Fall is here, and so are some of the loftiest catches of the year. But as much as this season teases its bountiful bass, it can also be very hit-and-miss. And knowing the right fall bass fishing lures will make or break your bass fishing counts.
Bass fishing in the fall is best described as having three seasons. Early fall, where the bass are hungry and aggressive and trying to fill their bodies before venturing to the winter grounds. Mid-fall sees the bass going to deeper water. For largemouth bass, this will be in foliage. At the same time, the smallmouth bass will head in calm river ways.
In late fall, largemouth bass can be found in the dead vegetation, but more likely in water as deep as 30 feet and surrounded by bait fish. Unlike, the smallmouth bass can be found in rivers about 15 feet deep in free-flowing yet calm rivers.
Whether you’re a novice angler pushing for fall bass or a veteran left with a slacked line, here are the musts you should have in your tackle box regarding fall bass fishing lures.
Early Fall Bass Fishing
Bass are naturally curious, and entertainment ensues when you cast a suspended jerk bait. In early fall, the bass are looking to eat as much as possible before heading to wintering grounds with the least amount of effort. So, when presented with a twitchy injured bait fish, you bet they will strike.
Regarding the size of lures, it comes down to personal preference; within a reasonable size. The mimicry of the natural environment makes suspended jerkbait work for fall bass fishing. As for bait selection, opt for greens and browns and shapes that look natural, such as a shad or minnow.
But it’s not just the look of the bait that will snag you some bronze backs; it’s also the appearance in the water. Utilize the water columns to float the suspended lures to look like a curious bait fish that has stopped; this will pique fish.
Alternatively, twitch the jerkbait to appear like an injured baitfish; if there’s anything around, it will hit your line. Perhaps, opt for a bleeding lure if you want to imitate an injured fish.
2. Spinner Bait
It wouldn’t be fall fishing without the spinner bait, and anything with a willow leaf blade or similar is the way to go. Contrary to what most will tell you about fall bass fishing, downsizing to a ¼ ounce will garner more bites.
It’s easy to get caught up in the trophy hype, and by sizing down, you’re catering to the smaller bass that a big spinner bait might put off. However, if you are keen on using larger spinnerbaits, go for ½ ounce or ⅜ ounce.
Just remember, this type of bait also mimics shads, a favorite among bass. Which aren’t all that big themselves, so smaller imitators are always better. Speaking of which, to best utilize this spinner bait, flutter it into schools of bait fish and wait for the frenzy to unfold.
Mid-Fall Bass Fishing
Crankbaits are undeniably the go-to for all anglers when it comes to fall bass fishing. Squarebills are excellent for beginners, while lipless crankbaits are great for shallower waters for stragglers still caught near the shore.
But when mid-fall rolls around, you’ll want a crankbait that dives a bit deeper. You see, largemouth bass will head into deeper water, where there is still aquatic vegetation or structures around. On the other hand, smallmouth bass will start running into the rivers, fearing being iced over.
When opting for crankbaits, experiment with depths of six to 15 feet. This is because, during mid-fall, the water temperatures and barometric pressure fluctuate, which means the fishing is all over the place. The only guarantee is that fish can be found further from the shore or near structures and bait fish.
To set your line with a crankbait, select one that you feel hit off the rocks or the river bottom now and again. If you’re snagging a lot, it’s too deep, and always use constant motion. For beginners or shallower water, try the Strike King KVD Squarebill 1.5 Crankbait that runs three to six feet. Or the Strike King 3XD for depths of 10 to 12 feet; you won’t be disappointed by these go-to’s.
4. Jigs, Swimbait, and Alabama Rig
Mid-fall is a transitional time for bass fishing; it can be hot one day and dead the next. As such, with a transitional period comes transitional bait, which means it is time to bring out the jigs, swimbaits, and rigs.
Like a broken record on repeat, think of the natural environment when selecting swim bait that should be three to four inches in size. Pair the swimbait with a jig head, with ideal sizes being ¼ to ½ ounces. And just remember, when casting your line, finesse, and imitation of bait fish will land you bass.
What to try something different that looks like it’s out of an SCI-FI film? Try out an Alabama rig. This material-less umbrella-looking contraption is only suitable for fishing at certain times of the year, and it’s perfect for mid-fall bass fishing.
End of Fall Bass Fishing
5. Drop Shot
The end of fall can pose some of the most challenging fishing until the ice fishing season comes. The fish are sluggish and in deeper water, so bait that dives deep and hits bottom is the way to go. Thank goodness for the good ol’ drop shot.
But when getting this universal rig prepped for late fall, some modifications should be made. To start, the bass will be much deeper, anywhere from 15-30 feet, so the lengths of the fishing line segments need to be extended.
Deeper water also means a heavier weight is needed, with a cylinder or teardrop weight of around ½ ounces. Sizing up the weight also serves another purpose: adding sensitivity to the line, which will help with nibbles.
Another significant change up is the color; out are the browns, and in are white, pumpkin green, or “perchy” greens and orange. At this point in the season, the bass are struggling to seek bait fish, so white or a glimmer of orange in murky water will help.
If all else fails, try bottom bouncing with jigs. Heck, the season is already transitioning to ice fishing, so might as well get a head start, right?
In general, jig heads ⅜ to ½ ounces are ideal. Try to cast around rocky ledges and docks; if there’s vegetation, cast around that. Opt for soft plastics in pumpkin green.
The Last Word
There you have it; the best fall bass fishing lures for this tricky time of year. But, don’t be deterred by the uncertainty of this season because although it’s gradually slowing down, the fish are enormous. Yet, for those who play their cards right, it’s only a matter of time before a trophy is hooked.
Nevertheless, patience also recognizes that a fish’s migratory patterns are changing, and anglers need to switch up the bait and lures as the fall progresses.
What are your go-to fall bass fishing lures? Please Let us know in the comments!