Are you fishing fall correctly?

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Are you fishing fall correctly?

By Small Craft Fisherman

Well guys it’s happened…probably THE WORST time of the year! I had to break out the pants for fishing this past week.  After flirting with some questionable weather with shorts and rain pants, I finally had to bite the bullet and I’m not happy about it…on another brighter note FALL FISHING IS HERE or has been here depending on your latitude.  Now I know that everyone has their personal preferences on what they have confidence in throwing during all seasons of the year, this is especially true during the fall.  Hopefully my yakbackwards way of thinking can help you try something that maybe you aren’t so keen on throwing in an attempt to put more fish into your small craft!

Now one thing I really dislike in articles is vague descriptions of many critical aspects such as what to look for in a spot, water temp, and other critical details.  So I will do my best to include all of these, but if you have more questions feel free to comment below! Now onto the fun stuff!

So fall fishing for me begins when the water cools to around 75 degrees and continues until the mid to low 60’s before I begin to change up tactics again.  When approaching a lake with these water temperatures, a good place to start is the highways to and from the shallow spawning grounds.  These fish will follow these highways in the reverse pattern from post spawn, meaning they will move from these summer deep water havens to the shallow flats both on the main lake and creek coves.  Now let me say that some fish can still be found out deep in many of the same deep water cranking spots you fished all summer, but being more of a shallow water fan I follow the migration shallow.  Now a lot of people will flood back to these creeks, but one of my favorite spots to catch large numbers of bigger fish is on shallow flats that extend off primary points.  These spots are less of a migratory commitment and require less energy. Also it can hold large populations of bigger bait fish often creating a hotbed of activity for the more mature fish.  The main forage of this time will be baitfish/shad.  Many times you will see large blow ups from these bait balls being attacked by bass.  Also I have found that smaller bait balls seem to be more productive.  I believe this is largely due to bass having their pick in large bait balls and simply not wanting your bait. Also don’t forget that many lakes are now being drawn down for the winter. Those spots that use to be 5 foot during the spring and summer could now be 2-3 foot, so make sure you check the water pool level. It might end up saving you a long paddle! Now on what baits to throw!
Are you Fishing Fall Correctly?

Now in a kayak a lot of us don’t have room for 15 rods all rigged with different baits like a bass boat would…if you can have 15 rods on a kayak then I am seriously impressed! So I have narrowed down my top 3 fall baits for you!  The first and my personal favorite is the squarebill.  I love these things! They deflect of just about anything, can be fished over/ripped through grass, and have an awesome hookup ratio.  I prefer these to spinnerbaits because I personally think they look more natural in the water and you can get some aggressive strikes on the pause when it floats back towards the surface.  My go to squarebill is the Berkley Pitbull 5.5. The second favorite fall bait is the Zoom Fluke, which is great for cold fronts when the fish are eating shad but won’t touch the quick reaction baits. You can also add a nail weight for those extra windy days. These things have an awesome action that closely mimics a dying shad. At times allnyiu have to do is cast it into a school and let it sink. My last absolute go to is a shaky head paired with a Missile Baits Fuse 4.4 craw.  This thing gives fish a different look than the 50 shades of shad (did ya get it? Lol) crankbait they will see this fall.  It also allows you to work the bottom and middle of the water column as you can shake it on the bottom or even retrieve it with a swimming motion.

Now for the backup baits.  These are the baits that if I have the spare rods on board I will keep tied on during the fall. The Zara Spook is awesome for the when bass are visible blowing up on schools of baitfish. My favorite color is either chrome or bone white. I prefer either a spook or popper instead of a buzzbait as the treble hooks give me better hookups, also include the whopper plopper even though I can’t catch a dang fish on it.  Next up is the jig, usually black n blue this time of year, this works great for when the shad bite slows down and fish get lethargic.  Probably one of my favorite baits, the wacky rig can be fished in/near any cover and is awesome to skip under docks into the lairs of bass ready to ambush. This is a great bait on those days when you can’t buy a bite! A lot of times this will even be a goto on new bodies of water…but that’s an article for next week! Lastly, the lipless crankbait is an awesome tool. It can be burned through the water column, yo-yo’ed in deeped water, and ripped through grass.  It can produce some vicious reaction strikes and catch some fall weather toads. The tight shimmy is what makes this lure amazing. That tight shimmy is better for colder water bass. My favorite colors include any shad pattern, gold/brown bluegill pattern, and red/brown crawfish colors. All of these can be heavy producers in the fall. Also don’t be afraid to throw these things into some thick cover! They are the ATV of crankbaits and come through anything!

These are some of my favorite techniques to use this time of the year.  Fall fishing is great, but don’t be afraid to pull out some of the lures that worked all summer long.  This time of year a lot of people retie with nothing but shad imitation baits, but go out on a limb and give them a look they haven’t seen in a few weeks.  It can help put more and better fish into your boat!


If you want to see my latest fall bass excursion you can check it out here



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