Locating baitfish activity is key in the late summer/early fall whether you’re fishing shallow or
deep. Baitfish working on top are easy to find, but sometimes you have to rely on your electronics to
find the balls of baitfish below the surface.
Locating is the tricky part but once you’re dialed in and have an understanding of their habits and hangouts, you can have some of the best days of the season.
Baitfish Activity: Shad Packs
Starting in late summer or early fall shad flock to the flats in the back of creeks and tributaries. It is
usually tough to find one particular flat that has a huge population of bass so you have to run a lot of
creeks to find enough structure to pattern and catch several bass keying on shad.
An ideal spot to find shad during this time is a chunk rock bank that turns into a mud flat tapering off
into a creek channel. The baitfish will be ultra-shallow on the flats to where you can see shad working
on the surface most of the time.
Baitfish Activity: Finding The School
A spot with massive schools of shad looks appealing, but the numbers of baitfish can become
overkill. This becomes a problem in late summer and early fall especially in creeks and rivers. If you get
too many shad in these areas compared to the amount of bass there it can be hard to catch bass there
due to the abundance of food. You can try this spot for a couple of casts but if it fails to produce, it’s
best to leave there and look for areas with scattered pods of shad.
Baitfish Activity In Clear Lakes
In the deep, clear waters of highland reservoirs, you can find shad in the late summer and early fall
along points. The water is cooling off so baitfish and bass want to move shallower. So position your
boat over a depth of about 25 feet to key on baitfish and bass holding in the 10- to 20-foot zone. You
can usually find these baitfish with your electronics because the fish are seldom on the surface. When
you pinpoint the balls of baitfish on your graph, greater numbers of bass will usually be hanging