Fishing Bass with Squarebills

Ambassador Spotlight | Brandon “BB” Rader

Squarebills are a fall fishing staple. And this statement holds true when talking to MONSTERBASS Ambassador Brandon “BB” Rader. BB is a big believer in the squarebill, as it’s a bait he has a lot of confidence in.  

“It’s a confidence bait for sure,” said BB. “But I can cover a lot of water with it too.” 

BB hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where he has easy access to several different river systems. 

Fishing Squarebills with Brandon Rader

“I fish the Tennessee River system on Fort Loudon Lake mostly. And then the Little Pigeon River, the French Broad and the Holston. I’m pretty much all over. Mainly river systems and Fort Loudon Lake.” 

Squarebills will work well on all sorts of fisheries, but they work particularly well on river systems, which are typically littered with cover for bass to hang around.  

“I’m looking for rocks, trees and other structure. Pretty much throwing it anywhere I think I’ll get hung up. That’s usually where I get a strike.” 

The squarebill has been a mainstay in BB’s lineup for a long time now, as it was one of the first baits he started catching fish with.  

“It’s a good bait for beginners to use because you’ll probably have a lot of luck and a lot of success with it. Then you’ll grow to be confident with it like I did.” 

“It’s something I’ve been using for probably about five years straight. I’ve always got one tied up.” 

Always means always with BB, winter, spring, summer and fall. But BB relies even more heavily on this lure in the fall.   

“I like it during the fall because the bite turns on, here probably over the next week. But I use it all year long, even in the cold months of January and February.” 

BB keeps the color selection pretty simple and bases it on the water clarity primarily. 

“In the muddy water, I’m using a bright sexy shad color. And then the darker colors like purple and brown in the clear water.” 

There are times though when BB recommends changing things up a bit with the color selection.  

“If you’re not getting bit on one color, try the next. Go the opposite direction on your colors. It might produce the bite.” 

There are dozens of companies making squarebills now, if not hundreds. So BB again tries to keep things simple, and relies on one particular bait he has a lot of confidence in.  

“My favorite squarebill is the Strike King 1.5 Hard Knock, that’s got the ball bearings. It just makes a little more racket than their regular squarebill. It’s a different sound that kind of gets good reaction strikes out of it.” 

If BB has a bass take a swipe at his squarebill and not get it, he’ll pitch something else back in right behind it. This happens sometimes and is why he keeps a followup bait handy.  

“If I get a strike on the squarebill and miss it, I’ll probably throw the Ned rig behind it.” 

Locating fish in the fall is typically a visual thing for BB. He’s looking for specific pieces of cover as previously stated, but also for features along the shore.  

“Mouths of the creeks, any kind of creek spilling into the river system, or culverts. Anything that looks juicy.” 

He also uses his eyes to key in on the baitfish the bass are searching for in the fall.   

“I don’t really use fish finders. I’m kind of old fashioned. I just follow the birds and any kind of schools of baitfish running. And I’ll throw it into those schools of bait when they’re getting crushed from underneath.” 

Boat positioning is key when fishing a squarebill in the fall, in order to keep the bait in the highest percentage strikezone as long as possible each cast. 

“I try to position myself parallel with the banks, so I can stay in that certain depth of water without going from shallow to deep. I want to keep my bait in that 6- to 8- feet depth range, all the way up to 2- feet. Just trying to get it to crash off the rocks as much as a I can, and whatever’s down there without getting hung up.” 

For the line, rod and reel, BB prefers 14- pound K9 Fluorocarbon, a 7- foot medium heavy rod and a 7:1 gear ratio reel. If you’ve never tried a squarebill in the fall, tie one on a setup similar to this and give it a shot. BB feels confident you’ll be glad you did.  

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