Many top pros consider the late-summer/early fall period the toughest time of the year to fish. There is still lots of recreational traffic, water temps are still high, and the bass have seen a steady dose of baits for the last several months.
That being said, despite how tough the early fall can be, a day on the water is still better than a day spent doing just about anything else.
So get out there, and check out these tips on how to find fall bass.
1. Find the bait
As important as baitfish can be throughout the year, their presence is never more vital than it is in the fall. Once September rolls around it’s as if they don’t have any other food source. Before fishing, spend some time looking for areas that contain the most bait. Stained main-river creek mouths, secondary pockets, and stump laden flats are all likely bait-holders during this period. Cruise at low speed or idle until you locate some bait on your electronics.
2. Cover water
At other times of the year, it can be a good strategy to pick a good area and seine it for all it’s worth. The early fall is not one of those times. Because the bass are so keyed into baitfish, it’s best to start out with efficient moving baits like square bills, spinnerbaits, or lipless cranks and cover as much water as possible until you run into a concentration of bass. Some days it will be a fish here and a fish there, and others you’ll load up once you find the mother lode.
3. Focus on shad
It might seem like a no-brainer, but since the bass are keying on shad, it’s important to match the hatch and use baits that imitate them. Topwater walking baits, soft plastic jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and even shad patterned stick baits like the ExoStick Pro in white/silver flake will pull more fish than craw or bluegill imitators this time of year.