Fall Fishing - Speed of Bait
The Fall is hands down the toughest time of the year to catch bass in many parts of the country. It’s the time of year when bass transition from their summer homes out in deep water to the backs of creeks, rivers, and pockets where the bait is.
When bass are making this transition they only stop a few times to eat, making it extremely tough fishing for bass anglers.
The secret in triggering these fish to bite is not found simply in a bait selection. The secret is found in the speed of the bait.
Cranks are an excellent bait selection for targeting bass in the Fall, particularly small square bill crankbaits, such as the SPRO Little John and SPRO Baby Fat John. These baits are perfect examples of how speed kills this time of year.
The approach when fishing with a square bill is simple, but extremely effective. Look for areas with both bait and some sort of structure.
Use, at a minimum, a 6:2:1 to 7:5:1 gear ratio reel to ensure you are working that bait quickly. Simply throw the bait out and reel it back in with speed, allowing it to deflect off rocks, stumps, trees and any kind of structure on the bottom. The erratic action of the square bill will come from this deflection off of structure. As fish see this bait coming through the water with this quick and erratic action, they are faced with a split second decision… to eat or let a meal pass them by.
This increased speed, forcing the fish to make a split second decision, will often work in your favor resulting in more fish catches.
Another crank that flat out gets bit in the Fall with this speedy retrieve is a small lipless crankbait, such as the SPRO Aruku Shad Jr or RAT-L Trap (1/4 oz.).
Look for similar areas, as you would a square bill, and simply throw it out and reel it in at a medium-fast retrieve. This bait is yet another example of speed triggering bass to bite in the Fall. As you reel it in, bass see this tight wiggling crank for a split second and are faced with the same split decision… to eat or let a meal pass them by.
Color selection with these crankbaits is simple in the Fall. If you are not around bait that is everywhere, then throw a shad pattern. If you are around an area that has bait everywhere, then you will want to choose a bait that is a little different to make your bait more enticing. You may want something with some chartreuse or flash or maybe even a craw pattern. This makes your crankbait stand out from the hundreds of others swimming around.
When fishing jigs in the Fall, speed also plays an important factor believe it or not. In the Fall, you should move to a heavier jig such as a 1/2 oz. Ike’s Mini Flip. This jig is heavy and compact, two things that really make it a killer choice. You want to steer clear of lighter jigs, such as 1/4 oz. or 3/8 oz.
They fall too slowly for this time of year. This heavier 1/2 oz. will force the bass to make a split second decision. When facing post-frontal conditions in the Fall, you may want to move to the 3/8 oz. Ike’s Micro Football Jig. This bait is extremely compact and falls fast enough. This jig will get you bites often times on difficult days where other jigs won’t, due to the compact nature of it.
Color selection is pretty much the same when fishing with these heavier jigs. Choose a color that you have confidence in, bump up to that heavier size and you will catch fish.
Topwater fishing is notorious for catching fish in the Fall, particularly buzzbaits and ploppers. There is a reason that these baits really excel and that is due to speed as well. That split second decision is once again killer and will get you more bites. Fishing fast can be applied to all topwaters, even baits such as walking baits and poppers.
Just decrease the time that you pause your bait and get it moving a little faster. Throwing wake baits with speed or even throwing baits such as a spinnerbait and waking it under the surface will work great with speed as well. As you wake baits such as these, throwing in a brief pause can be deadly as well.
A key when fishing this way in the Fall is to cover water. Due to this transition, the fish aren’t bunched up much at all. If you aren’t getting bit in one area, move to another. Keep locating bait and fire your bait around that and structure and work it back quickly. As you move around the lake and fish with this speedy retrieve, eventually you will get bit.