With autumn approaching, it is a good time to prepare for subsequent bass migrations. Cooling water temperatures tell the bass it is time to feed before winter. The key to fall migration is baitfish. If you are around baitfish in the fall, you are also around the bass. Bass will also be scattered out during the fall, some may remain deep while others can be super shallow. It is a key time for anglers who are versatile.
It only makes sense that if the primary forage of the bass is baitfish, a fisherman should concentrate on imitating baitfish with his lure choices. To many people, this means spinnerbaits and crankbaits, but be careful not to limit yourself. Jigs, tubes, topwaters and plastic worms can all be used to imitate baitfish. Sometimes you must alter the traditional retrieve with these baits to make them appear to be baitfish.
For the most part, quicker retrieves trigger more strikes, but there are times and places for a slower than normal retrieve. This is especially true for topwaters. Fall is probably the best time of the year for fishing buzzbaits, a Strike King Tour Grade is my favorite – either in white or black depending on the water clarity and sky conditions. Go with the black under darker skies and the white in clearer water and brighter skies.
During this time, bass generally move from the deeper water holes they frequent through the summer to shallows where the baitfish are. Flats and the backs of creeks or coves are obvious places to look for autumn bass, but not all lakes offer such cover. Bass have been known to simply move shallower in the water column rather than closer to the shore.
Some good examples of this are standing timber and bluffs. Rather then migrate to a different area, the bass may simply move from being 15 to 20 feet deep in a tree to being 5 foot deep in that tree. The same goes for fish along a bluff. Perhaps my favorite technique for catching such bass is burning a spinnerbait either through the timber or parallel to the bluffs. These bass are feeding on baitfish, and the quick presentation draws a reaction strike. This same technique works well on smallmouth bass around grass flats and boulders.
Fall is the second period of transition for bass during the year. The first is spring. Keep your focus on why and where the bass are going, and you should have success catching bass. If you are having trouble during this season try this final suggestion – pick a summertime spot, and study a map to guess where the bass would move for their fall feed. Then fish your way from the summer hole to the fall destination with your favorite bait. Somewhere along that path you will find some bass.