It’s cooling down, which is welcomed down here in Texas. But that also means something different to all anglers. Fall is a great time to go fishing, especially for bass. As the water temperatures drop and the days get shorter, bass tend to feed more to store energy for the winter months. However, fall bass fishing can also be challenging due to the constantly changing weather and water conditions.
We’ve got something for exactly that.
That’s why we’ve put together these seven actionable tips to help both casual and pro anglers improve their catch rate during this season.
Go deep or go home.
To catch bass in the colder months, especially when the lake is covered in ice, you need to go deep or go home. These fish retreat to deeper waters as the temperatures drop, making it crucial to have lures that can reach the bottom.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your topwaters handy, but you might have better luck well below the surface. Jigs and Carolina rigs are great options for getting your bait down where the fish are.
Finding the right location is also key – look for drop-offs, points, or ledges where bass can hide and ambush their prey. So don’t be afraid to venture out to deeper waters because, as they say, you’ve got to go deep to reel ’em in.
Focus on structure.
Besides deep waters, bass also hang around structures such as logs, rocks, or weed beds.
If you know the lake well enough, you might even be privy to some artificial reefs emplaced by the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. These structures attract bait fish, which in turn attracts bass looking for an easy meal.
These structures provide cover and shade, making it easier for bass to hunt their prey and stay hidden from predators. Cast your lure around these structures, and be patient.
Match the hatch.
Every lake and body of water is different — Pay attention to what the bass are feeding on.
They tend to eat more crawfish, shad, and bluegill during fall. Choose lures that mimic these prey, such as crankbaits or swimbaits. Use natural colors like brown, green, or blue.
Of course, you might have to switch things up a bit depending on the weather and water conditions. If the water is murky, go for brighter colors; if it’s clear, use more natural hues.
Slow down your retrieve, and give the bass a chance.
As the water gets colder, bass become less active and lethargic. This is because their metabolism slows down, making them less likely to chase after fast-moving bait.
To give the bass a chance at your lure, slow down your retrieve and let your bait linger a bit longer. This will entice even the most sluggish bass into biting.
These are three types of retrievals that we like to use as the water cools down and the bass start to hunker down—
- Dead sticking. This technique involves letting your lure sit completely still in the water for extended periods. It can be particularly effective when fish are lethargic due to cold water temperatures.
- Slow rolling. This is a technique often used with spinnerbaits or soft plastic baits. You cast out and retrieve the lure at a very slow speed, keeping it just above the bottom.
- Twitch and pause. This retrieval method involves twitching the rod tip to give the lure a jerking motion, then allowing it to pause and float or sink slowly. This mimics the movement of injured prey, which can entice a strike from predatory fish.
While these retrievals might have different names or terms in different regions, you get the idea.
Time your fishing.
Fall weather can be unpredictable, and it’s important to fish during the right time of the day. As the water starts to cool, bass tend to feed more during midday when the sun is at its highest. Early mornings and evenings can be productive as well.
This is because the bass’s metabolism slows down in colder water, and they need to warm up before actively feeding.
Use scented lures.
Bass have a keen sense of smell, and using scent can make your lure more attractive to them.
Try adding some scent to your bait, either by dips, sprays, or scented soft plastics. This can also mask any unnatural odors from your hands or equipment.
Remember when we mentioned swimbaits? This is a killer combination when you’re trying for bass. We like to use Pro-Cure scent, but just about any scent is better than no scent. Spray some on every few reels and start catching more fish.
Experiment with different lures.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Fall bass fishing can be a great opportunity to try out some new lures or techniques, such as topwater lures after a fall rain or a deep diving crankbait to get your lure into the deep areas near structures.
Start casting and start catching.
With these seven actionable tips, you’re sure to improve your fall bass fishing game.
Of course, there’s no surefire way to guarantee a catch, but by following these tips and being persistent, you’ll have a better chance of reeling in that trophy bass.
Take note of the changing temperatures, barometric pressures, and what other anglers are doing on water bodies around you. As you gain more experience, you’ll get a better feel for fall fishing and what works best for you.