Fall is a time of year when the days start getting shorter, the leaves start changing colors and many anglers are left with the dilemma of the tree stand or a bass boat?
Chasing a record whitetail buck is a passion for some, but for those anglers that continue to fish thru the fall of the year the rewards can be bountiful.
Here are a few tips to help you catch more fall bass on hard baits.
Early Fall Bass Fishing
Early fall bass fishing starts sooner in the northern sections of the United States and progresses south.
The two main factors that begin this transition time of year are the shortening of the daylight hours and the colder night time temperatures.
Often times cold fronts begin to push down from Canada, and even tho the water temperatures may not drop instantly the bass sure do feel it!
What I find is that the bass, which are located in summer hideouts do not instantly change locations. What happens is that the bass start to suspend or locate themselves on the shallowest part of the offshore structure.
On grass lakes where fish were located in the thickest of grass to hide from the summer heat, begin to pull out to thinner sections of the grass. This can be pockets of open water in and around the grass bed, or this can be the outside edge of the grass.
A foolproof pattern of mine that I always try to locate in grass lakes this time of year are sand holes. I scan bays of grass and look for the holes in the grass that have bare bottom. If I can locate these holes I am guaranteed to find bass.
Mid-Fall Bass Fishing
The Mid-Fall phase of bass fishing is when the magic begins to happen. Typically, the water temperatures will be down below 65 degrees and its dark by 6pm.
The largest change that triggers this time of year is the dying of the grass here in the mid-atlantic. It’s time to start finding hard structure and bait fish.
The first grass that starts to die is the Hydrilla and Coontail. Often times large mats of pulled dying grass can be found floating on the surface of the lake. When I see this I instantly start to look for hard structure like laydowns, rocks/riprap and boat docks.
I pay particular attention to the backs of creeks that have some depth to them. Basically I am fishing the deep sides or channel sides of the creeks.
The hot spots of the creeks tend to be what I call dead end channels. This is where the deep water ends in the back of a creek, and if I can find one that ends right at the beginning of a flat then it’s lights out!
The more bait fish I find in a creek the more productive the creek is. A sure sign is to watch the surface of the water to see flickering bait fish, or watching for birds lining the banks.
Late Fall Bass Fishing
Late fall bass fishing is when the water temperatures are between 45-52 degrees. The morning boat rides are often filled with fog, and heavy winter gear!
I am simply trying to find rocks and steeper banks. Bridges that go over creeks with rip rap are magnets for bass. The rocks really hold the heat of the shorter days and baitfish really congreagte around them.
For baits I use shallow and medium diving crankbaits. I do begin to throw a suspending jerkabait more and I generally catch my largest fish of the day on them.
Once I pick off the aggressive fish, I always slow down with a jig and finesse tactics to coax the remaining fish off of a spot.
Unlike earlier in the fall where I am in constant search mode locating the most aggressive fish, this late season phase of fall has the bass schooled up and I can spend hours catching fish from one location.
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