Bass fishing might seem like a summer activity. But don’t put those rods away just yet. Fall is a great time to reel in America’s most popular fish.
If you’re like me, you’re probably looking for any reason to get outside and play on these slow and pleasant fall days. The thrill of bass fishing in the fall is an excellent reason!
Like plenty of other animals in nature, bass spend their autumn days preparing for the cold winter by stocking up on food. Even though they’re slowing down and saving energy for the long winter ahead, they’re biting — a lot.
Whether you’ve been fishing for years, are preparing for your first trip, or land anywhere in between, these fall bass fishing tips will get you on your way to catching some monster bass.
How to Catch Bass in the Fall
Seek Out Quality Bass Habitat
If you’re good with a map, situate yourself in areas where lakes and ponds meet running bodies of water like rivers and creeks. The bass will be lingering near the running water since some of their favorite prey, shad and crawfish, will be migrating into the lakes.
In the fall, keep your eyes peeled for green weeds sticking up out of the water. You’ll often find bass near them since the foliage provides both oxygen and baitfish.
Spend time casting near rocks, too, especially if you’re fishing from a dock. The rocks hold heat, and both baitfish and bass tend to savor that warmth.
Break Out the Fish Finder
Do you sometimes wish you could just peer into the water and see where the fish are? With a fish finder, you can!
You won’t be able to tell what kind of fish are appearing on the finder, but it doesn’t matter that much. If you see big schools, you’ll know this is likely some type of baitfish, and a few bass could certainly be lurking nearby.
With a fish finder, you’ll also be able to see structures where you know bass prefer to congregate, like weeds, rocks, trees, and flats.
There are sonar fish finders available for all budget levels, and the Venterior Portable Fish Finder ($40) is a good standard to have on hand.
Correctly Outfit Your Tackle Box
Let’s face it, choosing lures can be overwhelming. From a plethora of types, colors, and sizes, we’ve selected five tried-and-true lures that resemble natural prey and are enticing to all species of bass, specifically in the fall.
These lures can help you hook a whopper.
This lure resembles shad (one of a bass fish’s favorite meals) that are migrating from rivers and streams into lakes and ponds. You can’t go wrong with a silver- or white-color crankbait.
Use this lure in shallow waters, and your bass will be fooled with this lure because its movements so closely resemble the bass’s natural prey.
Now, when you get to your fishing spot, you have to decide which spinnerbait to use based on the water clarity. If you keep your tackle box loaded with options, you can choose silver single-blade spinnerbait for foggy water, and a silver double-blade spinnerbait for clear water.
If you’re using a sonar fish finder, use buzzers when you locate a school of lure fish. This sophisticated lure will rile up the big boys, so get ready to sink your hook, hold on tight, and catch yourself a great bass.
If you’ve been fishing hard in one spot for a while with no bites, switch over to a rubber worm. Especially in high-traffic lakes, the worm’s modest presentation might be just what the bass need to let their guard down and go after a bite of something simple and easy.
We’ve had great success with this natural-looking, single-tailed Zoom trick worm. For most water, a natural color like Green Pumpkin or Rainbow Shad should suffice.
If your water is crystal clear, though, go for something more translucent, like Mardi Gras or Lemon Shad. If you’re in murky water, stick to natural colors that will also be easy to spot, like Disco Violet and Pumpkin Spice.
Don’t be too quick to throw out old rubber worms, either. Not only will it be kinder to your wallet, but a hungry bass might also see a battered worm as an easy meal, especially as their metabolism slows way down in late fall to conserve energy.
As bass are gearing down for the winter, their main priority is fattening up. You really can’t go wrong bass fishing with live bait such as minnows, shad, and crawfish.
Check out your local bait and tackle shop to stock up on live bait (or harvest your own). Also, get yourself a bait bucket for your feeder fish to live in until you’re ready to use them.
Intermediate to advanced anglers who feel comfortable with sophisticated baits should check out these best fall bass fishing baits.
If a Spot Delivers, Stick Around
In the fall when they’re hunting, bass live in schools. Don’t just catch one bass and move on to the next spot — keep fishing that hole!
If you’re up to it, experiment with different bait and see which ones work best for you. Keep notes on your location, baits used, time of day, weather conditions, and so on, so you can hit it hard again next year. Apps like FishBrain can help you track and log your catches!
Hopefully, these fall bass fishing tips leave you feeling confident and excited to hit the water this fall. You can take all the tips in the world, but there’s definitely real-life practice required to catch bass consistently.
Because there’s no such thing as a bad day fishing, do keep these tips in mind. But, above all else, prioritize your experience over the amount of fish you catch.
See you out there, and happy fishing!