These go-to lures are fish catching machines in autumn!
When summer comes to an end, the best fishing of the year for bass anglers is just beginning as cooler temps heat up the action on the water. Bass begin their heaviest feeding of the year in preparation for winter. So if you can avoid running up a tree in search of a whitetail or two and know what to throw, you can find yourself with some of the most productive outings of the season!
1. Umbrella Rigs
Unethical or the biggest innovation to change the game in decades? Regardless of your moral position on this lure, it’s hard to debate how effective it can be in October. Bass are gorging themselves on shad, and what better way to catch them while their doing that than by imitating an entire school? There are virtually hundreds of choices from countless manufacturers that offer a wide array of colors, sizes, and blades to choose from. The Yellow Hammer Rig (YHR) offers the highest quality of them all. Hand made in the USA with the most durable materials to withstand the beating that catching multiple fish on one cast can deliver and the first umbrella rig I ever threw. My favorite is the Hammer Time Shad, bladed. It’s a heavy bait to throw when I have 5 five inch swimbaits on it, but my Dobyns Champion 795SBMT really takes away a lot of the work and makes it a lot more manageable to throw. The wires on the YHR are 100lb leaders that are used to hang tough against huge smallmouth or spotted bass. They’re also designed by an elite group of anglers, Kyle Mabrey included, so you get that whole “by anglers for anglers” added bonus. I finish mine off with 1/2 ounce jig heads with exposed hooks through the top of the baits, and 25lb Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon line with a low speed reel. It’s really quite deadly on cloudy/windy days.
Stickbaits, jerkbaits, whatever you want to call them, they’re hard to beat when the water temps are in the 50s. They’re versatility is so incredible that they really allow you to present them in a variety of ways to help make sure that the fish get it how they want it. Burn them to the boat like they’re running for their lives, slow-roll them across points, or jerk them like they’re injured. These are just a few of the many different presentations available to you when you throw one of these baits. While staying with the classic colors of shad, black and white, and gold are always producers, this is the time of year to branch out and explore others as well. Pink, fire tiger, and bright orange are really great fall colors for that reaction bite! My personal favorites are the new XRM jerkbait and the Lucky Craft Bevy Shad. While the Bevy might not be what many consider to be a traditional jerkbait, it is deadly on fall bass when imitating dying fish. Plus it’s a favorite of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. The Dobyns Champion 705CBGLASS is perfect for this application.
3. Lipless Cranks
There’s no better time to throw your Rat-L-Trap than right now. Rip it through the grass, burn it across the top, launch it into those busting schools of huge smallmouth gorging on shad. This bait is good all year, but it’s off the chain right now. With a whole bunch of new colors in the naturals series to choose from you can find the reds, oranges, and bright colors that are great in stained water, but don’t forget the original trap on windy days. The light reflection from that bait is really hard to beat, and it can be down right devastating on fish. Not to mention it’s really hard to beat the trap bite. The fish absolutely destroy it. I throw it on a Dobyns Champion 765CBGLASS with 10lb Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line, with a 6:6:1 or 6:3:1 reel.
4. Get Jiggy With It
You can’t force the jig bite. It’s either there, or it isn’t. And this time of year, it’s there. Big time. I’m not talking about the 1/4 ounce swim jig bite. I’m talking 1 oz. football head, four inch trailer, heavy duty big game jigs. Big fish want one meal a day this time of year, and seeing that big hunk of burnin’ love dragging across a rocky point is irresistible. Black and blue is probably the most common, but green and blue can be even more deadly when paired with a big craw trailer in Okeechobee Craw color. Work them slow around any structure you can find and don’t be worried about missing subtle bites. There’s no denying a bite on a jig, and you can take out all that summer frustration and cross their eyes with your hooksets now. Dobyns Champion 766flip with 60 pound braid, no leader. Big game hunting.
5. Rise To The Top
This is the best time of year for top water. I like the Lucky Craft Sammy. It’s not just loud, it sounds great and it just outcatches any other plug I’ve ever thrown. “Walk the dog” or just slowly pop it back and forth, but be ready for the explosion. Topwater fishing is so great because it’s there to see, and witnessing that bite will get anyone’s heart racing for sure! Depending on the water I’m in I’ll be looking for laydowns, creek mouths, rocky points, or lilypads, and if the water is really stained I’ll run straight braid on a heavy action spinning rod. I really prefer the action that I’m able to deliver in that application, and I can be sure not to lose any fish by not having to use monofilament.
One thing is for sure, you really wanna work fast. Fish are so active this time of year that you don’t need to sit and hit every angle of a dock to get them to bite. Put the trolling motor up on high and cover as much water as you can. You’ll find them and they’ll be sure not to disappoint when you do!