Many of us have spent a hot summer day casting for bass on some lake. It’s a great way to shed the stress of a hard work week—or any other reason you can come up with to just go fishing. Just because the summer has wound down, doesn’t mean you have to put away the bass fishing gear. Fall is a great time to boat some serious bucket-mouths. Let’s go fishing!

Find the foliage

During the summer, it’s not hard to find weed beds and other foliage that bass use for cover. As autumn kicks in, plants die off in the lakes, causing that cover to disperse. Find the last remnants of green foliage and you will find bass. These plants provide oxygen for bass and the baitfish bass are actively feeding on.

Work the edges of these weed beds with a stick bait, like a Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue, that simulates a wounded baitfish. Pick a color that matches the water conditions and bait. If you aren’t sure, chrome or white-colored lures are a safe bet. If the water is stained or muddy, gold, chartreuse, orange, or red lures are the way to go.

Use a technique-specific rod like Cabela’s Tournament ZX Bass Casting Rod that gives you the optimal feel for working the baits along the edges. Pair it with a Cabela’s Arachnid Baitcasting Reel that allows for flawless long casts. This lets you cover a lot of water in a hurry, which is imperative this time of year. It isn’t easy to find live weed beds in autumn, so you’re going to be a little hit and miss.

Find the rocks

If finding green plant life is a little too tricky, there’s another bit of structure that will hold autumn bass: rocks. Rocks provide cover for baitfish and bass alike.

Ever been camping and noticed that the rocks around the campfire stay hot for hours? Rocky areas of a lake will hold heat longer than the rest of the area, making that water temperature higher than the surrounding water. As the water temperatures drop, bass grow more and more lethargic. They are drawn to warmer water, so look for the rocks.

Fishing around rocky areas in colder weather means that you’ve got to use a little more finesse and really be in tune with what’s going on under the surface. Try using an extremely sensitive casting rod, like a G.Loomis E6X Bass Casting Rod. The E6X lets you feel every bump and nudge of the rocks and the subtle hits from the fish. It also has enough backbone to bring those lunkers into the boat. Pair it with a high-quality reel, like the Shimano Curado I Casting Reel. The Curado has the necessary “oomph” to haul the fish off the rocks. The design of the reel lets you adjust on the fly, another necessity while fishing the changing conditions of autumn.

Try bouncing a soft bait, like a Gary Yamamoto Original Senko, over the rocks. The slow action, combined with the scent and flavor impregnated into the body, make these versatile baits a winner. If hard baits are more to your liking, try running a Rat-L-Trap Lures Super Trap along the rocks. The lipless crankbaits make a ton of noise, even at slow speeds, and the wiggle is irresistible to bass trying to catch a meal before the long winter months close things down.

One thing to keep in mind: autumn is not a time to put extra stress on a fish if you intend to release it. A fish gripper, like a Berkley Lip Grip, gets the fish back in the water with minimal stress. Depending on which model you get, you can either measure the fish or get an accurate weight. In any event, you’ve got a pretty good idea of how big your fish was. If you want to add a little to that info later on when bragging to your buddies, well, that’s up to you.

This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.

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