These baits will consistently produce as the seasons change and bass get finicky.
As summer cools to fall and water conditions change, successful bass fishermen start modifying their tactics. The same techniques that work so well in the summer start to wane in productivity as fall approaches, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a blast fishing for bass in the fall. You just need to switch up your tactics.
Figuring out what works in cooler weather can be difficult! Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of some of the top bass baits you’ll want to be fishing this fall, as well as some tactics and strategies you’ll want to change as the cooler season approaches.
We talked to accomplished tournament bass fisherman Lane Olson (above) to learn what strategies need to change as the summer transitions to fall. Here are a few of the key things you need to know.
Fall Bass Fishing Technique: Deeper & Slower
One of the trickiest times to fish for bass is in the transition from summer to fall. When the water is still warm during the day but cooler in the mornings and evenings, fish move around differently than they do in the dog days of summer.
“During the transition from summer to fall, bass will be shallower in the mornings, but they’ll move deeper as the day progresses. It’s kind of a weird time of year, and you’ll need to adapt your strategy to that pattern,” Olson said.
Once fall kicks into full swing, bass become increasingly lethargic. Olson recommends fishing deeper and slower as the weather becomes cooler, as it’s more difficult to find bass in shallower water. You can catch plenty of bass this way, and cool weather doesn’t always signify terrible fishing. It’s just a sign that your approach needs to be smartly adapted to the conditions present.
Now that you know how to adjust your tactic for bass fishing in the fall, let’s take a look at some of the best baits to have productive days in the cooler weather.
Best Bass Baits for Fall
Crankbaits ($8-10) are a top producer during the fall and winter months. Olson commented, “Sometimes, you can ignore the rule of fishing slower and deeper with a bait like a crank. It’s a reaction bite, and even in cooler weather, bass will be willing to crush it.”
You can expect to see a lot of fish to hand with a crankbait whether you’re fishing for smallmouth or largemouth, as they’re both always eager to attack a crankbait. A more gentle presentation, especially during the winter months, can help catch more fish. Bass tend to be a bit slower-moving as the seasons progress.
Although Olson’s favorite is a black-and-blue football jig ($10-16), any variation of this classic bass bait is a go-to during fall. Even bass that have slowed down for the season will still be willing to inhale a football jig.
Again, this is a productive bait for both smallmouth and largemouth. It’ll work well in lakes, rivers — really anywhere bass live. Simply put, the football jig is a wildly effective method to catch bass during the fall and winter months.
Arguably the most classic bass baits of all time, Senkos ($3-23) are popular for a reason. They can be fished in a multitude of different ways and, no matter what, seem to be incredibly productive.
Though they work well in the summer, Senkos are especially important to bring into the heavy rotation as fall approaches. They represent a fairly easy feeding opportunity for lethargic bass, and some of the best days on the water in the fall are a result of a well-fished Senko. A Carolina or drop-shot rig is Olson’s top recommendations for fishing a Senko properly in the fall.
The well-known “A-rig” ($6-22) is a tool that every successful bass fisherman will want to have in their arsenal as fall approaches. This one is especially deadly when heavy numbers of baitfish are present, but it works well regardless and is a killer in the fall.
Depending on the local regulations in your state, you may have to fish some dummy baits on the rig. Not all states allow more than a few hooks on one line, so make sure to check regulations and be sure you’re fishing legally before you go out.
Once you’re on the water, though, the Alabama rig just might become your new favorite method to fish for bass. It’s worth noting these are generally fished for smallmouth from a boat, so largemouth anglers or bank anglers might want to give the A-rig a pass.
Fished correctly, spinnerbaits ($8) will produce consistent catches throughout fall. The water hasn’t cooled down enough yet to make fish entirely sluggish, and they’ll still attack a spinnerbait fished with enough finesse.
Olson said he prefers to “fish spinnerbaits for largemouth, but they’ll work for just about anything. Just fish them along structure a little slower than you would during the summer seasons, and you’re in for a great day.” No matter where you choose to fish, spinnerbaits are deadly as seasons transition and the water starts to cool down.
Plenty of other baits will produce healthy numbers of bass during the fall, but these are our favorites that will consistently provide the best results. Whatever you decide to fish, remember to fish slower and deeper, adapt to where the fish will be, and realize that bass will change their behaviors as water temperatures cool off.
Try out these baits and enjoy successful days on the water this fall. Just because temperatures cool off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun out there, so get fishing! See you on the water.