Key baits to try

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brandon lester holding several bass fishing lures he uses during the fall

When it comes to bait selection, Lester keeps his arsenal as simple as possible. He leans on offshore staples like a Strike King 5XD (silent) and a Mustad Grip-Pin Ned Jig Head as well as keeping a big topwater like an Evergreen Shower Blows on his deck just in case he sees fish feeding on the surface.

“The first thing I’ll show offshore fish this time of year is usually a mid-depth crankbait like a Strike King 5XD or a Rapala DT-14,” Lester said. “And I do think silent plugs outperform aggressive, rattling crankbaits in this application. In contrast, I think its super important to have a big, loud topwater handy that you can throw a long way in case you see bass come up schooling.

“The noisier the better, something to get their attention in a little bit deeper water. My third choice is a ned rig with a little bit meatier soft plastic on it than usual, like a Z-Man Big TRD. If the fish get finicky you can usually mop up an area and get a few more bites with something more finesse.”

By avoiding the pull to go shallow and targeting fish many anglers are overlooking, Lester has enjoyed some incredible days of fall fishing way off the bank. These schools of bass are often unpressured and once you find them you can have them to yourself for days or even weeks.

Consider Lester’s formula for finding and catching offshore bass this time of year, and never be afraid to think outside the box the next time you drop your boat into the water.