Fishing Tips

3 Baits to Milk Bass Schools | Summer to Fall Transition

Wired2fish contributor Dan Quinn takes the bass bite offshore during the late summer to fall transition period in this action-packed video. New to this lake, Quinn starts the outing by graphing around with side-imaging to determine available structure and cover. After discovering an abundance of hard bottom adjacent to the deep grass, he commits to a proven 3-bait strategy consisting of a crankbait, swimbait, and Neko-rigged worm.

Here is Quinn’s top late summer to fall baits (descending order of most aggressive to finesse).

1. Crankbait. It’s common for bluegills and bass to head offshore after the bluegill spawn ends. A crankbait is Quinn’s first choice when searching productive offshore structures for active bass. Deep-diving varieties get to the bottom quickly and allow you to comb expanses of water. At the same time, their aggressive nature (flash and vibration) tends to trigger vicious reaction strikes from the biggest and most aggressive fish. In addition, crankbaits telegraph nuance about the bottom to your hands, helping you piece the puzzle together. Quinn explains how he maps out productive crankin’ areas using side imaging and waypoints at the console and live imaging and 360 sonar at the bow. Regardless of electronics, the key takeaway is making the same cast quickly, accurately, and repeatedly after getting a bit. When the bass school fires (starts feeding), you need to capitalize!

CRANKBAIT SETUP

2. Swimbaits. A swimbait is a natural succession bait to cranking. More subtle and quiet on the retrieve, a quality mid-sized swimbait triggers additional fish made wary by previous fish catches or just not willing to eat a hyper-active crankbait. Swimbaits also have a proven track record of catching some of the biggest bass in the school, so it’s always on Quinn’s deck, especially on bluegill and shad fisheries.

SWIMBAIT SETUP

3. Neko rig. The two previous baits are excellent fish locators. Still, when the bite fizzes, it’s tough to beat the effectiveness of Neko-rigging a worm. Quinn never leaves “known schools” of bass without casting back with a Neko rig. While crawfish imitating baits work excellently, a quality finesse worm quickly sinks to the bottom while delivering an irresistible tail action that the bass can’t resist.

NEKO RIG SETUP

BOAT & ELECTRONICS

OTHER GEAR