Elite Fall Tips: Butcher Stays Shallow

Elite Fall Tips: Butcher Stays Shallow
Elite Fall Tips: Butcher Stays Shallow

by Steve Wright, OutdoorChannel.com

Fall is about eliminating water. That’s the way Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry Butcher views it, and it makes autumn one of his favorite times to bass fish.

“The fish get really shallow,” said the 40-year-old Talala, Okla., pro. “I like fishing shallow. Once the temperatures get down there, I don’t have to worry about those guys offshore beating me because you can win on the bank.”

When the water surface temperature drops into the 70s, the fall bass fishing patterns begin. And they will hold as temperatures continue to drop into the 50s.


The tackle arsenal for the two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier gets pretty simple then. He’ll start his day with something on the surface – sometimes a Zara Spook, but usually a Booyah Pip Squeak buzzbait. His color choice in that buzzbait might surprise you.


“Early in the morning in the fall I always want to throw a buzzbait,” Butcher said. “It’s just a good topwater bait for me that time of year. I can cover a lot more water with it than I can with a Spook or something like that.


“I like black. It’s something a little bit different than what everybody else is throwing. I’ve had a lot of success on black, but it’s mainly in the early morning hours and in low light conditions. As the day gets lighter, I’ll go to white.”

That black buzzbait Butcher throws is actually a two-color mix on both the blades and the skirt of black and deep orange or red. It’s called azur.

Once the buzzbait action ends, Butcher will change to an Xcalibur square-billed crankbait. His two favorite colors are citrus shad for dingier water and foxy lady in clearer water.


“Shad start getting up on the bank,” Butcher said, “and the bass start coming in with them. My absolute favorite bait to throw then is that Xcalibur 100 series crankbait. I’ll throw it anywhere in one to three feet of water – points, rock, wood – anywhere fish might be holding.

Butcher ‘s favorite fall bait is an Xcalibur 100 Series crankbait. This citrus shad color is good for dingier water. (Steve Wright photo)

“Especially here in Oklahoma, I’m going to target logs and weeds. On Grand Lake, for example, they like to get on really shallow flat rocky points.”

Butcher will have two other lures tied on the rods on his boat deck. One is a spinnerbait, usually in a white or white-and-chartreuse color pattern, that he’ll burn around wood structure and shallow points. The other is a Yum Wooly Bug tied on a flipping stick.


“I’ll always flip a Wooly Bug at a piece of wood,” Butcher said. “If it’s dirty water, I’m going to throw a black neon color. If it’s just stained water, I’ll use a Big O color, which is kind of a green-pumpkin/blue.”

Butcher makes fall fishing sound simple – stick with a few baits, concentrate on one to three feet of water, and work those lures around any available cover. Best of all, you don’t even have to look behind you, because the anglers fishing offshore aren’t going to beat you, if you’re playing your cards correctly.

Browning up a creek

Which came first, the chicken or the egg, or in this case, the bass or the shad? Elite angler Stephen Browning doesn’t know if bass follow the shad or if bass are just moving shallow with the water surface temperatures cooling.

But he does know fall is his favorite time of year. Bass seem to know it’s time to start gorging. When that happens, Browning focuses on fishing topwater lures.

“I like topwater baits, and I’ve always been a big double-prop guy,” he said. “Something in a shad pattern is best. I like buzzbaits, too. Anything that imitates that gurgling sound of a shad getting busted by another fish, that’s what I start off with.

“I’ll start in the very, very back end of creeks. What I look for is where you can almost see the bottom, then that little break. It’s a foot-and-a-half to two-foot break most of the time.”

Stephen Browning will use a LiveTarget Crawfish to dig around mud flats, bounce off chunk rock banks, roll through timber and target isolated logs in the backs of creeks. (Steve Wright photo)

Clunn goes square

Four-time Bassmaster Classic winner Rick Clunn said his favorite lure this time of year has long been a square-billedcrankbait.

He won the 1976 Classic throwing a Bagley Honey Bee crankbait, but now favors a Luck E Strike Series 1, 2 or 3. He says size is key and the fish will tell you.

“The one thing that’s important in the fall is what size bait the fish want,” said the Ava, Mo., resident. “Sometimes they want a big one; the next year they might want a small one.”

Follow the shad

Keith Poche says fall is all about shad, and matching what the fish are feeding on. So the Elite Series angler carries a variety of lures and starts the day with topwaters.

“Buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, Pop-Rs — those types of baits are good first thing in the morning,” Poche said. “You're concentrating on shad.”

Poche’s second choice is a crankbait — either a square-bill or something that runs just a little deeper (5 to 10 feet). Poche prefers Luck E Strike crankbaits and will adjust size and depth depending on what the fish seem to want that day.

“You really have to match what the bass are feeding on.,” Poche said. “Let the fish tell you what they want.”

Another of Poche’s fall favorites is a spinnerbait. He burns it and bumps cover to get a reaction bite. (Steve Wright photo)

Recommended for You

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think? Bass

MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

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 and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

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

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Memorial Day Recipes for Your Outdoor BBQ

OutdoorChannel.com Staff

Celebrate the start of summer with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these...

See More Stories

More Fishing How-To

Here's how you choose the best topwater baits and where, when and how to fish them. Bass

Topwater Lures, Tactics for Summer Bass

Ronnie Garrison - June 24, 2019

Here's how you choose the best topwater baits and where, when and how to fish them.

Adapt and adjust based on conditions to bring more smallies to the boat. Bass

Smallmouth Bass Lures, Tactics for Game Changes

Glenn Walker - August 12, 2019

Adapt and adjust based on conditions to bring more smallies to the boat.

Locate crappie, adapt to weather, hit structure and fill your stringer with slabs. Panfish

Catch Slabs for Your Next Fish Fry, Year-Round

Keith Sutton - August 22, 2019

Locate crappie, adapt to weather, hit structure and fill your stringer with slabs.

See More Fishing How-To

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.

×