing it.

Explore Your Bass Fishing Opportunities here, or check out our pontoon fishing trips for your big group!

Message us or call 888-629-2277 to plan the ultimate Fall bass fishing adventure in the world’s top destinations!

fall bass fishing in creek arms

Smallmouth Bass Lures

Smallmouth Bass Lures

The Best Smallmouth Bass Lures

Knowing which lure to use based on current conditions is the best thing any angler can learn to catch more fish and be more successful at catching smallmouth bass consistently. Deciding on which good smallmouth bass lures to use depends directly on the current water temperature.

Finding the best spots for smallmouth fishing is only part of the equation which becomes second nature to recognize which sites look “fishy.” However, getting the fish hiding in those areas to eat is another essential skill to master.

A group of expert anglers and professional fishing guides put together this complete guide to give you the rundown of the best types of lures, their specific favorites, and when and how to use each one.

The Best Lures To Use Are:
  • Topwater Lures – Heddon Spook and Rapala X Rap Pop
  • Small Soft Plastics – Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube, Storm Wildeye Live Goby, and YUM Craw Papi
  • Crankbaits – Cotton Cordell Big O Crankbait and Bomber Fat Free Shad
  • Spinnerbaits – Booyah Blade
  • Jigs – Strike King Bitsy Bug and Luck “E” Strike Smallmouth Hair
  • Jerkbaits – The Flit 120
bucktail jig - great cold water baits

Smallmouth Bass Lure Breakdowns

Topwater Lures

When targeting smallmouth bass, the best topwater bait styles are walk the dog lures, such as the Heddon Spook and the Rapala X Rap Pop.

The Rapala’s thin, cupped mouth makes the kind of commotion that imitates shad activity splashing and walking on the surface, while its sleek body promotes long casts. Its tail-down posture also helps improve hookups.

The best time to fish topwater is when there isn’t a chop on the water or heavy cloud cover. So early morning and evening are usually best, but midday can work too on sunny calm days.

The classic side-to-side walking action with noisy rattles naturally taunts the smallmouth bass into vicious strikes, even from the fish that are surprisingly deep. Also, the sharp rotating treble hooks of the spook decrease the chance of shake-offs from the aggressive bass.

Technique

Fish a spook with long, slow pulls so it glides back and forth like a snake swimming on the surface. Even the slightest tugs will bring these topwater lures to life to land that trophy smallmouth. There is no better feeling for an angler than a hard topwater strike from an aggressive smallie. Any walk the dog lure will generally work since they all appear like a struggling baitfish, making for an easy meal.

Water Temperature

The topwater bite seems to be best when the temperature of the water is about 65 degrees. However, any temperature between 55 and 72 can potentially lead to your next memorably topwater bite from an aggressive smallie.

vertical jigging fire tiger

Small Soft Plastics

Soft plastics generally fall into the finesse fishing lure category. The preferred soft plastics are tubes, kietech paddle tails, and ned rigs.

The Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube is a favorite. Its wiggling tentacles will entice even the pickiest of smallmouth bass into biting, and the tube’s soft body makes them hold on even longer.

The Storm Wildeye Live Goby is another excellent option. The non-native goby is an invasive fish found in the Great Lakes region, which the smallmouths love. However, even in the areas devoid of this bottom-hugging forage species, the Storm’s head-weighted Goby imitator will often entice a bite still.

The YUM Craw Papi is undoubtedly a lure worth mentioning since smallmouths will hardly ever turn down a crayfish meal. The limber, flapping motion of the large, thin claws on this bait creates a convincing display.

Technique

Typically anglers can fish all soft plastic finesse lures the same way by dragging and hopping the bait along the bottom. They are ideal for rock piles and sandy bottoms to find smallmouth bass cruising for gobies.

When fishing tube baits, anglers can use a 60-degree tube jig head to drag and drift it, so the tube kicks up the bottom while plowing forward. Another option is to rig with a 90 degree head for exaggerated cracking presentations when verticle jigging.

These soft plastics are usually best when fished from a boat, so anglers can easily retrieve them without getting caught between rocks. All soft plastics should be rigged with a jig head to keep them on the bottom. This setup also keeps the head down and tail end facing up, mimicking a Goby or crayfish. They can all be rigged weedless when situations call for it.

Water Temperature

These lures are an excellent cold-water technique as well as in warmer water when dealing with lethargic fish. These baits are very hard to resist that even the most lethargic fish takes them in most cases. So any time you’re having a hard time getting a bite with other lures, whether it be in extremely cold water temps or warmer ones, the baits that sink to the level of the bass and hop off the bottom will often work.

fish bait facing upwards

Crankbaits

The Cordell Big O is the original square-lip crankbait and is effective on all types of bass, especially largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, as well as other popular gamefish. The short, squared lip lures deflect off the cover, making them excellent options in most bass lakes that are full of vegetation and other cover.

The Bomber Fat-Free Shad is another excellent crankbait with its realistic colors and eyes, and deep-diving abilities. Its flat-sided profile helps dig down in the deeper water reaching depths of 14-18 feet with No. 2 hooks. In addition, this shad has an enticing action that temps even the hard-to-reach smallmouth bass. Its rotating treble hook then helps keep the fish on once hooked.

A Blade Bait is simply a metal crankbait that features the two treble hooks on each end. They are very effective because of their vibrations that draw reaction strikes from smallmouth bass.

Technique

These lures have a buoyant body and the ability to deflect cover. So smallmouth anglers should crank them over rock, gravel, or vegetation where the smallmouth typically eat, depending on the fishery.

When fishing with a blade bait, anglers want to raise the rod tip then lower it to reel in the slack. This motion makes the bait vibrate and swim in an upward direction, then flutter down as it sinks, mimicking an injured baitfish. These are very popular smallmouth lures in the fall.

Water Temperature

Smallmouth fishing with blade baits is a very effective cold water technique, but they can be used in the warmers months too.

early spring smallmouths

Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits are generally flashy and effective when it comes to smallmouth bass fishing. The Booyah Blade is an excellent choice for a spinnerbait with its bright red flaring gills and a head that offers a realistic target for the fish. Its made out of quality material and light, 0.35 gauge wire made for maximum vibration, and is easily retuned after each bite.

Technique

Target the windblown sides of the structure or cover with your spinning gear and spinner bait. Smallmouth anglers generally want to use a faster retrieve in clear water and a slower retrieve in murky water.

Fish a spinnerbait along rock piles and weed edges to entice a smallmouth that is feeding aggressively. These are good lures to use when fishing deeper water anywhere from six feet to over thirty feet.

Water Temperature

Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are power fishing lures and are very popular during the times the smallmouths are active.

carolina rig and heavier jigs

Jigs

The favorite jig when targeting bass for our guides is the Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig, especially when targeting smallies playing hard to get. Downsizing to a finesse jig such as this one is often what it takes to get that bite finally.

The Luck “E” Strike Smallmouth Hair Jig is another favorite when fishing for smallmouths. This jig has a lifelike presence with glitter strands that accent its bucktail skirt. The bucktail skirt contracts and flares, creating a stop-and-go swimming motion or erratic hopping action.

Technique

Jigs are most effective when fishing in waters between 4 and 12 feet deep. Once you start using jigs 3/8 ounces or heavier, it’s best to use baitcasting gear. But for 1/4 ounce finesse jigs or lighter, it’s better to use spinning gear.

Water Temperature

Jigs are also a great lure option to have in your tackle box on every trip, no matter the time of year. They are the most popular and effective smallmouth bass lure overall. They are very popular smallmouth lures because there is no wrong time of year to be using one when smallmouth fishing. They also have the reputation of being big bass producers, so the potential at landing your next trophy smallmouth bass is good when fishing a jig.

smallmouth bass lures

Jerkbaits

Suspending jerkbaits are the best lure choices when fishing Northern lakes after the fall turnover when the smallmouths are more scattered and suspended. These lures work so well because they have the ability to be fished really slow, especially a suspending jerkbait. One of the best jerkbaits is the Flit 120. 

Technique

Suspending jerkbaits can be worked along rocky and sandy bottoms that drop dramatically from 5 feet to 20 feet. Natural colors are usually best, and working them slow is necessary when fishing in extremely cold water temps. In general, jerkbaits are excellent at getting a reaction strike.

Water Temperature

Jerkbaits are great in cold water, making them excellent fall and early spring go tos.

a few examples of smallmouth bass lures

Final Tips From The Pros

When smallmouth bass are actively feeding, they can make a largemouth bass look like a slug. When you are trying to target smallmouths specifically, remember to look for their preferred habitats. Usually, largemouths are found in weedy areas with heavy vegetation, while the smallmouth bass are typically found in areas with rocky and sandy bottoms. Smallmouths are also more likely to be found in better numbers in clear water rather than stained water.

If you need a go-to lure, then the experts suggest using a jig or a soft plastic lure with natural patterns. Smallmouths are almost always searching rocks for crawfish, which the jigs and soft plastics represent.

Generally, a smallmouth bass lure doesn’t have to be as weedless as largemouth lures since you will usually be on a rocky bottom. Also, smallmouth lures are generally smaller.

Good Smallmouth Bass Lures To Try:
  • Heddon Spook and Rapala X Rap Pop Topwaters
  • Bass Pro Shops Tender Tube, Storm Wildeye Live Goby, and YUM Craw Papi Soft Plastics
  • Cotton Cordell Big O Crankbait and Bomber Fat Free Shad Crankbait
  • Booyah Blade Spinnerbait
  • Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig and Luck “E” Strike Smallmouth Hair Jig
  • The Flit 120 Jerkbait

Experience Smallmouth Bass Fishing

If you’re interested in the ultimate smallmouth bass fishing adventure, then look no further as the Bassonline Guides are eager to take you out and make fishing memories that last forever. The best smallmouth bass fishing is happening at the Great Lake Erie in Pennsylvania, where we can get you on the best seasonal smallmouth bite. While on a smallmouth trip, anglers can also experience the area’s hard-fighting largemouth bass, walleye, and other popular species. Lake Erie and the surrounding area of Presque Isle Bay is breathtaking and a place that all smallmouth anglers of all ages should experience. There is no better place to experience smallmouth fishing and improve your skills!

Explore Smallmouth Trips

baitcasting outfit - smallmouth bass lures

The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

The Best Summer Fishing For Bass

Summertime fishing can vary greatly depending on where you are, leaving you feeling hopeless as the fish move to deeper water and wait until the weather cools down. But a few anglers are out there still catching big bass while many anglers wait until the fall or spring. The warmer months make for dramatic changes in the bass behavior; some lakes are on fire while others are ghost towns. So in order to catch bass in the summer, it all comes down to where to go.

The Best Summer Bass Fishing Lakes

Florida: Lake Toho, Headwaters Lake, The Everglades, The Golden Gate Canal, and The Falls Canal System

Pennsylvania: Lake Erie

The late summer is an excellent time to gather the family and travel to some of the best bass fishing destinations because you’ll get the ultimate fishing experience without the crowd!

summer bass fishing drop shot

Where To Catch Bass In Summer

Almost every angler has found themselves asking where are the bass in the summer? Despite the number of big baits or reaction baits you have or how long you keep the bait in a suspected strike zone, some lakes are going to be better than others during the summer season.

The main factor that tends to affect the consistency of a fishery throughout the year, even during the hot times, is vegetation. Of course, many factors can supplement whether a waterway will produce during the summer. Still, it seems to always come back to the quality and quantity of vegetation and the presence of non-deep structures.

If the fish have to rely on going into deep water to find comfort, it is challenging for anglers to know where to cast as the open water is harder to read. But the fisheries that have a lot of structure, whether it be floating vegetation, grass, stumps, or submerged trees, will provide excellent insight on how to spend your day. These structures provide adequate shade and a comfortable ambush point for bass to hide and wait for bait regardless of the outside heat. Below is a list of all the best summer bass fishing spots for anglers of all ages and skill levels to experience.

early summer deep diving crankbait

Best Summer Fishing Spots

Florida

The best summertime bass fishing in Florida from north to south is at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Headwaters Lake in Fellsmere, The Everglades, The Goldengate Canal in Naples, and The Falls Canal System in Miami. 

Lake Toho

Lake Tohopekaliga, commonly known as Lake Toho, is located in Kissimme, about 30 minutes from the theme parks. Its central location makes it perfect for the ultimate summer family vacation to experience the best of Central Florida fishing and other tourist attractions. The fishery itself is also very family and child-friendly as it has walking trails, grills, picnic areas, restrooms, and a splash pad with a playground.

When it comes to catching big fish, Lake Toho is always one of the lakes that comes to mind for our professional guides. This spot is known for constantly producing more big bass than any other fishing lake. It’s no mistake that pro Dean Rojas names Lake Toho “the most consistent lake in the country for producing both numbers and trophy bass” in Bassmaster magazine’s issue of top 100 lakes.

Tips and Techniques

Lake Toho has relatively shallow water, with a max depth of about 13 feet. It is filled with vegetation and holding spots to catch big bass or numbers throughout the year. The area has all the essentials, including shallow grass flats, maidencane, natural bullrush, and hydrilla.

It’s always a good time for a bass fishing trip here; however, it’s essential to know where to go as the summer bass are usually in different spots than other times of the year. Some of the best summer bass fishing areas are Browns Point, Big Grassy, and Lanier Point. The north shore is another excellent spot to catch fish as it’s packed with tall grasses that often conceal big bass.

how to catch big bass in hot months

Headwaters Lake (Fellsmere Reservoir)

Whether you call it Fellsmere Reservoir, Headwaters Lake, Lake Eden, or Lake Headwaters, it all means hot summer bass fishing for big largemouths! This fishery is a 10,000-acre man-made lake in Indian River county that borders Stick Marsh, Farm 13, Blue Cypress, and Lake Garcia. Its numerous underwater features create ideal spots for summertime bass to hide, which means more fish in arms reach for summer anglers!

The average depth of this reservoir is about 6 feet deep, with some parts reaching over 30 feet deep. However, since these aggressive bass have so many spots that provide shade and shelter, they don’t have as much need to hide in deep water where they are hard to find or get to eat.

Tips and Techniques

The thousands of acres of submerged trees, underwater vegetation, and quality hydrilla make it optimal to find bass in the summer. However, this fishery looks so good that it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Typically it’s best to find an area with healthy-looking emerging vegetation, such as spatterdock pads or cattails, and cast near those.

There’s a spot for every type of angler to use their favorite bait, whether your preference is hitting the shoreline, casting under lily pads, targeting submerged trees, or slow-rolling swimbaits through the grass. There are so many fishy-looking spots that this is one of those destinations that needs multiple days to be adequately fished and experienced.

Headwaters has continued to prove to be one of the most consistent bass fishing lakes around. While most spots have strong highs and lows, Fellsmere has continued to produce. Even on the days where there aren’t trophies, there are still good numbers and decent-sized fish around to catch throughout the year.

heavy cover and keep in strike zone longer

The Everglades

Summer bass fishing in the Everglades is the ultimate Florida experience. This fishery, located in southeast Florida, has not slowed down as the warmer months have approached. Instead, the bite has been on fire since early summer and has continued through late summer, likely because of the beautiful area’s heavy cover and thriving ecosystem.

The Everglades covers a large area. Your fishing guide will always recommend the best location to launch based on conditions; however, the most popular spots for summer bass fishing trips are Holiday Park, Sawgrass, and Alligator Alley. Summertime fishing in the Everglades means incredible sightseeing and wildlife viewing by boat while catching Florida’s favorite species, including largemouth and peacock bass.

This fishery is not as much known for having big bass, but it is undoubtedly known for its numbers with many quality-sized fish to hook. An 8-pounder is relatively common while fishing here and considered large for this spot.

Tips and Techniques

An effective fishing method is to use floating lures with braided lines near vegetation or structure such as sunken trees or lily pads. Plastic lures are usually the most effective to catch fish here, especially in the form of a lizard, Senko, or swimbait. The experts generally suggest starting the early morning off with a topwater frog, spinnerbaits, or chatter baits when the wind is blowing harder. Plastic worms will always be a go-to, especially on the hot, calm summer days.

glide bait and wacky rig

The Golden Gate Canal

The Golden Gate Canal in Southwest Florida is conveniently located between Naples and Marco Island, near its pristine beaches and Everglades National Park. It’s a top-notch fishery that provides excellent fishing opportunities to catch largemouth bass, peacocks, and panfish all in one trip. The summertime fishing here has not disappointed; anglers are catching numerous summer bass on every trip, even in the middle of the hottest months. In fact, the summer heat is precisely what the peacock bass love. Some popular saltwater species like snook and tarpon also commonly make their way into this canal system to add to the excitement.

Tips and Techniques

The summer bass fishing is consistent for all species, with peacock bass being the most active and commonly caught during this time. The spring and winter seasons are generally when bigger largemouths will be caught. In general, this fishery is best for its consistency and constant action rather than size, with 5 to 6 pounds being typical for the largemouth bass.

If going after the panfish like bluegills and redear sunfish, anglers can almost always get a bite on a cricket, earthworm, or small minnow throughout the year. A mix of live baits and artificial lures is used on the Gold Gate, with shiners usually the most successful bait for summer fishing, especially for the peacocks.

texas rig and brush pile

The Falls Canal

The Falls Canal System in Miami is the most productive peacock bass fishery in the state. It totals 13.5 miles of navigatable waters, comprising of four sections. The system is home to lots of South Florida wildlife and is the best place to go if your goal is to hook a trophy peacock bass fish. On your summer bass fishing trip at the Falls, you can expect to catch peacocks of good size, along with largemouth bass, the Mayan cichlid, snook, and tarpon. In addition, the various types of fish and other wildlife that call this topical area home dramatically adds to the adventure of being on this scenic waterway.

Tips and Techniques

The Falls is full of coral rocks, which is where the peacock bass usually hold to. The average depth is 12 feet, with many canals having vertical drops and edges reaching up to 30 feet. Many of the lakes found in the system have sand bottoms about 10 feet deep. The thriving environment here makes for a happy, healthy fishery throughout the year.

Live bait is usually the most way to hook a peacock, especially shiners. However, crankbaits, spoons, and topwater plugs are generally the best artificial lures to land a feisty peacock. A topwater lure or hard jerk bait will often produce a solid reaction strike from these colorful fish. It’s best to focus on rocky areas near structures using topwaters, minnow-like crankbaits, or small shiners.

steady retrieve baits and lures

Pennsylvania

Lake Erie

Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, is a breathtaking fishery covering 57 miles at its widest point. Erie contains an abundance of our favorite gamefish, allowing anglers to catch over 15 million fish every year. In addition, the warmer temperatures and shallow water of Erie make it the most biologically productive of all other Great Lakes. As a result, field and Stream chose Erie as one of the top-20 family fishing spots in the nation.

The northern shore of Erie is the international border with Canada, its eastern shores are in New York, and the southern and western boundaries are in Michigan and Ohio. However, its become apparent that the most productive fishing spots are on the Pennsylvania side of Erie.

The fishery is famous for its quality-sized sport fish species like walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill, and steelhead. Because of its relatively shallow water, the lake warms up quickly in the spring and summer for its prime fishing season.

Tips and Techniques

While summer fishing in PA, anglers can troll the open water to hook walleye or stick to fishing spots closer to shore. Our favorite spot is Presque Isle, where its warm waters are filled with game fish. The western and central basins often hold some of the larger fish. The baits that attract the most strikes are trolling crankbaits or spinnerbaits with bottom bouncers. This Pennsylvania area really comes alive in the summer, providing anglers with the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure.

deep diving crankbait and glide bait

Planning Your Summer Bass Fishing Adventure

Almost every bass angler longs for the perfect summer vacation that mixes a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience with memorable visits to new places with their loved ones. There is no better summer vacation spot than almost any part of Florida or Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania. These spots all offer something unique and are producing quality summertime fishing trips. These fisheries can be challenging to navigate or know where to start and best practices to use, but your professional guide is here to support you the whole way while on your private charter. Targeting summertime bass is a challenge that will improve any angler’s ability to read the water and learn where and how to land game fish during any time of the year.

Explore Your Bass Fishing Opportunities here, or check out our pontoon fishing trips for your big group!

Message us or call 888-629-2277 to plan the ultimate summer bass fishing adventure in the world’s top destinations!

drop shot texas rig  summertime bass

Best Fishing Holes for Anglers in Lake Erie

Best Fishing Holes for Anglers in Lake Erie

If you’re a fan of freshwater fishing, there is no better place to be than Lake Erie. Many consider North America’s fourth-largest lake to be Walleye Central, rich also with perch fish, smallmouth bass, and more. 

If you’re looking to score an award-winning catch on Lake Erie’s rich waters, here are three Ohio fishing hotspots you’ll want to visit. Don’t forget to pocket these must-know tips if you’re fly fishing for the first time!

Beaty Landing & Recreation Park

Beaty Landing and Recreation Park rest along the Grand River, which flows seamlessly into Lake Erie. Playfully dubbed the “steelhead alley,” Beaty Landing is home to 3,300 feet of river frontage abundant in steelhead trout. 

If you love a good challenge, these sporting fish will surely give you a run for your money! Don’t worry about running dry either—every year, the Ohio Division of Wildlife releases over 100,000 steelheads to satisfy avid anglers. 

If you’re planning a trip in the fall, note that steelheads typically migrate upstream to deposit their spawn, heading back into the lake during the springtime.

Cleveland Lakefront Metro Parks

Lake Erie Charter

Just a short drive from Avon Lake, the Cleveland Lakefront is one of the best locations to experience Erie’s stunning waters. For fans of pier fishing, anglers can get their rods on all sorts of bass, as well as salmon and carp, without having to venture out into the open lake. 

If you’re low on live and artificial bait, you can fill your tackle box with products from the lakefront’s concession stand. 

For anglers looking to sport on a private charter, the East 55th Street Marina is home to a 1,200-foot fishing pier where anglers can take advantage of a professional guide. 

Can’t quite stay away from the lure of steelhead trout? You can take on the thrill of sport fishing on the Rocky River. 

Headlands Beach State Park 

If you’re bunking in a Painesville inn, the Headlands Beach State Park is just 30 minutes east of Cleveland. Here, you’ll find the federal break wall if you head east, where you can game for all sorts of bass, salmon, carp, and yellow perch. Of course, you’ll also come across some record walleye sizes. 

Anglers who want to hire a private Lake Erie charter can make their way to the Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve and Marina. When fishing with a Lake Erie guide, here is what you can expect. 

Best Fishing Holes for Anglers in Lake Erie

Sandusky River

Considered a significant fishing resource in Ohio, the Sandusky River flows 150 miles into Lake Erie and is home to abundant freshwater game fish

White bass fishing enthusiasts will want to plan their trip to the Sandusky in May, achieving record-breaking catches of up to 100 fish in a single day! Perch anglers can expect to see this less athletic species thriving throughout September and October. 

Those keen on lucrative Walleye catches should pack along live worms and minnows—a river crowd favorite. Curly-tail grubs are foolproof for shore fishing and angling from a canoe. 

East Harbor State Park

Fishing on Lake Erie

Unlike its predecessors, the East Harbor State Park is a well-kept secret among veteran anglers. Along its rocky shorelines, you’ll find a profusion of largemouth bass, among other species. Look farther into the weed beds, and you’re likely to come across some bluegill, too.  

Despite its low-key status amid walleye fans, East Harbor State Park is also home to youth-only ponds where young anglers can hone their craft over time. Families will enjoy an angling day out at this hotspot, especially during the summer. 

Tips for Fishing in Lake Erie

Now that you know where to aim for a prize-worthy catch in Lake Erie, it’s time to put your skills into practice. Make the most of your time in this fish-abundant lake by keeping these tips in mind: 

  • Hire a Professional: Though rich, Lake Erie’s waters are just as tricky. A professional might be able to help you navigate this massive body of water. 
  • Try Shore Fishing: Sometimes, the best catch is just along the shoreline. You can cast your line from a public beach or pier. 
  • Know the Rules and Regulations: When fishing on Lake Erie, take on the responsibility of securing the permits you need. Those on the hunt for trout will require a Trout Stamp, while those bordering Canadian waters will have to take along a Canadian Outdoors Card.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to fishing along Lake Erie, there is nothing else like it. In recent years, the angling favorite has welcomed new and unorthodox fishing methods by anglers who can’t get enough of its abundant waters.

Best Lake Erie Fishing Charters: A Complete Guide

Best Lake Erie Fishing Charters: A Complete Guide

The best Lake Erie fishing charters aren’t just there to take you out on the water; they’re responsible for providing you with an experience. They should offer Lake Erie fishing reports, all the gear you need, and the guidance you want to catch more fish. That’s what you’re paying for.

We’re breaking down the best charters on the Lake from Ohio to New York in this guide. By the end, you’ll understand what to catch, how to catch it, and what charters you should consider looking into this year.

Fishing Lake Erie

If you’re considering a fishing trip to Lake Erie, one of the first things that should come to your mind is what you can expect to catch there. The good news is, Lake Erie is a popular destination for smallmouth bass anglers of all skill levels, and if you’ve never considered it, you should add it to your bucket list.

One of the reasons it’s so popular is that it’s an affordable fishing destination compared to offshore chartering or some of the other great lakes.

Lake Erie has experienced its share of hardship over the years. Throughout the 1960s and for many years after, Lake Erie was a perfect example of water pollution from factories, sewer systems, and pesticides from farms. The water was so polluted that you could actually stick your hand in and pull out a handful of algae.

Even today, fertilizer and manure runoff runs into the streams and rivers that flow into Lake Erie, which is why the lake has such large algae bloom compared to all of the other Great Lakes.

All of that aside, anglers still have a ton of success on the lake and consider it some of the best smallmouth, steelhead, and walleye fishing in the country.

What Can You Catch

Let’s break it down a little more and talk about each species you can expect to find when you charter a boat on Lake Erie. It’s known as the “Walleye Capital of the World” for a reason. You’ll find dozens of crazy stories around anglers bragging over their walleye “catch of a lifetime.” Even if you’ve never fished for walleye before, as long as you get there during the right time (which we’ll talk about), you can expect to fill your well with plenty of fish.

The lake is broken up into three sections. You’ve got:

  • The Deep Eastern Basin
  • Flat-Bottom Central Basin
  • Shallow Western Basin

Each of these basins contains its own unique challenges, conditions, and characteristics, so you’ll want to understand each before requesting a charter in any of these three sections.

The shallow western basin houses the smallmouth bass population. These feisty little fish put up quite a fight, and you can expect to find them along drop-offs and ledges in the shallow waters.

The deeper eastern basin is where you’ll find most of the walleye. Some of the best walleye fishing in the country happens here. Walleye travel a large distance every year, so you’ll have to play the lake by season. During the summer months, expect to find them in the east in New York. In the winter/fall, you can find them a bit further south.

Lake Erie: By Season

It’s crucial to understand the seasons and how they impact the fishing on Lake Erie. Taking a look at each of these will help you learn what you can catch to decide when you’d like to charter a boat.

Spring

Springtime is a hit or miss when it comes to temperature. Sometimes it’s frigid and cold, and most of the water is still frozen, and other times, the water doesn’t freeze at all. Lake Erie is more shallow than the other Great Lakes, so it tends to freeze over faster.
Fishing in the spring is great for perch, smallmouth, and rock bass, while fishing for walleye is a bit slow this time of year.

One interesting opportunity is shore fishing for walleye at night. It seems like local anglers know that the fingerling population comes out at night during the spring and the walleye chase them along the shore. This factor creates an interesting opportunity for the angler who understands what they’re doing.

Summer

Summer is when fishing on Lake Erie heats up, and this is when most anglers will charter a boat. It’s prime walleye season from July to September, and most of the best fishing for walleye happens as far to the east or west as possible.

Fall

After September, the lake loses some of its lusters, but there are still plenty of great fishing opportunities, especially when chartering a boat. Boat charters allow you to get to places other anglers can’t, and schools of walleye are still mulling around the waters through October.

Best Lake Erie Fishing Charters

Now that you understand what to expect when fishing the lake, now let’s take a look at the best Lake Erie fishing charters, so you know who to call when it’s time to plan that trip. These charters are the most recommended by locals and online authorities, so be sure to take these recommendations.

1. Mark Rose Fishing (Bass Fishing Lake Erie)

Erie, Pennsylvania 

Mark Rose offers an exceptional fishing experience on Lake Erie for smallmouth bass. He recommends doing so between the months of May and October if you plan on getting the most out of your trip.

One thing that seems a little different about Mark than some of the other charters is his guiding seems a bit more intimate where it’s done on a one-on-one basis. Mark will guide you through fishing on Lake Erie and really stick by you to help ensure you understand how to catch smallies and so you’ll have the best time possible.

2. Tom Goodrich (iOutdoors Adventures)

Erie, Pennsylvania

If you’re looking to take your Lake Erie fishing to a whole new level of enjoyment, comfort, and style, iOutdoor Adventures offers a great experience. Captain Tom Goodrich is a U.S Coast Guard Certified Boat Master Captain and has over 20 years of experience fishing these waters.

The team is professional, courteous, and helpful when working with children and anglers of all skill levels. Their goal is to keep you safe and ensure you have a great experience. Expect to catch walleye, steelhead, lake trout, and perch when fishing with iOutdoor Adventures.

One thing we like most about this charter is that the package you purchase is generally targeted to a specific species of fish. For example, you can do a four-hour trip specifically for Walleye for $399.99 You can also do a “mix bag,” which can be anything for six hours.

Walleye-Fishing-on-Lake-Erie

3. Erie Angler LLC 

Oak Harbor, Ohio

Captain Jim Mitchell leads the team at Erie Angler LLC in Ohio. They provide a great charter experience for both kids and adults. The charter has a 30-foot Baha Cruiser capable of taking six people out on the water, and the boat comes with full safety features, navigational equipment, a fishfinder, and more.

You always want to look for a charter with a fish finder because that will give you the edge and ensure you have a great experience.

The Captain says you can expect to catch walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass, which is right up our alley. They provide all high-quality equipment, including Berkley, Daiwa, Okuma, and Pflueger brands. You need to have an active license to cast from the boat.

4. Pacifictime Sportfishing 

Erie, Pennsylvania

Pacific time Sportfishing operates a large assortment of fishing charters across the country. It’s no wonder they included Lake Erie on their list. Captain Todd Pavilk encourages anglers of all ages and skill levels to come aboard a charter to not only learn more about fishing but to have a great time as well.

The Captain has a 30-foot Pursuit offshore boat powered by twin 265HP Crusader engines, and the boat accommodates up to five guests with plenty of room.

Walleye, yellow perch, and steelhead are the fish of choice here, and trolling is the method that the Captain uses most frequently. All equipment is included in your price, but you’re required to supply your own fishing license.

Lake-Erie-Walleye-Fishing-Charter

5. Erie Doghouse Charters 

Fairview, Pennsylvania

Rod-bending walleye is the promise of Erie Doghouse Charters in Pennsylvania. This team has a Carolina Classic 25-foot boat designed to handle the ocean-like conditions of rocky Lake Erie. Expect to find the gamut of species, including walleye, lake trout, perch, and steelhead with Captain Tony.

As with all fishing charters in Pennsylvania, you need to possess a license to fish, and you can get a one day pass if you’re just in the area for the charter. You’re able to keep up to six walleye, 30 perch, and three steelheads per person, and the first mate will clean your fish for you.

6. Midtown Fishing Charters 

Cleveland, Ohio

If you’re looking for something a little different, you can travel to downtown Cleveland and hit the lake’s western basin. Captain Daniel McDonnell offers exceptional walleye fishing and 25 years of experience tracking them down.

He recommends that you book a spring walleye fishing trip because that’s when they migrate back to the western basin, and you’ll be able to find them near Port Clinton and Oak Harbor. The shallow water is where you can expect to find them, and jigging around the reefs will yield a great result.

Lake Erie has something for everyone, a true outdoor adventure that has to be experienced to truly experience the thrill!

Fall Lake Erie Fishing Charters for Pennsylvania Smallmouth Bass

Fall Lake Erie Fishing Charters for Pennsylvania Smallmouth Bass

Fall Lake Erie Fishing Charters

If there is a time to come explore Lake Erie, it is the fall time. Cooler temperatures get the fish fired up and eating strong before the winter months arrive. During these times, you can catch numbers of quality smallmouth bass all trip long. Erie, Pennsylvania is one of the best smallmouth bass fishing destinations in the world. When thinking about catching smallmouth, enjoy a day of Fall Lake Erie Fishing for a trip of a lifetime.

After many years of experience, our local experts can get you dialed in on the fishing here in Pennsylvania. You never know what will happen and what you will experience on your fishing trip. One thing is certain, you will catch some beautiful smallmouth bass. This time of year calls for different techniques and methods to catch bass when you’re visiting Lake Erie!

Check out this Lake Erie Bass Fishing Update to see what you can get yourself into:

Fall Lake Erie Fishing Charters 3Meet Don and his son, who were traveling from the Pittsburgh area looking to cash in on the smallmouth bass fishing action. Captain Mark Rose had the pleasure of taking them out on the water for a good day of fishing. Lake Erie is doing fantastic, especially as the cooler weather rolls in.

Don and his son caught smallmouth bass all trip long. The most successful and effective technique was a drop shot rig with Hot Fish Bait. Also, a green pumpkin ned rig helped put numbers of bass in the boat. Most of the fish were in the 12-15 foot range from the hammermill plant to the shaded beach.

Water temperatures were sitting at 57-59 degrees during this fishing trip. A mix of sunshine and breeze made for a productive day of catching over 30 bass on Lake Erie. Don and his son had a blast and are looking to get back out during the spring months when the smallmouth bass begins to get active again.

Captain Mark is looking forward to their next adventure out on the water as well!

Just shortly after this fishing trip, Robert and his son Riley were on an adventure out on Lake Erie. They were traveling from Virginia to get in a smallmouth bass fishing charter. Captain Mark Rose had the pleasure of fishing with them for three days on Lake Erie.

Fall Lake Erie Fishing Charters 1All the trips were fantastic with a lot of bass being caught. The main rig and method of choice was a green pumpkin ned rig on the bottom. Smallmouth was still holding in the 12-14 foot range with the same hot areas from Hammermill to the Cribs. Water temperature held at 58 degrees on this fishing trip.

The action is still red hot and will continue that way. Robert and Riley caught over 60 smallmouth bass on their fishing trips. They got the chance to see some great numbers of quality bass on their fishing trips. You can’t beat it with the changing conditions and temperatures.

Robert and Riley had a great time fishing on Lake Erie. Captain Mark is looking forward to getting out on the water with them again in the near future!

Come Visit Lake Erie and Catch Yours Today…

If now isn’t the time, then we don’t know when. Cash in on that last smallmouth bass fishing trip of the year. Temperatures and conditions are rapidly changing in Erie, Pennsylvania. Our local experts will work hard at getting you on the fish of a lifetime. Each adventure is unique and can be tailored to your fishing experience. We would love to share this experience with you and hope to see you on the water next time!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

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About Captain Mark Rose hometown is Pittsburgh PA. Mark has been fishing Lake Erie and Lake Okeechobee since 1999. He fishes Lake Erie in the spring for smallmouth. He runs a detail shop in his hometown during the summer, spring and fall and heads to Florida during the winter months to do what he loves, guide on Lake Okeechobee. Learn More About Lake Erie or Capt. Mark Rose

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