There’s a massive array of options when it comes to crankbaits these days. You have deep divers and shallow runners, baits with wide wobbles and some with tight wiggles, craw colors and shad patterns, silent ones and baits that rattle and the list of options goes on and on.
For the vast majority of us, selecting a crankbait for fall fishing can be simplified quite a bit. If the primary fall forage for bass in your area is shad, then there are a few things that you’re looking for when selecting a crankbait. Here they are.
With color, 9 times out of 10 it’s match the hatch in the fall. You’re looking for a color scheme that closely resembles that of a shad. In super clear water, lean towards shad patterns that are more transparent. In slightly stained or green water, go with the more solid shad colors.
The one time you’ll venture out of the more obvious shad patterns is in particularly muddy water, where you’ll want to go with a chartreuse and black back bait. This color scheme will help the fish see the bait a little better, while still mimicking the basic two-tone pattern of a shad. As the bait rocks back and forth, the same flash is created by all of these baits, which mimics that of a shad well.
For the fall, we’re throwing out deep divers all together when selecting crankbaits. Sure, there are a few stragglers out deep that could still be caught with a crankbait, but your chances of cranking up several bites are much better along the bank in 1- to 10- feet of water. So squarebills like the MONSTERBASS Hammerhead are great all the way down to a medium diving bait like a Viscous Fishing MC65 Series 4.
A SPRO Little John MD 50 is another good example of a medium diving crankbait that’s good for the fall. Basically, you’re looking for a bait with a good top to bottom flash that maxes out around 9- or 10- feet of water. Having two or three crankbaits on hand that will effectively fish different sections of this water column is a good idea in the fall as well.
Most crankbaits that fit into the appropriate depth range for fall fishing will also have an adequate profile to make them a good cranking candidate for this time of year. But just to be on the safe side, you want to make sure your bait isn’t really big. There are some oversized squarebills that are better suited for the spring, and then a few medium divers that are a little big bodied for the fall as well.
Focus on selecting a crankbait with a body length near or smaller than 2- and 1/2 inches. Baits around the top end of this spectrum work well, but don’t be afraid to venture below it too. Shad can be particularly small in the fall, so smaller squarebills and medium divers like the Nomad Atlas 55 and Little John Micro DD 45 can be great in the fall as well.
When selecting a crankbait this fall, focus on smaller baits that work well anywhere in the 1- to 10- foot range. Then select shad patterns based on the water clarity. And don’t forget chartreuse and black back is actually a shad pattern itself, meant for muddier water. Keeping these simple things in mind, you can quickly narrow down your search for the perfect crankbait this fall.