I really enjoy fishing in autumn. Spring may be the best time to catch the bass of a lifetime, but if you want to catch fish all day long you can do that in fall better than any other time of the year.
But if you don’t tie on the right bait, you won’t be one of the anglers getting all of the bites. So to make sure you have good lures in your arsenal read below for the top 3 baits to use throughout fall.
Now obviously these aren’t the only lures that will catch fish, but they are high probability lures that match the conditions and can catch fish anytime in Fall. So if you don’t know where to start, just want good all around options, or want to simplify your approach try these lures and let me know the results! I’m guessing you’ll get at least a few bites.
#1 Squarebill Crankbait
In the spring, I’m using mostly spinnerbaits and chatterbaits to search areas for bass populations. But in fall you are much more likely to find a crankbait, specifically a squarebill like the KVD Rattling Squarebill, tied on my rods.
Bass in the fall will move extremely shallow and begin fishing very heavily on one major source – schools of bait fish. More so than any other time of the year, bass will focus almost all of their feeding there. In fact they might swim across an entire section of lake in a day if the bait school keeps moving.
A crankbait is a great mimic for most types of bait fish. Particularly the larger shad, bluegill, or other baitfish species that may exist in your lake. And by late fall, all of the spawn has hatched and begun growing. So increasing your size profile is a good idea to match the hatch.
The best thing about fall fishing with crankbaits is how quickly you can fish them. You aren’t looking for big schools of bass like you do in summer. Or the spawning pockets with fish stacked on them like you can in Spring. More often than not, bass will be more solitary hunters in fall than any other time of the year.
This means you will catch a bass here and there, and certain areas will certainly hold more than others, but you won’t catch many bass from one spot. You’ll have to fish around and make a lot of casts to pick all of them off. Something a crankbait is well equipped to do.
So you can fish them in shallow water where the bass feed. You can fish them quickly which lets you get in front of as many fish as possible. They mimic a bass’s favorite food source in fall. Why wouldn’t you use a crankbait in fall?
Unfortunately there are some things in fall that will make bass stop feeding as heavily as they want. Drastic weather changes are likely, and bass often don’t react well to significant changes. Very warm days might make them back out from shallow weather to points or off channel swings. Cold days days can also make them tight lipped until their body returns to normal temperatures.
So if you have a severe weather change or are just finding no luck with a search bait, sometimes you do need to slow down even in fall and really coerce some bites. And maybe even head a little deeper and away from the shallows.
In these cases, you should be fishing a jig like the Chompers Football Jig. Jigs excel because you can fish them more slowly, in many conditions and depths, and they offer a little different presentation that can coerce tight-lipped bass into biting.
In the case that you get a few hot days and the water warms, bass will head deep. Usually this is on the ends of points or where the channel swings near the bank. That’s because they want to be near the shallow water still to feed when temps cool down. So target a jig around cover on the ends of points or drag it around the corners of a channel swing near the bank in fall and you might be surprised how many bass you can catch even well into fall.
Even if that doesn’t work, you can also target brush or other cover near the bank that bass may be using as shade against the hot sun on warm days. This is generally a summer technique, but can work into fall as well. Again, a jig is terrific because it can work in almost any cover from brush piles to docks.
#3 Whopper Plopper
The crankbait and jig are two well known fishing lures, and also well known fall producers. So if you want to change up your approach and give the fish something they haven’t seen before, fish a whopper plopper in fall.
As the bass move in shallow to feed they will be cruising banks as much as they will be holding in specific areas. Because of this, fishing things that move and make noise can be key to catching the roaming bass. It alerts them to its presence and lures them in unlike many baits do.
That’s what makes a whopper plopper a very unique lure, especially in the fall. It creates just enough noise to alert hungry bass to it’s attention and you can fish it more quickly than almost any other topwater bait to cover water. Poppers are great baits, but can’t be fished quickly. A spook can be fished quickly, but doesn’t make noise. A whopper plopper does BOTH.
So really all you need to do to fish a whopper plopper successfully is to spend some time cruising your lake to find bait fish. Generally, some areas of a lake will be dead or have little bait fish presence. You can use your fish finder ideally, or just look for signs of life. Fish ticking the tops of water, herons fishing on the side of the water, any type of life suggests fish are in the area.
Once you find the areas of the lake that have life, find the banks that have structure bass can use to pin baitfish into for easy meals. Think about shallow points, humps, or any severe depth changes hear shallow water. Focus your casts there but don’t be afraid to just beat banks in areas that look fishy. As mentioned before, the whopper plopper is great because it brings bass to the lure. You don’t have to get the exact right cast every time.
The best day of fall fishing I’ve had was with a Whopper Plopper 130 in Monkey Butt, hitting points in shallow water where I had graphed bait balls the previous day in the main creek arms. It seemed like every spot had bass just waiting to be caught. So if you love topwater bites, tike on a whopper plopper in fall and you might get some great results.
There are many baits that work in fall, but some are just better than the rest. Plus, some like spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits serve mostly the same purpose. So while it is certainly possible a spinnerbait will work better than a crankbait some days, you really want to mix up techniques big time to get bites when nothing else is working.
If that’s the case for you, tie the three baits above on and just go fishing with them. Target the areas I mentioned and use your intuition and the information provided to determine your own fishing strategy. Then once you catch one fish, remember the conditions and look for another. One fish is a coincidence, two fish is a pattern.
But most importantly, just go out and enjoy fishing this fall. There is no better way to end a year than a beautiful day out on the water bass fishing!