A drop in temperature in the fall can often scare people off from going fishing. However, this can be a great time of the year to catch huge fish! It can also be a more pleasant experience as, because of the drop in temperature, you can go out fishing in the middle of the day, when the sun is in the middle of the sky.
But to have a fruitful fishing trip, not just with the size of the experience, but also with the size of your catch, you’ll need to take the right equipment with you, and prepare yourself on the fundamentals of fishing for bass in the fall. Read our guide of the best bass fall baits, to get you started.
Although the best time to fish for bass is May through July, you can still catch plentiful bass in the fall, as long as you understand their patterns and movements, and adjust your technique accordingly. Depending on the time of fall, the bass will behave differently. For example, in early fall, they’re more likely to be on the flats, hiding under weeds. But as it gets colder, they move up to steep ridges. The type of bait you use has to factor in to the location of the bass, amongst other things. As your fishing trips get cooler, consider wearing some ice fishing boots.
So to help you make the decision, we’re going to break down the 5 different types of baits that are best used in fall for bass: spinnerbaits, jigs, plugs, topwater fishing lure, and jerkbaits.
A spinnerbait isn’t just one specific lure, but more of an umbrella term for lures with a similar feature. And this feature is one or more metal blades, which almost like a propeller when the lure is moving. Many spinnerbaits even flash or vibrate, and mimic the movements of small fish. This is specifically useful for catching bass in the fall, as they tend to be hungry for smaller fish, such as minnows.
There are two main types of spinnerbait: the “in-line spinner” and “safety pin” spinnerbaits. These types are uniquely good at catching predatory fish like bass. This is because of their unique way of operating. Spinnerbaits can attract predatory fish by activating one of their sense organs: the lateral line system.
The lateral line system lets fish experience something more intimately, they can touch or almost feel the bait from a distance. They can sense the water flow and vibrations around the spinnerbait, meaning they’re much more likely to notice it, and bite.
Spinnerbaits are a multi-sensory experience for bass. Not only can they touch or feel the spinnerbait form a distance, but the designs of spinnerbaits also mean that they will notice them. Their sight is triggered by shiny, bright flashes, or bait that is shaped to reflect the feeding patterns of the bass.
The best way to find out which bait you should be choosing for that day is to keep an eye on your live well water. When you put bass in the Livewell, they’re famous for spitting up what they were just feeding on. It might not be the most fun experience, but it will help you work out what the bass are hungry for that day. From there you can tell what color lure or kind of lure to throw the rest of the day.
When choosing the blade of your spinnerbait for bass in the fall, there are a few considerations you should make, and loads of different kinds to choose from. If you don’t want the bass to put up too much of a fight, if you’re more conservation-minded, speed of retrieve is a major consideration because different blade designs revolve at different speeds. For example, the elongated willow leaf design requires the most speed to start and maintain the spin.
With broader blades, the vibration is higher, which might be a better option for attracting bass in the fall, as they are attracted to jerkier movements. The flash of the blade also is a factor in attracting bass, but that depends more on blade size, texture, and color than on design.
Spinnerbaits are a great fall lure for bass, especially when the water temperatures are dropping. They are also a good multipurpose bait: they can be fished as a fast-moving bait or slowed down to match the energy under the water. This leaves you with more than enough versatility to trick the bass into biting.
Jigs are such a popular and unique lure that they even have a type of fishing accosted with them: jigging. A jig is made up of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it, and it’s usually surrounded with soft material to look like a small fish or similar sized prey, to attract a bite. Jigs are created to make a jerky, up and down motion, which is what the type of fishing called jigging is referring to.
Jiggining is a great option for fishing bass in the fall, as it’s more likely to aggravate them and get them moving. In the early fall, bass move back into the same shallow areas where they fed before spawning. They tend to like to shelter under weeds or another cover here. The movement of jigging might be enough to awaken them out of their shelter and might raise enough aggression for them to bite.
Some designs of jigs even have a weed guard on them. This is the perfect jig for you if you’re looking to catch bass wading in the spring, as you can tempt bass out from the shelter of the weeds without your lure getting caught and tangled. However, if your model doesn’t have the weed guard, take the opportunity. Have a look at the color of the weed, if it’s green then it means the weed is living. Bass ate likely to congregate here, so take advantage.
Bass jigs are the best multipurpose bass lure. Bass jigs are versatile because they can be used year-round in any part of the lake, pond, or river you are planning to fish. They come in a whole range of shapes and sizes, so you can find one that suits your exact needs. Take with you a couple of different sizes, and you can catch bass with jigs in pretty much any weather condition at any time of the year.
Jig fishing is easy to learn but it’s really hard to master it. This is probably why people get hooked on it, as the rewards are pretty instant. The more you practice, the bigger the bass you catch! There are multiple types of jig for all occasions. Check out some on amazon and choose the one that’s perfect for your exact fishing trip.
A plug is a hard-bodied fishing lure, which is popular amongst many anglers. People use lots of names for it, including crankbait, wobbler and minnow. Usually, a minnow refers to a long thin lire that are good for getting a bite from a baitfish. Plugs are shorter, fatter lures, imitating deeper bodied fish or prey like frogs.
The bodies of plugs are usually made of lightweight material like plastic or balsa, and they come in multiple different colors and sizes. This is excellent for fishing bass, meaning you can find a plug easily that imitates the current prey of the bass.
Another benefit of plugs is that they have a thin metal sheet, or sometimes a little plastic lip, on the front of the body. With this little addition, in some plugs, you can adjust the diving ability and wobbling movements of the lure. This is especially useful when you’re trying to catch big bass, and you need to lure them out from a hiding place, under a shelter, or in the shade away from direct sunlight.
Bass is an ornery fish, which means to us that you have to keep tapping at it to upset it into biting your hook. This is also a feature that makes plugs really good for catching bass in the fall, as bass at this time of year is much more likely to bite on something that’s fast-moving.
Plugs can be painted or imprinted with colors and designs that replicate the aquatic life in the specific area you’re fishing. There is such a huge range of designs, you’re bound to find one that can camouflage age in just right. Bass spend most of their time in lakes and tend to congregate in mossy, sheltered areas to prey on smaller fish, such as minnows. So, depending on the eating habits of the bass, which in itself is dependent on the weather, geographical location and time of year, you can find a plug that will make the bass want to bite.
There are even lots of artificial-looking plugs that can also work a treat with bass. Sometimes the article color or shape, especially if it’s a really bright color like a fluorescent pink, can anger the fish slightly, making it more aggressive and likely to bite.
Bass, in the Fall, are constantly moving and claiming new territory. The key to effective fishing for bass in fall is adaptability. This is another great feature of the plug. They can offer you a great depth variety: you can use diving baits to go far down into deeper waters, or shallow diving baits to target the bass when you’re in the shallows. Plugs are great for casting or jigging for bass fishing in the fall.
Topwater fishing lure
A topwater fishing lures are usually of the floating variety. This means, when you’re fishing for bass in the fall, you can move the lure around the surface of the water, to attract them to bite. Bass, at this time of the year, respond especially to fast-moving bait, so this could be a great option for you to get the bite.
Another selling point for topwater fishing lures is that they are ideally suited for fishing in shallow areas. This might be particularly useful, for example, if you plan on going wading in gaiters to catch your bass. If, however, your fishing trip is planned for a bass boat, this might not be the best lure for you to choose. The plug might be a better option for you with its adaptability: you can use it for either for casting or jigging.
One great choice for topwater bait in the fall is The Yo-Zuri Popper. The Yo-Zuri Popper can mimic the movements of a dying shad, which in the fall, is something that bass are eminently hungry for. This movement, on the top of the water, is pretty likely to attract the attention of the bass in the shallows.
Something else that the Yo-Zuri Popper has, which is a great feature of some topwater fishing lures, is that they are popping lures. This means that that make a popping noise as they move along the surface of the water, which in fall especially, can easily attract the attention of the bass below.
In fall, when the water temperatures get to around 40-50 degrees, bass start moving. They travel from the flats and congregate at steep slopes. In late fall, even though it might be a bit nippier, it’s a great experience fishing for bass on sharp drop-offs. Large numbers of them often gather here, so if you find a good spot, you’re more than likely to get a bite. Especially considering that in the fall, bass are hungry for lots of different types of prey, including shad, minnows, and frogs to prepare themselves for the long hard winter ahead.
Keeping in mind that the bass are more likely to congregate at steep slopes during fall, jerk baits can be one of the best baits. This is because jerk baits are ideal for fishing steep banks, and are really well suited to attracting bass’s attention during fall. Jerk baits are also known as bass worms. This is because they’re often more effective than other rubber lures out there in catching bass: bass are more attracted to one type of bait over another depending on where they are located, and the environment.
One type of worm you can use is a grub worm. It looks a bit like larvae, and the tail even moves about to resemble it, making it even more likely that the bass will bite. Or you could opt for a ringworm, that has a longer profile, and lots of circular rings around the body, to make it look more worm-like, and entice the bass. A jerk bait is the most effective bass worm, due to its treble hooks, which will hold fast even when the bass is trying to escape, and the twitching type motion it makes, which is enough to trick a bass into biting.
If you’re fishing for bass who are hiding under weeds, as they tend to do in earlier fall, then we would recommend trying out a floating worm. They hover near the surface and thus work really well for fishing through heavy cover. Topwater movements are necessary for tempting bass out from their hiding place, and for not getting your bait and line in a mess in the weeds.
Except for the details of the right fall bass fishing bait, you also need to consider the behavior of bass in the fall, and year round, to be able to fish them effectively. Firstly, largemouth bass like large, slow-moving rivers or streams with cushioned floors. Largemouth Bass especially like clear water, so bear this in mind when you’re choosing the right fishing spot on the day, and consider using fluorocarbon line so it’s less visible to the bass.
Younger largemouth bass sometimes congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary. In fall, they may gather together in greater numbers, particularly on steep slopes, meaning if you catch it at the right time, your catch might be huge! Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as rock ledges, vegetation, logs, and anything else they can hide under. At the beginning of fall, this is especially the case, so use floating baits at this time.
You should always be checking your Livewell, to figure out and stay updated on the eating habits of the bass for that day. You can then choose the right bait, to match it, and trick them into biting. But if you’re not sure what it is they’re eating, or you’re just starting out for the day, then a good place to start is with a red lure. Bass can see red well, and it makes them more likely to bite. You could consider using a spinnerbait with a red or pink head, or with red hooks.
Fall fishing can be a wonderful, invigorating experience, that is only enhanced by the exciting fight a bass might give you after it’s bitten. Being out on the open water, with the beautiful colors surrounding you in the fall months, is an experience that we think every wannabe angler should try.
As we have seen, different baits suit different conditions and fishing techniques for bass in spring. If you haven’t tried it though, we would recommend giving jigging a try. It might take a while to finesse, but it’s one of the most effective and best fall bass baits.
Bonus tip: Check out this video below on the top five bass fishing lures for the fall season!