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Fall is a time of constant change; schools begin their new terms, big box stores are already gearing up for Christmas, and in much of the Northern US the weather starts to change noticeably.
If you live in one of the regions that sees red and orange leaves during the fall, you may also be familiar with another change; the fish, specifically the bass, are starting to bite less and less!
But fear not, because the big bass slump of winter hasn’t come quite yet. With the right techniques, you can still land a big one while the leaves are still on the trees.
Let’s examine seven of the best bass lures currently available on the market for autumn anglers so that we can stay hooked up as late into the year as possible.
Table of Contents
Fall Bassing Technique 101
Fish are cold blooded, which means that they cannot regulate their body temperature. In other words, they are whatever temperature their environment is. This fact is incredibly important for explaining what’s going on with largies during the colder half of the year!
When bass get colder, their metabolism slows down. They won’t be as fast and they’ll be a lot less eager to chase down larger and more aggressive baits.
This is where small baits and finesse tactics become key! Slow-moving baits give the bass the sense that they’re in for an easy meal, and smaller baits let them know that they won’t have to fight to swallow whatever they’re eating.
For both of these cases, line visibility becomes more of a concern. While mono is still usable, a low-vis fluorocarbon leader may help when the bite is hardest to find. Check out our article on the best fishing line to use for spinning-reel bass fishing to get a sense of why this is!
But what to tie on to the end of that leader? Here are some options that have the potential to seriously up your fall fishing game.
One fun part of fall fishing is that a lot of the plant mass that clogs up waterways begins to die back. During the summer, I generally avoid all the gunk with a topwater bait like a frog, but it seems nature is kind to us anglers- right when finesse season begins, the water starts to facilitate deeper-water baits!
Any inline spinner is a good bet, but the panther martin is my personal favorite. They have a great size-to-weight ratio and are smooth to reel in, with a firm vibration through the rod ensuring you that it’s spinning even when you can’t see it.
Keeping things small with an eighth or quarter ounce spinner is the best choice for fall, as even big bass will want to eat small prey. I seem to have lots of luck on the solid gold variety, but there are plenty of other color options to choose from as well.
Yet another shallow-water bait made easier to use by thinning vegetation, the lipless crankbait is another classic in the fishing world. Just like with the inline spinner, many different types of lipless crankbait will work but the Rippin’ Rap is a stellar choice for one.
This bait casts far for its size, has a quick and satisfying response, and has durable paint that doesn’t chip. Perfect for heavy use over many fall seasons!
This bait is a shoe-in for fishing in shallow water near rocks and other cover. The size 05 is 2 inches long and the lightest one I can reasonably throw with my tackle, but smaller ultralight variants exist as well if you want to downsize even further.
This soft plastic bait perfectly mimics a crayfish, one of the biggest sources of protein for largemouth bass during fall months when they stop chasing faster fish. Its small size is once again a prime selling point, giving fish more of a reason to snap this tasty looking morsel right up!
I’d recommend using a ¼ oz jig for this lure, and if you can find them painted black, that would be even better to minimize visibility. Remember, these baits are supposed to be jigged very slowly across the bottom, so bass will have more time to examine it- make it look convincing!
Topwater fishing during the fall can be a tricky game to play. Fish are often too sluggish to mount a reaction strike onto large lures that make heavy splashes.
Frogs aren’t naturally out during much of the fall season, so they become less convincing to fish as well. But this buzzbait’s small stature makes it the ideal choice if you want to test your topwater luck this fall!
It will serve you best on larger lakes with a healthy population of baitfish such as shad. They often come to and from the shallows throughout the autumn, and this bait mimics the appearance of one at the surface.
Cast this lure into shallow water nearby to the bank or other structure during the morning or evening hours, when the baitfish are most likely to be entering or exiting the shallows!
While the previously mentioned Rippin’ Rap is perfect for shallow-water cranking, the DT-10 is its ideal counterpart for deeper waters to which sulking largemouths may retreat following a cold snap.
It offers the same durability and castability as the Rippin’ Rap, but is able to get down further for those times when the bass aren’t at the surface!
This lure is best retrieved at a slow to medium speed along deep walls or past other submerged structure that’s further underwater than your shallower lures can reach. It also comes in a wide variety of realistic and very convincing paint jobs to add that extra ‘oomph’ of realism.
This one’s admittedly an odd case, as it won’t work for everyday bass fishing. But if you’re dead serious about landing the mother of all bass during the fall, this lure is the go-to! It’ll really only work if the body of water you plan to fish is home to lunker bass that you wish to target.
Glide baits are especially good at mimicking real fish if retrieved slowly and carefully. A slow retrieve with a small jerk every now and then in deep water is the key to success with this lure.
Be forewarned, most bass will not bite this lure, not because they dislike it, but because they simply aren’t big enough. You will get fewer bites with the Arashi than with the other options on this list, but the bites you do get will be from true lake monsters!
Of all the finesse options on this list, the trout worm is probably the finesse-iest of them all! These extra light 2.5 inch worms are wonderfully wiggly, making them optimal for providing an enticing display of movement without violently disturbing the water.
They’re made for trout, but bass love them too! I usually use them with an eighth or quarter ounce jig head, wacky-rig style. Let the worm sink to the bottom and leave ii fo a few seconds before jigging ever so slightly once every few seconds.
This lure is perfect for those calm, crisp fall days when the air and water are perfectly still. Don’t disrupt that stillness with your casting and presentation, so you can interrupt it later with screaming drag and a fish in hand.
As is par for the course with these articles, your mileage may vary depending on your local climate, what the bass in your region eat, and when exactly during the fall it is. Bass are known to be finicky during this time of year, but keep trying and figure out what works best in your area.
Here’s to hoping that we can all land some nice footballs of our own during this year’s season! Tight lines, stay warm, and happy hunting.
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