Best 4 Search Baits For Fall Bass

Best 4 Search Baits For Fall Bass

To be efficient while bass fishing in the fall, you need to use suitable baits. Tie on the following to be ready for a variety of conditions. (Photo by Ron Sinfelt)

As bass move from their summer haunts and scatter, these fast-fishing baits will help you find them.

For months you have been searching deep water, scanning for schools of bass set up on structure and cover where the water is cooler. And the fish you found were reliable, feeding in the same place, day after day, as long as the weather held relatively stable. But suddenly, they are gone.

As the water cools in the fall, bass get the urge to move to shallow water to feed. They spread out and do not stay in one place long, stopping to feed on cover along their route.

Once in more shallow feeding areas, they use scattered cover to ambush baitfish. The bait is moving and the bass follow, never staying in one place very long. To find and catch these bass, you must cover a lot of water, casting to a variety of places they may be feeding. The more casts you make, the more likely you are to catch fish.

To be efficient, you need to use suitable baits. Something you can fish fast through a variety of cover but that looks like something bass want to eat, or baits that cause a reaction strike. Tie on the following to be ready for a variety of conditions.


CRANKBAITS

FallBass
When the water first cools in the fall, begin fishing deeper-running crankbaits along channel edges. Move to shallower-running baits as the water cools even more later.

When the water first starts to cool, bass will follow contour lines toward the shallows. Crankbaits are a classic search-bait choice because they fish a variety of depths and cover types fast, from key spots on points, creek channels and ledges running into coves and creeks.


To make things simple, choose a brand of crankbait that comes in different sizes for different depths. For example, Rapala DT series baits come in DT 4, DT 6, DT 10 DT 14 and DT 16 sizes. The name tells you they “dive to” that depth on a long cast with light line.


Choose a few colors based on what the bass are eating. Have shad, dark red craw and bluegill colors to cover most situations. The water is usually clear in the fall due to reduced rainfall, so the above colors are consistently good. But if the water muddies up, a chartreuse brown or firetiger bait will be easier for the fish to see.

>>Editor’s Note: This article is featured in the South edition of October's Game & Fish Magazine. Read articles like this and others in your region’s G&F, now on sale at a newsstand near you. Click here for a preview

When the water first starts to cool, start out on points and creek mouths near where you have found schools of deep fish during the summer but fish shallower on them. Cast a deep-running bait, bumping bottom on quick depth changes. If you know the lake, target stumps, rocks and brush. If not, watch your electronics for that cover and cast to it.


Work toward shallower water, casting baits that will contact the bottom but not dig in too much. When you get to the shallows, run the shallow running bait around all cover. You can often see stumps, brush, rocks and logs in a few feet of water that will hold feeding fish when the water cools down enough for them to be comfortable. Work all the way around coves, hitting docks too, all the way to the back, quickly covering the area until you find a feeding bass.

When you catch a fish, note its depth, the cover it is on and position in the area. After covering a cove or creek, move to the next similar one and concentrate on cover and depth combinations similar to what gave up previous fish. Develop a pattern of where the bass are holding.

SPINNERBAITS

FallBass
An excellent search option, spinnerbaits work well because they slide through cover, can be fished at a variety of depths, hook a high percentage of fish and look like forage.

Spinnerbaits are well known as an excellent bait for covering water, and for good reason. You can fish them fast and they look like baitfish, something bass want to eat. And you land a high percentage of bass that hit them.


Spinnerbaits come in a variety of weights, blade types and colors. Willowleaf blades are the best for fishing fast in the fall. Chartreuse and white skirts with one silver and one gold blade work under most conditions, but in extremely clear water translucent skirts with silver blades will draw more strikes.

Trailers on the spinnerbait can make a big difference. A simple split-tail trailer is best for fast moving spinnerbaits, but a small swimbait looks more realistic. Match the trailer color to the skirt color.

Start out on points at the mouths of coves and small creeks, and fish into the cove. It is easier to fish deeper cover with a heavy spinnerbait. Strikezone Lures offers spinnerbaits up to 2.5 ounces to hit the deepest cover, but a 1-ounce bait is usually heavy enough in the early fall. The heavier baits come in standard colors as well as a special “Clearwater” series, and Strikezone makes lighter baits in many colors, too.

As you fish up the point into shallower water, switch to lighter baits. Cast to all cover on the point, trying a fast retrieve near the top first. But if fish are unwilling to come up to hit, slow the bait down a little and get it near the bottom cover. A heavier bait will let you do this and still fish fast.

Back in the cove, a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce bait is best. If the bass are feeding on smaller baitfish like threadfin shad, use the smaller bait. Run it fast along logs, beside brush, docks and bushes and over rocks. It is often effective to run a spinnerbait up to and over a stump, brush pile or boulder, then stop it and let it flutter down on the deep side.

Wind blowing into a rocky point is an excellent place to cast a spinnerbait. Waves break up schools of shad and confuse other baitfish, making them easy targets for bass. A 1/2-ounce spinnerbait cast to the bank and fished fast just below the surface mimics a panicked baitfish and will draw vicious strikes.

In the fall, bass will follow a line of docks into a cove and hold on them as they move. A spinnerbait run right along the floats or posts and cast into the deepest shadows you can hit will catch fish. A lighter 1/4- to 3/8-ounce bait will let you do this fast but effectively.

BUZZBAITS

FallBass
The go-to choice for fish holding on shallow or submerged cover, buzzbaits can also draw fish from depths, particularlyin clear water conditions.

A buzzbait is fun to fish since you can see it and watch the blowup, and they draw reaction as well as feeding strikes in the fall. Sometimes they will draw bass up from deeper water, but they shine over and around shallow cover. You can fish them fast over any kind of cover.

A 1/2-ounce bait in white with a silver blade is usually the first choice, but at times a completely black bait works better. Try a 1/4-ounce bait if you are missing strikes. In the fall, a double-bladed bait is good for bigger fish. Stick with one brand to make it simple; for example, Strike King makes baits in a variety of weights, colors and blade configurations.

Start casting to water 6 feet deep or less and work around the cove, from one point to the other and everything between. Run it over rocks, logs, stumps and brush and beside and under docks. As you move between known cover, keep casting. Bass will often be moving across bare bottoms between cover stops so offer them an easy meal. Between docks, bass will hold on cables anchoring them, so cover that area too.

BLADED JIGS

FallBass
Bladed jigs are the premier pick for ripping through shallow grass. Tie them on when bass head for the backs of coves and creeks to feed on baitfish in the fall.

Often you will find very thick cover like green or dead grass in small pockets along the bank and in the back of coves. You can run a buzzbait over it and a spinnerbait or crankbait just over the top of it, but a bladed jig is your best choice. It will catch fish around all cover going into the cove, but when it is ripped through grass it can’t be beat.

The Chatterbait brand was the first bladed jig on the market and it comes in a variety of colors and sizes to fit any situation. Shad sometimes move in around grass to feed, and if you see them flashing and dimpling the water, choose a white bait with a silver blade. But there are always bluegill in grass, and a brown bait with gold blade imitates them. Use a trailer matching the bait for added effectiveness.

Cast your bladed jig far back in the grass, reel it along through the cover, and snatch it when it hangs up. That darting movement will draw a reaction strike. Work all grass cover with a bladed jig.

Have these four baits tied on to cover water fast. The more water you cover in the fall, the more bass you can catch.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it. Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish! Bass

Baitfish for Bass: Search, Suspend or Sink Crankbaits

Jason Houser - May 21, 2019

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish!

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of defense is insect repellent with DEET to keep chiggers at bay. But when you do get a few chigger bites, use Chigarid to treat them. Hunting How-To

How to Treat Chigger Bites

Lynn Burkhead

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

See More Stories

More Bass

This Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour angler learned the tools of the bass trade on the salt. Bass

Q&A with MLF Pro Adrian Avena

Joel Shangle - September 25, 2019

This Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour angler learned the tools of the bass trade on the...

Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country is found in these well-known fisheries. Bass

Top Smallie Spots: Lakes Champlain & Erie

Jeff Knapp

Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country is found in these well-known...

When the bite turns tough, downsize your baits to improve your chances. Bass

Think Small to Score Big on Smallmouth Bass

Pete M. Anderson - October 08, 2019

When the bite turns tough, downsize your baits to improve your chances.

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.