Fall fishing can be tough at times. There’s bait everywhere for many of us, or there will be soon. And this is one of those times when too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a good thing. As bait becomes more and more readily available, there’s at least one way you can make your lure selection a little more appealing to the bass than the other real offerings around them. But it takes thinking small.
Small lures get lots of bites in the fall. The shad are often smaller this time of the year, so part of it is matching the hatch. But even beyond that, a bass is all about an easy meal. And when there’s lots to choose from, fish will usually intentionally target the prey that is injured, weaker or smaller. So, using small lures that often mimic injured bait, is a great way to draw more strikes.
One of the best small baits to use in the fall is a Rooster Tail. The flash of the small spinning blade incorporated into the Rooster Tail makes this a great bait for mimicking small shad. And these lures are compact, but still heavy. So, they can be casted long distances like larger lures, but they have a finessier presence in the water.
Compact spinnerbaits in the 1/4-ounce range with small blades are another great bait to downsize to when there’s an overabundance of shad in the fall. The miniature blades paired with the skirted body or a spinnerbait create a nice little profile that shows up well in off-colored water, but still presents all this in an overall small package that’s appealing to a bass with lots to choose from.
1/4- ounce lipless crankbait
Choosing a 1/4- ounce lipless crankbait as opposed to a 1/2- ounce can make all the difference in the fall. These little lures can again be casted great distances for their size. And their rattle, flash and profile make them easy to find and nonthreatening to attack. These baits can also be fished a little shallower and a little slower than their 1/2- ounce counterparts, which can lead to more bites as bass push farther up onto flats.
Similar to several of these other baits, a small spoon has a lot of weight for its size, so it can be casted a long way while maintaining a small presence in the water. Compared to the other baits in this list though, the Hopkins Spoon (or a similar spoon) can be fished along the surface like a topwater, and perfectly imitates a small fleeing baitfish in doing this.
Small squarebills and shallow running crankbaits can also be very productive when targeting fish around wood, rock or other shallow cover in the fall. These baits are some of the best at triggering strikes from bass tucked in tight to cover since they’re fairly weedless despite their free swinging treble hooks. Typically available in a wide range of colors, these baits also offer an option for almost any water clarity you’ll come across in the fall.
Selecting smaller baits can really increase productivity in the fall. These baits typically resemble the size of the shad in the fall anyway, so they better appeal to a bass with lots of options than many larger baits do. Focusing on smaller lures that can still be casted long distances is key, as bass in the fall can be pretty spread out chasing little pods of baitfish around.
It’s good to have a couple options suitable for fishing around cover, like a compact spinnerbait and a miniature crankbait, while also having baits that work well in open water and on flats, like a 1/4- ounce lipless, Rooster Tail and spoon. Incorporate these five baits into your fishing this fall and you’re all but certain to see an increase in productivity.