Falling temperatures mean the summer is turning into autumn. Fall is a great time to go fishing. Bass are feeding and they are starting to move towards their winter destinations. They usually school up in large groups and once you find one, there’s usually more in the area. There are quite a few ways I like to catch them during the fall, including top water, cranking, and with a shaky head.
It’s tough to beat top water fishing anytime of year. During the fall I like to throw buzz baits and walking baits. For my walking bait I will use a Megabass Giant Dog-X. This bait walks very well with minimal effort. Baitfish are usually big in the fall and the size of the Dog-X will match the forage on most bodies of water. I will use a variety of retrieves, but a slow and steady retrieve seems to be the best. While early morning and early evening can be the best times for top water fishing, don’t hesitate to try doing it all day. Keep your eyes and ears open for fish feeding on or near the surface. This can happen in depths anywhere from one foot of water to over 50 feet of water. If you can find fish feeding near the surface, you can be in for one heck of a good fishing day.
Fall cranking can also be a lot of fun. I’ll mix up my baits between a deep diver and a shallow square bill depending on where my graphs are showing fish. Megabass has a wide variety of crankbaits, but two deep divers I like are the Deep-X 300 and the Deep Six. For the shallow running square bill, I use the Megabass Knuckle 60 most of the time. I will cover a lot of water and when I find them I know there should be more in the area. I will slow down and fish that area thoroughly. If they stop eating the crankbait I won’t give up on the spot, I’ll switch up. Often I can get a few more fish in the boat using a finesse technique before moving on to the next area.
Speaking of finesse fishing, a shaky head is always a technique I have ready to go. While a shaky head is a finesse technique, it can also be a power technique. I can use it to cover water and search for fish. I’ll use a quarter-ounce Z-Man Fishing Shaky HeadZ with either a Z-Man Fishing Finesse WormZ or a Floating WormZ. The shaky head is also my choice of techniques when I know there are fish in an area and they are tough to catch. It’s a great technique for highly-pressured areas.
So as the temperatures drop, focus on top water, cranking, and a shaky head to put more fish in your boat. Remember that when you find one fish there will usually be more, because they are schooling up. Focus on areas near wintering deep water locations. Fall fishing is usually an easy time to pattern fish and have consistently good days on the water. Remember to practice catch, photo, and release and take a kid, friend, or family member fishing.
Image courtesy Luke Clausen