A lure falling through the water column mimics the natural actions of prey that triggers predatory fish into biting.
The falling lure can imitate a dying shad sinking to the bottom or a minnow diving to the bottom to feed or a crawfish slowly descending at the end of its hop out of the rocks or a sinking worm flushed into the water by rain runoff. All of these natural actions of prey ring the dinner bell for a wide variety of predatory fish such as bass, crappie, walleye, trout and sunfish.
One of my favorite lures for catching fish on the fall is a jig. When fishing for bass, most of the fish I catch on a jig is during the initial fall after pitching the lure to cover. I allow the jig to fall on a semi-taut line, which gives the lure a more natural look as it falls. Then I keep a close eye on my line and watch for any twitch in my line that signals a bass has inhaled the lure. After the jig hits the bottom, I hop it and let it fall to mimic a fleeing crawfish.
Swimming a small jig with a hop and drop retrieve over brush produces bites from crappie suspended over the cover. While retrieving the jig at a steady pace I will twitch my rod upwards to slightly lift the lure and then I stop reeling to let the jig fall a short distance. That slight dip in the jig’s swimming action usually triggers a bite from the suspended crappie.
A pronounced hop and drop of a marabou jig works best for me when fishing for rainbow and brown trout. If the fish fail to strike the jig on the initial fall, I jerk the jig 3 to 4 feet off the bottom and then let it settle back to the bottom again. Strikes frequently occur as the jig flutters down to the bottom.
During the winter, a slow-sinking jerkbait best imitates a dying shad. After twitching the lure two or three times, I let it fall on a 10- to 20-count to give sluggish bass a chance to swim up to the bait and inhale it.
Another great lure for catching bass on the fall is a stickworm such as a Yamamoto Senko. When bass are spawning or just cruising the shallows, you can sight fish with the lure and let it fall without imparting any action to the lure. The wiggling action of the lure as it falls is tempting enough to draw strikes from shallow bass.
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