I love fall fishing! After a long summer the lake finally feels alive again. The baitfish are schooling, the bass are feeding, and the fishermen are wrapping up their tournament seasons. Whether you want to catch more bass, win the AOY race, or win a new boat, these 5 baits will get you headed in the right direction.
Its never easy to limit yourself to just 5 baits but if I had to choose one season to do it, it would be the fall. As the bass group up and feed they become much simpler to target than they were throughout the summer. In no particular order, my top 5 baits are as follows:
1) The jig: The bass are gorging before winter and one of their favorite meals is a crawdad. Stick to a simple craw profile and you'll succeed. There are a lot of great jigs out there including a plethora of colors, head designs, and colors but if I could only choose one it would be the Dirty Jigs 3/4 oz Pitchin' Jig in "Molting Craw". That color, coupled with either a Sweet Beaver-style trailer or a Twin Tail Grub-style trailer creates a phenomenal crawdad imitation.
2) The Spook: Walking-style topwater baits work great through all the summer months but their effectiveness peaks during the early fall. Bass are gorging on baitfish and baits like the super spook (see our video on the top 5 walking baits for ideas) are a perfect imitation. Choose a color you have confidence in but you can never go wrong with whites, silvers, or even a little chartreuse to draw the bass away from the 1000's of other easy meals swimming around. Try The Super Spook in "Okie Shad" or the Rover in "sooner" if you need a place to start.
3) The Glide Bait: Glide baits have taken the industry by storm the last couple years. If you aren't throwing one this fall, you're missing opportunities for great fishing! I'm particularly partial to the S-waver in the 168 and 200 sizes in "Warden" or "Light Trout" (See our S-Waver Video and S-Waver 200 Video to see why) The S-waver is easy to use and won't break the bank but is by no means your only option. Check out the Gan Craft Jointed Claw, The Slide Swimmer, or if you're in to the custom baits, the Hinkle Shad is hard to pass up. These are all baits that we've seen success with over and over again. They're big, but they get bit and fall is a great time to build your confidence!
4) The Deep Crank: Whether you're throwing a big 10XD, a Rapala DT-Series (because Ike says so), a slim profile like the Deep Six, or my old standby DD-22 you can't go wrong with a deep crank. We throw a lot of the shad patterns including those with lavender, chartreuse, or brown backs. We even branch in to the craws a bit. Whatever it is you choose, the deep crank will let you cast farther and reach deeper to catch those fish other anglers are overlooking.
5) The Lipless Crank: Who could possibly overlook this crank? Whether you're burning through the fading grass, fanning flats, or ripping off the bottom around docks and cover, the lipless is probably the most versatile bait during the fall. Again, stick to the shad patterns. If I could only choose one lipless it would be the Lucky Craft LV-500. Like many Western anglers I've discovered the benefits of the fast sinking, loud rattling bait. Try Chartreuse Shad, Ghost Minnow, Wakin if the fish are really active, or even Crack if the water has some stain to it.
What "Top 5" list would be complete without fudging and including some extras? Because 5 baits really is tough to do, the rest of the baits that really should have made the cut are the Swim Jig (California Swim Jig to be exact), the spoon (both Jigging Spoon and Flutter Spoon, The Jerkbait (ripbait if you live on the west coast), and the paddle tail swimbait (I'd go with the 6" basstrix or 4.8 Keitech on a Dirty Jigs Swimbait head).
Put these baits to work for you and have a great fall. Good luck out there!
Is your favorite bait on the list? Did I miss something? Let's hear what's on your top 5 list.