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As summer wanes and gives way to the crisp, cool days of autumn, many anglers shift their attention to hunting or watching football. However, for those in the know, fall can offer some of the best largemouth bass fishing of the year. Bass become more aggressive as they prepare for the colder months, and with the right tactics, you can capitalize on this feeding frenzy. Here are some expert fall fishing tips to help you land more largemouth bass.
Largemouth bass are cold-blooded creatures, meaning their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding environment. As water temperatures drop in the fall, bass start moving from their deep summer haunts to shallower water. They're on a mission to fatten up for winter, which means they’re actively hunting for food. Recognizing this migration pattern is key.
As bass make this seasonal transition, focus on areas that serve as a link between deep and shallow water. Look for points, creek channels, and drop-offs close to shallow flats. Bass often use these as highways as they move in and out of the shallows.
Keep an eye on your water thermometer. When water temperatures drop to the 50-70°F range, it's prime time for fall bass fishing. This is the temperature range where bass are most active during the fall months.
In the fall, bass diet is primarily composed of baitfish. Therefore, using lures that resemble the local forage will significantly increase your success rate. Silver or chrome crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jerkbaits are all excellent choices for imitating shad and other baitfish.
There's nothing more exhilarating than witnessing a bass explode on a topwater lure. In the fall, as bass are actively feeding in the shallows, topwater lures like poppers, buzzbaits, and walking baits can be very effective, especially during early mornings and late afternoons.
Fall can be unpredictable, and so can bass behavior. One day they might be hitting a fast-moving spinnerbait, and the next, they might prefer a slow-moving jig. Having a diverse set of lures and being willing to switch things up can make all the difference.
The metabolism of bass is higher in the fall, which often means they're willing to chase down faster-moving baits. Experiment with the retrieval speed of your lures. Sometimes a faster retrieve can trigger more aggressive bites.
Overcast days can be a boon for fall bass fishing. Cloud cover diffuses light, making bass more willing to venture into shallower water throughout the day. This can extend the prime feeding times beyond just dawn and dusk.
Birds like seagulls or herons can be your best allies when locating bass in the fall. If you notice birds diving into the water, there's a good chance they're feasting on baitfish, and where there are baitfish, bass are likely not far behind.
As much as fall offers some fantastic fishing, it also brings colder water temperatures. If you're fishing from a boat, always wear a life jacket. Hypothermia can set in faster than you think if you end up in the water.
Documenting your trips can offer valuable insights. Note down water temperatures, weather conditions, locations, lures used, and success rates. Over time, you'll identify patterns that can help refine your strategy for future trips.
While it’s tempting to keep that big catch, consider practicing catch and release. This ensures that there will be plenty of fish for future generations and helps maintain a healthy bass population.
Fall is a season of change. Leaves turn golden, temperatures dip, and the natural world prepares for the long winter ahead. For the astute angler, this period offers a golden opportunity to target largemouth bass as they aggressively feed to prepare for the colder months. With the above tips in your arsenal, you're well-equipped to make the most of the fall bass fishing season. So, grab your tackle box, head to your favorite fishing spot, and enjoy the beauty and bounty of autumn on the water.
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Written by Jake Smith, Feelfree US Marketing & Fly Fishing Guide
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