Best Baits for Fall Bass Fishing: 5 Lures to Smash The Fall
The fall is considered one of the most challenging fishing seasons in the entire country. As we begin to see a sudden drop in water temperatures, behavioral changes in bass can result in a hard days grind on the water. We as anglers requite a slight altering in approach during this season, and we need to be a bit more specific with bait selection to match the conditions. Here are the 5 best baits for fall bass fishing.
Fall Transition Bass Fishing: Tips for Finding Bass in the Fall
Around late September/October (around the United States), we begin to see water temperatures drop from the low 90’s and mid 80’s, to the lower 70’s and upper 60’s. This sudden drop will result in a considerable drop in the amount of bites we get on the water, and our favorite summer spots may begin to start turning off.
Baitfish are large drivers to bass moving from their normal summer zones, and they’re a key factor to consider when it comes to bait selection during the fall, but we’ll get to this shortly.
Summer fishing is often marked by fishing deeper, cooler, and more oxygenated water - zones where you would find plenty of baitfish. As the fall transition occurs, baitfish will move from these deeper channels in search of warmer water — often marked by shallower pockets of water.
Bass will follow baitfish as they make this move, a large reason why baitfish patterns are my favorite for the fall bass transition. Let’s now look 5 of the best lures for fall bass fishing, and why they’re so effective for this unique time of year.
The best baits for fall bass fishing are blade baits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, micro jigs, and jerkbaits.
1. Blade Baits
Blade baits are simply one of the best imitators for shad — a prominent food source for bass during the fall. The beauty of blade baits is that they tend to be quieter than other baitfish hardbaits, such as a lipless or a normal crankbait. These baits really shine in clearer, calmer conditions.
Another bonus for blade baits, is their wide variety of size. You’ll often see incredible small baitfish during the fall period, and this is often what bass are feeding on. Downsizing on your blade bait will give you a fantastic shad-like imitation and you’ll also be able to target shallower areas.
A slow and steady retrieve with the blade bait gives it an awesome action and you’ll be able to cover loads of water. Fishing a 1/4 ounce is best for 0-7 feet of water, while a 3/8 will help with fishing slightly deeper areas, such as 7-20 feet.
The Damiki Vault is one that has an incredible action and is one of the best shad imitators out there.
Spinnerbaits are also excellent baitfish imitators, especially when chosen with a more natural color. Downsizing is also a good option for spinnerbait fishing in the fall, as smaller baitfish are prominent in this time. A 3/8 ounce is generally a great size here, but if you’re fishing in clearer conditions, a 1/4 ounce will give it a more natural presentation.
A bit of chop on the water along with slightly stained water is the perfect time to bring out a spinnerbait, as they’re slightly louder than the likes of a blade bait. A shad color thrives during the fall transition unless conditions are rough and murky. If this is the case, you’ll want to have shades of chartreuse or other bright textures.
You can’t go wrong with a Strike King’s Tour Grade Double Willow.
3. Finesse Jerkbaits
Although an all-season bait, jerkbaits, and more specifically, finesse jerkbaits, are brilliant baits to throw as we head into the ball fall transition. The smaller profile of a finesse jerkbait is less imposing than a normal jerkbait, and this can often result in more bites, especially during times where water temperatures are dropping considerably.
The erratic action of a jerkbait is the optimal imitation of a dying baitfish — an easy target for a bass and often too hard to ignore. As Kevin VanDam says “the more erratic the action on a jerkbait, the better”. In terms of color selection, again, you’ll want to match the hatch within your system, as bass will most likely be keying in to baitfish during this period.
Rapala's Balsa Xtreme Minnow is perfect for shallower water and it imitates baitfish exceptionally.
We tend to think of topwaters in warmer conditions, but many will turn to topwaters as a premier search bait during the fall. Remember, you’ll often be targeting shallower waters during the fall, especially during the early fall — so a loud topwater can be an effective tool for exposing bass and covering a lot of water.
One option is the whopper plopper — a loud and messy topwater bait that is crazy fun to fish and will simply drive bass mad eventually. When the whopper plopper first hit the scene, they only really came in one size. Since then, we’ve seen a few smaller options, and these can be extremely effective during the fall.
A steady retrieve is key for the whopper plopper in order to get that consistent, erratic tail action. A more translucent color suits calmer conditions, while a darker blend is better when there’s a bit more chop and stained water conditions.
Berkley's Choppo is an awesome bait that comes with a wide variety of colors but also smaller profiles - ideal for the fall transition.
Buzzbaits for Fall Bass Fishing
Secondly, the buzzbait. Another powerful method that finds bass in shallower areas. The buzzbait thrives in rougher conditions (just like a spinnerbait does), and it can cause havoc on the top.
One of the classic applications is taking off the skirt of the buzzbait and putting on a horny toad.
The Strike King KVD Toad Buzz is a fan-favorite when it comes to buzzbaits - especially with a horny toad.
5. Underspin Swimbait
The underspin is another fantastic baitfish imitator and it’s one of the best options there is to match the hatch for the fall. Once again, the bait that bass are feeding on during this time are generally small, so you can apply a small trailer to your underspin hook.
A 1/4 ounce underspin hook along with a 2 or 2.5 inch paddle tail is a natural-born fish catcher and this will often match the size of the baitfish during the fall. A shad color will give this the most natural presentation.
The Berkley Fusion19 Underspin hook keep the blade well away from the bait to avoid tangling, and the shad color matches most hatches well.
Soft Swimbaits for the Underspin
In terms of swimbaits, as mentioned, you want to go for a smaller profile to try and match the size of the bait during the small. For this reason, 2 to 3 inches is the ideal size range. Again, you want to match the hatch in terms of color.
Some awesome swimbaits to consider for the underspin: