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Fall fishing refresher course


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I might be jumping the gun a bit here but this cool weather has gotten me thinking. What are your guys favorite ways to target bass in the fall, and what water temps do you feel the fall patterns start gaining steam?

I've never done great in the fall, usually pick up a fish here and there but I know that some real pigs can be had

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I throw a lot of spinnerbaits, swimjigs, shallow cranks, and lipless cranks. A smaller jig and plastic can be great too. I love fishing once the water gets into the 50's. I try to locate the greenest weeds I can find and burn a lure over the top or through them. The past 3 years my biggest fish of the season has come in october. I had a 2 day stretch last year Nov. 1-2 that I caught two fish over 5 and three over 4 on a small metro lake. I've been deep water fishing all summer long and I am definitely ready to hit some shallow stuff.

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Hiya -

I'll take September and October over June and July any day...

I think in some ways it's already started. I fished up north last weekend, and with the cool down, the fish were really really bunched up on the deep weed edge. You'd catch one, toss back to the same spot, and catch another. I had 3 or 4 times during the day where you'd get 4 or 5 on consecutive casts, or 4 in 6 casts - that kind of thing. Fish would hit on the drop, or hit and start running. Pretty entertaining. smile

I think this will be an interesting fall because of the weedgrowth. On some of the lakes I fish it's really thick. When the junk weeds start to die off you get fish concentrating in the remaining green weeds - cabbage and coontail hang in there pretty well, coontail especially. Fish move up onto the mid-depth flats pre-turnover, and it can be a great time. Hard cover like wood or docks can also be exceptional - it's the one time of year I make it a point to fish docks. Most of the rest of the season I can't stand fishing them. Rushes can be great too. Seems like there's a bumper crop of frogs this year, at least up by my cabin (they were hopping all over the last couple weeks), so that may mean a good shallow bite when the frog migration turns on. Wayne Ek once made offhand mention of dragging a green pumpkin tube up shallow when the frogs are migrating...man is he ever right about that.

Pre-turnover, when the water drops through the 60s and into the mid to low 50s, I like to slow roll big single spin willowleaf spinnerbaits over those flats (twin spins like the Gopher hinged twin spin can be unreal for some reason), use swim jigs, crankbaits at times...something you can cast a long ways with and cover water with that can fish through weeds fairly well. When the water gets into the 50s, it's my absolute A #1 favorite time of the year for buzzbaits. They're just big fish magnets when the water's in the mid-50s. When the water clears up, they'll come up a LONG ways to eat one.

I don't totally abandon deep water though. Inside turns with green weeds can be killer with a jig or crankbait, especially if the weather chases fish off the flats a little.

Just some ideas... Main thing for me though is find the biggest flats/food shelves and go from there.


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Thanks for the tips RK. I have noticed I can catch more fish on shallow cranks in the fall which is fun. I was pulling a fire tiger colored Storm Subwart last weekend and these 14-15" bass were hitting it so hard they almost pulled the rod out of my hands. Fish were coming in with the bait completely in their mouth, double hooked.

I know it's not the "fall bite" yet, but the cooler water temps are maybe turning on the shallow bite on a bit early this year.

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Oddly enough, the drop shot rig on the weedline has yielded some nice ones. Every fall I wonder why I don't use it all year 'round. Rat-L-trap is tough to beat, too. Nice to be the only one on the lake and the bite is on. A couple years ago I was backing the boat in and hit something hard. Realized it was ice. Fish unitl the end-- it's fun.

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Fall is my favorite time. Less people on the water fishing and pleasure boating. I love the big shallowish flats with clumps of green weeds. Theres a lake I fish every fall that has a big sand flat in about 3 feet of water that will have laundry basket size clumps of green weeds. a spinnerbait rolled over them very slowly produces some monster strikes. I generally fish bigger lures and slow down especially when the water is really cooled down in the low 50's high 40's Never forget the jig either.

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I to prefer fall fishing over summer. I was out last night on a weed choke little lake that you could not get closer then a hundred yards from shore because it was so thick. It did not matter as my partner was tossing a weed walker in the mess and getting big hits but not many hookups. I was tossing a big white spinner bait with a chartreuse grub right next to the edge of the mat of weeds and letting it fall. I caught 24 bass all over 14 inches with the biggest going 18.75 in just under four hours. Great feeling having that roughed up thumb from lipping fish, bring on the cool of fall.

Come fall I throw a lot of bulked up spinner baits, doubling up skirts and will go as big as 5 inch tails on them. I don't pass on docks and as they get pulled up from the water I really work the ones left in. Buzz bait fishing is good this time of year and I keep an eye on the water temp and look for green cover. As weeds die down I go back into the shallows and slow roll spinner baits across the dying cover. I take time every time I go out checking out the flats looking for sunning northerns and my biggest fish seem to come in late Sept. early October up here. There is also a good frog bite in the fall and since I have a source for live frogs this always makes for a fun trip on the water.

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Back to the top.

I fished a small dirty water lake on Sunday.

Same Lake that Juan Grande and I have been abusing the fish on all summer.

Hit the rock pile spot with a 3/4oz Title Shot jig and Ugly Otter that has been my go to bait for this spot. Caught a few smaller 13 to 15" fish which is unusual for this spot, this is a big fish spot, caught lots of 18 to 21" fish off of it.

So I changed to a 3/4oz blk/blue football jig with a Sweet Beaver. Caught a few more fish, nothing over 16".

So I decided to fish a crank. Tied on a bluegill DT14 to cover the spot and the associated weedline and break into deeper water. First cast puts a 17" in the boat, next cast puts a 17 and change and in the boat, made 5 more casts that resulted in 3 more fish between 15 and 18".

About this time I notice bluegills breaking the surface up shallow in a coontail mat, they were jumping completely out of the water, followed by massive boils and splashes of what I assumed were bass.

I pick up a rod will a buzzbait on it and move towards the mat, make a long cast and start cranking, boom the mat explodes and my line tightens, I set the hook and drag a 19" out of the mat. I move in a little closer so I can cover the entire width of the mat with each cast. I put 8 more in the boat over the next hour fishing an area about 40 yards long with the buzzbait.

I also used a chatterbait with a 4inch Big Bite Baits shad, a big single willow spinnerbait with the same 4inch shad as a trailer.

I though I would get a few with a bigger profile bait, no such luck.

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So not to be deterred by this past weekends strike out on Fall bass, I was able to get out yesterday evening for a bit. Using some of the advice from the last Secret Word thread and this one, I concentrated on weeds once again and still a fast presentation.

Went to the lake where I did get the one bass Friday and picked up one bass in that spot again. Water was up to 50 degrees now, so I was a little more optimistic this time. Then I headed over to a spot in 6-8ft of water with clumps of weeds half way up(normally in summer this spot has weeds to the top and you mostly can only fish it with a frog or something weedless). I think it was the first or second cast and I had a fish on! Using a lipless crank I was able to pull 9 bass or so out of there. They were nothing huge, but all within 14-18 inches. All were caught around the weeds, if I got away from them, then it went dead. Finally the spot quieted down and I moved to another area with clumps of weeds and picked up a pair there. Most bass were hitting the bait pretty aggressively.

I was glad I went out last night and I learned a little more about fall bassing yesterday. Thanks for the tips guys. I am sure I will be blanked again, but it was sure fun pulling in a few bass this time.



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I love fall bass fishing. I stopped fishing for health reasons since mid july. On October 19th my friend and I didnt have work due to the Education fair so we decided to hit a small TC lake from 12pm-7pm. Luckily, we were the only ones on the lake that entire time. We fished the 8-9ft areas by casting cranks and they were hitting them with almost every cast. This was in open water with very little vegetation under. We used red/orange cranks that dove anywhere between 6-8ft. We also used lipless cranks and they worked really well. Biggest we caught in order: 5.2, 5.0, 4.14, 4.12, and 4.10 along with a bunch of 2-3lbers. We must have caught over 30 fish. It was quite fun.

We also hit areas with green vegetation either floating or rooted and pulled out a few as well using black and blue jigs.

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