I’ve never liked a dang cat. I always thought I was a dog person but sure enough, when my wife and I bought our house and property, this cute little brown cat kept coming out of the woods and watching us as we renovated the house. I was the tough guy at first and told my wife there was no way in heck we were going to let this cat hang around.
Fast-forward a few weeks and Mr. Tough Stuff is laying on the back porch at 10 p.m. feeding it Goldfish crackers and talking to it like a baby. So we have a cat now.
I tell you that story for a reason, however. I love this silly cat and I shine a little laser pointer at her all the time; she’ll chase that thing like a maniac and never stop. Watching her chase that laser has taught me a lot about predatory behavior. When you get around schooling bass and baitfish in the fall, I believe you have to give them some sort of proverbial laser pointer to chase.
Think about it: If you have 100 cheeseburgers in front of you, are you going to try and eat a fake one? I highly doubt it.
I think fall bass are the same way. They’re surrounded by hundreds of thousands of real baitfish and they know your lure isn’t real. They have small brains but they ain’t that stupid. The mistake I made back in college is that I was trying to mimic the baitfish a little too closely. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve learned since then that it’s important to make your lure stand out just enough from the real baitfish to garner some additional attention.
I’ve started focusing a lot on baits with larger-than-average eyes in the fall and the results have been fantastic. Even when I’m fishing on the back deck of a buddy’s boat, I seem to be out-catching them when I’m using a bait with larger eyes this time of year.
The bass will hone-in on these big eyeballs just like my cat chases that laser pointer on our hardwood floors. The oversized eyes make the lure stand out just a little bit more than the rest of the baitfish in the area and give the bass something to focus on and easily chase down.
Lure suggestions: The first big-eyed baits that come to my mind are the Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Pencil 125 (pictured) and the Strike King Red Eye Shad. Both have turned into fall-time staples for me and they both come with really stout components, so you can easily fish ’em straight out of the package. No matter what you choose this time of year, just look at the eyeballs and watch what happens!