Bass fishing in the fall seems tricky to many anglers—but that's only because they don't know what they're looking for.
Last Updated: April 24, 2021
By: Jon Stewart
As the weather changes and the fall season starts to roll in, many people think about putting their boats away.
But is that really the right move? 💡
The truth is, bass fishing in the fall can yield better results than any other season. That doesn’t mean it’s easier, though.
To be successful, you must prepare and learn the necessary tools and tricks to land your biggest catch of the year. You must be aware of the right climate, changes in water temperature, best places to fish for bass and much more. This guide aims to provide you with all that knowledge to level up your fall bass fishing skills.
Ready to catch your biggest haul of the year? Let’s set sail.
During summer when it’s hot, bass spend more time in deeper water to cool their body. We know that in the spring, bass go to shallow waters to lay their eggs. So prior to fall, bass fishing may not yield suitable results (not suitable for me, anyway 🏆).
In the fall season, water temperature goes down and oxygen levels in water increase. Due to this, shad and crawfish enter into a frenzy and often come up in shallow waters to live. They do this especially in creek arms to feed on plankton whose supply declines in deeper waters but stay in abundance in shallow waters.
So why does this food supply shift in the fall season? The answer is that during fall, the sunshine duration decreases which in turn reduces the rate of growth of plankton—upon which shad and crawfish depend because plankton is their food. Due to this, in the fall season, bass are known to move up to shallow, warmer waters where the last plankton blooms of the year can be found.
Bass, as predators who hunt the weak and fear the strong, move up in shallow waters more frequently during the fall to feed on shad and crawfish. So there you have it—not only are bass still active feeders in the fall season, but now you know what they feed on, and where they go to find it.
Just think of it like this: bass go where the food is. As the season—and therefore water temperature—changes, the location of food sources for bass will change. Bass will follow suit, because, simply put, they need to eat!
It must be kept in mind that schools of shad, sunfish, and crawfish (baitfish) are always on the move. This means you may find your next big catch in a certain cove one day, but on the next, it may be hard to find even a single catch.
That’s why you have to be quick on your feet and always keep moving around your target fishing location. In the end, finding baitfish is the key to finding bass during the fall.
For some anglers, fall bass fishing is fun and exciting. ✅
For others—including myself, too many times—it’s frustrating because bass fishing in the fall depends on a variety of factors. This includes how fast you fish, where you go, and which bait you use. It’s called bass fishing after all, not a bass giveaway.
That’s why you have to be quick on your toes and keep your trolling water moving or keeping walking on that bank.
To achieve your biggest catch, here are some tips for fishing for bass in the fall you can follow:
Have fast-moving baits prepared so that you can fish in different types of covers and structures.
Use lipless crankbaits as they can be ripped through grass easily. This makes them tremendous baits for coaxing those basses that are hunting for shad in the grass.
Use jerkbait. Many fisherman are known to have great luck with jerkbaits when the fall comes and water gets colder.
You can use a swimming bait that imitates a fleeing baitfish. When you put this bait in the school of shad, it significantly increases your odds at landing a monster.
Use Spinnerbaits as they are perfect when the bass migrate into shallow waters to search for their food in the fall.
Buzzfrogs are also another fall bass fishing material as with them you can fish faster.
Sometimes though, you need to slow down.
You just can’t go out and power fish every single day (as much as you’d like to 👀). The jig is amazing when you get into that circumstance.
So, you might be asking yourself—are jigs even a good way to catch bass? They seem kind of old-school, right? Wrong.
Hands down, jigs catch fish. And to make matters more interesting, they have a tendency to catch giant fish. 🎣
Let’s say you’re slow fishing and happen to come by a monster bass. The odds are so much higher for that bass to go after that jig than any other bait. That’s why it is a must-have in your arsenal.
When it comes to jigs in the fall, lighter hooks and a lighter line is the key to get consistent bites. Some anglers prefer football jigs this time of the year and focus on a few basic colors and styles.
Let’s start with where. This is very important if your local fishing spot has grass but starts to die in the fall.
If you’ve noticed this occurrence in the past, then you’re in luck—bass become very predictable in these circumstances.
During the fall, once water temperature drops and sunshine decreases the vegetation dies. For bass, this tends to pull them to a hard structure.
Hard structure means, if you had a giant grass bed and now it’s gone and there was a tree stump out there in the middle of it, then your bass are now on the tree stump. Literally hovering next to it, or not far at all from it. It also means if you look at your shoreline and there are laid down trees and nothing else, then that’s where your bass are.
The takeaway? If your lake is muddy and it’s got long tapering points, muddy points (steep walls doesn’t matter), and especially if some of those points are rockier, they feature deep water access. Again, this is a big sign as to where your bass are.
It is so easy to fish with the jig because you can slow down and fish slower with a jig and catch a giant bass for yourself. When you throw a jig in the water it poofs up and creates a large profile for the bass which looks similar to crawfish. This entices the bass to eat that jig up and get caught by the angler.
If that’s not enough of a reason to use a football jig, then I don’t know what is.
I have noticed that a lot of anglers follow the same old routine and have their own opinions regarding fishing for bass when the water cools down and winter is just around the corner.
Due to this, these anglers fail to catch an impressive haul of bass every fall. I am saying this because I used to be one of them!
But over the years, I’ve noticed 5 misconceptions of bass fishing during the fall, and I swear if I had known these before I would have saved a ton of time, headache, and empty fishing days.
Well, let’s discuss these misconceptions now, so buckle up and if possible, take some notes:
When it comes to lures most people think about lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and walking top waters as they are in top demand this time of the year.
Well, I am not against using them as these baits can surely bring success. But there are plenty of alternatives other than hooked lures out there and if in case you are not seeing results in the fall, then you can opt for these alternatives.
My go-to alternative is a topwater frog, it is a great bait to catch bass in the fall and it is well known in the popular grass lakes.
Most anglers don’t use soft plastics during the fall. We see them in use during spring and summer season, where they mimic the local feeding sources. While soft plastics won’t excite bass the way they do in other seasons, they can still bring success in the fall.
This really all comes down to the local feeding sources for the bass. If using soft plastics mimics that, then you’ll have success all year round.
I know the back of the creeks is the go-to place for anglers to fish for bass on a warm summer day. But this can yield major results in other seasons, too.
I had a buddy once who caught a largemouth weighing over 13 pounds on a piece of shallow cover that was adjacent to deep waters. This wasn’t anywhere near the back of the creek. Which season was this? You guessed it, the fall.
As anglers, we are accustomed to checking daytime high temperatures. When they start to drop into the 70s and low 80s, we all get excited.
But over the years, I’ve learned that overnight lows are much more important than daytime highs during the fall.
My tip here is, depending on your location, check if your overnight temperatures dip down into the 50s for several hours at a time or not. If yes, then the following day is when bass will be more active—in terms of both movement and feeding.
Most anglers hate cold-fronts. Who likes to freeze their butt off while fishing? Not me. But, I do love to catch monster largemouth bass, at whatever cost necessary.
My friends and I actually circle these days on our calendar because over the years we have caught great numbers of bass on these days only. Strong changes in temperature disrupt the rhythm of bass—both largemouth and smallmouth. Understanding how all of this works is key to catching bass.
So there we have it! I have mentioned all 5 misconceptions of anglers to the best of my ability, make sure to use them and do tell me if they worked out for you.
As far as top lures to use for bass in the fall is concerned, I will say use all of them. When it comes to bass, you never want to limit yourself to 2-3 options but rather, be versatile! Use baits such as lipless crankbaits, square bills , jerk baits, spinnerbaits, topwater walking baits, buzzbaits and swimbaits to the best of their abilities.
My tip is to try switching them up according to the situation—the weather, local food sources, recent temperature changes, etc. Also, it’s always a good idea to have a couple of soft plastics with you. If you’re around weeded edges, toss a soft plastic in there and see what happens. Be ready for a bite!
And there you have it, if you made it this far then you have all the tools at your disposal to get out there and catch bass this fall season. There’s a lot you need to know, and a lot you need to stay away from.
The main takeaway should be this: successful bass fishing requires serious research. You need to understand the local environment, the local bass population, and how they live, and what they eat. Understanding how they do this in other seasons, such as the spring and summer, will significantly help in understanding what they’ll do in the fall.
🐟 What is the best bait for bass in the fall?
As I mentioned before almost all baits are necessary but according to most anglers, crankbaits are the best bait in the fall.
🐟 Is bass fishing good in the fall?
Yes, bass fishing is good in fall because catch in fall is equivalent to the catch of the whole year.
🐟 Where can I catch bass in the fall?
Bass hang around drops and ledges of creeks and rivers. These are the places where rivers meet ponds and lakes. It’s here where bass will go to in the fall, since their food sources migrate there as water temperatures start to cool down.
🐟 What colors do bass like in the fall?
The rule of thumb is to use brightly colored lures in dingy or muddy water and light or subtle colored lures in clear-water. This generally applies to all seasons—fall included.
🐟 Are Bass shallow or deep in fall?
In the fall, bass migrate to shallow waters of rivers, lakes, and ponds to hunt for shad and crawfishes. Always remember, bass follow their food. Since their food sources enter shallow water, bass do too.
🐟 What do largemouth bass eat in the fall?
Largemouth bass feed on fall shad and crawfish or anything that resembles as shad. They can also feed on Sunfish in the fall.
🐟 Where do largemouth bass go in the fall?
In fall, largemouth bass go to shallow water and hang around drops and ledges of creeks and rivers.
🐟 What lures to use for bass in November?
You can use lipless crankbaits, square bills, jerk baits, spinnerbaits, topwater walking baits, buzzbaits and swimbaits to lure bass in November.