When bass start feeding heavily on baitfish in the fall, you can catch those fish then on just about anything you throw at them. Finding the baitfish is the first step in catching fall bass and the next step is to find the lures that best imitate the forage fish.
Here are five lures that best imitate the baitfish bass are munching on in autumn:
This blade bait is one of the best lures for triggering a reaction strike from bass feeding on shad. Try a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait with tandem willowleaf blades and match the blades to the same size of the shad that time of the year.
A shad imitator like the Bucca Baby Bull Shad produces best in clear water on lakes where bass have seen plenty of spinnerbaits throughout the fall. Try to match the hatch with the swimbait in the same size and color of the baitfish bass are eating then. You can fish this lure at different depths depending on the sink rate of the swimbait.
A square bill crankbait in a shad pattern or chartreuse with black back is ideal for banging into logs and stumps along flats loaded with shad. Use a smaller (2 inch) square bill, like the Googan Squad Mini Banger in early fall when bass are feeding more on threadfin shad and switch to a 3-inch square bill when bass forage on gizzard shad by late fall. A medium-diving crankbait produces in late fall when bass start moving to deeper water.
A walking topwater plug such as a Zara Spook is hard to beat when bass are busting baitfish on the surface in clear water. On windy days try a noisier topwater plug such as a Whopper Plopper to draw bass to the top on a choppy surface. A buzz bait is another ideal topwater to throw especially in murky shallow water. Retrieve these lures quickly throughout most of autumn but slow down your retrieve as the water temperature drops into the low 60s by late fall.
After a cold front hits, a slow-moving jig, like the Heavy Metal Football Jig can be the best lure to try for inactive bass. Swim the jig along the sides of boat docks or flip it to any shallow cover to catch lethargic bass waiting to ambush shad that swim by their hideouts. Choose a 3/8-ounce jig with a magnum-sized plastic trailer for a slow-falling combo to coax a finicky bass into biting.
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