Fall Largemouth Bass Fishing
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The Fall season signals shorter days, quieter lakes, and a fish population preparing for the winter freeze. Most anglers will find that many of lures and techniques used over bedding bass in May will have little or no effect in October. While this may be frustrating, knowing where to look for the bass and what to use will make all the difference.
Where is the fall bass bite?
To understand where the bass are, its best to have an underwater awareness of your favorite lake or water way. Meaning to have a general picture of underwater structure, depths, currents and other characteristics of the places you fish.
During the fall, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass have one goal in mind – fatten up for winter.
However, unlike early summer you'll find the bass to be more sluggish when suspended alone since the water is cooler and usually clearer. It's very easy to get frustrated throwing a Rapala DT right at a 5 lb largemouth, only to have him ignore it and slowly swim away. Perhaps this is why many recreational anglers give up on fishing after Labor Day.
Patience, persistence and instinct
Bass are a predator fish. They feed on frogs, crawfish, worms, shellfish and more. But in the Fall, they are usually after one thing — schooling shad. Even the most sluggish lunker, will liven up when presented a frenzied group of shad. Usually, these schools are found in small bays over dying vegetation, or "upstream" if dealing with a tributary-fed lake. Once you find the shad...you've found the bass. This is where patience and instinct come into play. In many cases, even with skittish shad jumping all around you, you may not even get a tick on your line — even though your instincts tell you that this is the place to be. It is. You need to be persistent.
What to Use for Fall Hogs
The best lures for the fall bite are lures that emulate the shad itself, in an aggressive fashion. "Shad-style" soft swimbaits generally don't work. Although they probably "look" more like a shad than anything else in your tackle box, leave them at home because the action is generally not strong enough.
The two most effective lures we've found for this type of fishing are the Bass Pro Shops XPS TriVibe and the Eppinger Dardevle spoon. This is most like due to the medium-to-fast retrieve necessary for fish these lures. The combination of shape, color, flash and speed resemble skittish, schooling shad. Once you find the shad, stick with one lure or the other. It may take 100 casts or more, but you'll usually find larger bass easier to catch during this time of year — and as a special bonus, they usually travel in groups of half a dozen or so cruising the shorelines and bays in search of the shad.