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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.