It’s no secret that fall brings out the most robust bass. You know, the kind that leaves your wrist sore after a bit of tussle. But there are a few fall bass fishing tips to know for the season’s massive bass at trophy size.
Yet, to pull in one of the freshwater monsters of the deep, there are some tips that anglers swear by during autumn’s bounty, which in turn have reeled in photo-worthy fish and higher fish counts.
But here’s a list of every vital fall bass fishing tip you should know.
1. A Lazy Meal
By the time fall rolls around, larger bass wants to eat as much as possible with the least amount of effort. Sound like someone you know?
But jokes aside, lures or bait selection plays a key role in getting the bass to your line, if not the most crucial part.
For this fall bass fishing tip, select colors and shapes that mimic the natural food source, such as shads. You can find this in various hard bait designs such as jerkbait, crankbait, or spinners that imitate gill flash. Soft plastics and swimbaits or jigs are always a good idea. Get some gear to set up a drop shot for later in the season. But if you find yourself near any aquatic vegetation, opt for the good ol’ frog.
2. Copying is the Best Form of Flattery
Once you have an idea of the bait that you want to use, it’s a matter of getting a curious bass to strike at the offering. That comes in the form of mimicking its food source. While there is no right or wrong way to achieve this, finesse comes with experience.
When using a topwater or frog, don’t simply retrieve it across the surface of the water; instead, consider it prey trying to get away, stopping with staggered movements. Letting this bait rest on the water for an instant allows the fish to bite. But, if you don’t get a nibble right away, sometimes it takes a couple of goes to entice the bass out of hiding.
On this note, numerous anglers, especially novices, are too quick to pull in the line to get it out again. Huge mistake! Instead, play in the water column like a bait fish when using hard plastic baits, swim baits, or jigs. Utilizing slower but constant jerky movements or actions replicating a confused or dying bait fish. This is how you get bites.
Out of all the fall bass fishing tips, this one takes the most practice, and changing rod sensitivity to personal preference could change your fishing outcome.
3. Cranks are King for Fall Bass Fishing
Yes, crankbait has already been touched on, but it will be your best friend for nabbing autumnal bass. Here’s why this fall bass fishing tip should be paid attention to.
Fall brings a transitional period of fluctuating temperatures, unstable barometric pressure, and wacky weather. So like how we’re trying to decide what to wear because the morning is cold, and the afternoon is hot, the bass are doing the same to water temperature. This means that the bass enjoys cruising to find that spot of comfort.
Queue the crankbait.
Typically, crankbaits are used at a medium depth when it comes to bass fishing. But when the bass are trying to figure out where to go, a deep-diving crankbait might be the way to snag one. What you’re going for here is one that should hit bottom every now and again and bounce off rocks or skirt logs. It does sound vague, but sometimes feeling the bottom is the way to go.
Oh, and one more thing, just remember there’s one rule to using crankbait: constant motion!
4. Consider Largemouth Movements
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are the most commonly caught game fish in America. And when it comes to fall bass fishing tips, knowing how they move with changing conditions daily will increase those fish counts.
Largemouth bass migrates horizontally. This means in the fall; you’re more likely to find them in shallower reed beds or areas of aquatic coverage. Just remember, in the fall, the bass’ goal is to get fat for the winter. Kind of like a bear, without the teeth and claws.
As the season progresses, you’re more likely to find largemouth bass have moved out to deeper areas of structure, like tall grasses. This is also the prime time to switch up the gear for jigging or drop shots. Yet, don’t discredit dying weed line or grasses as winter nears; stragglers are always found here, with some sizeable monsters that didn’t leave for deeper wintering grounds.
Just remember that bass follows the bait fish, which gradually head deeper.
5. Smallmouth Bass Migrations
Smallmouth bass are different, on the other hand. It’s true that in early fall, you’ll find this schooling fish feasting on an array of bait fish. And it’s at this time you’re apt to find them anywhere that there’s a structure, including fallen or hollow trees, under bridges, and hiding in the foliage.
When the water dips, so do the smallmouth bass. Thus, these schools head into calm deep water areas, such as free-flowing rivers. It is important to note that smallmouth bass will not risk being iced over as winter approaches. More so, this is when jigging and using drop shots are best.
Lastly, once the temperatures reach the 40° F range, don’t expect to see a smallmouth bass until the spring. However, the odd one can be caught while ice fishing.
Fall bass fishing is genuinely a freshwater experience like no other. Some days are hot, whereas other days are bust. Which beckons the phrase, “here today and gone tomorrow.”
With these fall bass fishing tips and understanding the fluidity of how smallmouth and largemouth bass move, you can come out on top all season long. Even into the days of the first ice crisping up on the shore.
Just don’t forget the repertoire of tackles needed for this lucrative season, and don’t be afraid to experiment with deeper water between 15-30 feet. Finally, if you see baitfish on your fish finder, you know there are hungry bass not too far off.
What is the latest you’ve caught bass into the fall? Please let us know in the comments!