By Josh Boyd
After months of relentless heat and smothering humidity across much of the nation, change has begun to blow in on the autumn breeze. Midday temperatures have begun to routinely stage at, or near, room temperature, with nighttime temperature often necessitating the use of a light jacket. For many anglers, the onset of fall signals a last fleeting opportunity to get on the water before the bitter cold of winter settles over the land.
However, just as we have been forced to adapt to seasonal weather changes, so have bass in any given body of water. Water temperatures have begun to fall quite rapidly, and many flood control lakes have entered a period of draw-down. As a result, bass are on the move, in a bid to adjust to these seasonal changes and to locate schooling baitfish on which to feed.
While this inevitable shift in pattern can leave many an angler out of the loop, success can still be found with the right strategy in mind. Though finding bass in numbers is a challenge in its own right in the fall, an angler must be equipped to seize upon available opportunity, by knowing what lure to throw in the heat of the moment.
The following are 5 lures that you should be throwing now to catch more bass.
During the early fall, when water temperatures have not yet dropped below 50 degrees, the topwater bite on many bodies of water can be phenomenal. This tends to be especially true whenever bass are actively feeding on schooling baitfish in the shallows.
Buzzbaits tend to be among the most productive types of topwater lures during the fall of the year. This is believed to stem from the fact that a buzzbait creates vibrations and noise similar to that produced by actively feeding shad and other baitfish of this nature.
Many anglers key in on areas where bass are actively feeding on baitfish and throw a buzzbait right into the midst of the action. During the earlier fall, this tends to take place along shallower flats, while a significant amount of late fall action can typically be found along sharper drop-offs and points.
The use of a spinnerbait can be a deadly tactic when attempting to catch fall bass in numbers. As the fall progresses, bass flock to shallow flats in order to locate baitfish on which to feed. By covering many of these same areas with the use of a spinnerbait, anglers can capitalize on a bass’ natural desire to feed heavily during this time of year.
Spinnerbaits tend to be effective because of their ability to portray many of the same characteristics as those associated with schooling baitfish. A spinnerbait’s blade produces a significant amount of flash and vibration, which bass often associate with prey, thereby triggering a feeding response.
On many lakes, water clarity improves during the fall of the year, effectively magnifying a spinnerbait’s visibility. During this time of the year, anglers often employ the use of smaller, more compact spinnerbaits, in a bid to emulate smaller baitfish that have hatched earlier in the year.
Swimbaits have grown immensely in popularity over the past decade, thanks in large part to their baitfish-like profile. In fact, there is likely no other lure that as accurately mimics the characteristics of a baitfish, as the swimbait.
A swimbait can be fished at varying depths, yet is typically most effective when worked around shallow creek flats during the fall of the year. The lures can be fished with the use of a steady retrieve or can be presented erratically.
White, silver, and blue tend to be the most popular swimbait colors when fishing in reasonably clear water. However, chartreuse is often an effective color choice when fishing in stained or murky water conditions that typically accompany heavy rains.
Soft-plastic jerkbaits are another type of lure that most anglers do not leave home without. These lures produce a substantial amount of action, with even the slightest of twitches. Bass associate this erratic behavior with dying or wounded baitfish, which generally provide an easy meal.
Soft-plastic jerkbaits can be rigged in numerous ways, with some of the most popular coming in the form of a Texas-Rig or Carolina-Rig. A nail weight can also be added to the head of a jerkbait, to promote a more rapid descent through the water column.
Much like a swimbait, jerkbait color selection often comes down to a matter of water clarity. In clear water, natural silver, white, or blue color swimbaits can be of immense value. On the other hand, more vibrant colors can be used in stained water in order to enhance a jerkbait’s visibility.
The fall of the year is often accompanied by the onset of one cold front after the next. This can create difficult conditions for anglers to contend with, as bass routinely are more reserved under post-front conditions. However, even lethargic bass find it hard to turn down the subtle action of a finesse rig.
Finesse worms can be fished in several ways, such as slowly hopping a Ned Rig, or skipping and dragging a Carolina Rig. Both of these presentations portray an easy meal for any bass that has been subject to an acute case of lockjaw.
When choosing a finesse worm, few color combinations produce as reliably as that of green pumpkin. This color is not only a winner during the fall, but at any other point throughout the year as well.
Gearing Up for Fall
During the fall, bass often feed with a vengeance. However, anglers must decide as to which lure will prove to be the flavor of the day. By working any or all of the above-mentioned lures into your fall fishing repertoire, you are sure to improve your catch and make the most out of your time on the water.