Fall Blades for Big Bass
by Glenn Walker
There are many signs of fall that we all have been conditioned to recognizeóthe leaves begin to turn, the days unfortunately get shorter, and more importantly, the water temperature begins to drop, which means it is time for some fantastic fall bass fishing!
This is a time when an angler has the opportunity to catch not only numbers of bass, but also big bass! Anglers can use many lures and techniques to catch these fish, but one my favorite tactics to catch largemouth and smallmouth in the fall is tossing a spinnerbait.
Bass in fall have one thing on their mindÖfood! They are bulking up for the long winter ahead of them and gorging themselves. The shad that the bass are feeding on are going to be in shallow water, along flats or located on a point, and in most cases grouped in big schools. This water will warm as the sun gets up overhead, which will attract the baitfish and in turn bring in the bass.
There are several ways to locate these schools of shad. One is too look for birds. If you see seagulls or pelicans in an area, then more than likely there are shad present. Another way to spot shad is to look for any flashes in the water or change in the surface conditions. Many times, these schools of shad are easy to locate just by having a keen eye and a pair of quality polarized sunglasses.
Numerous forms of cover will hold bass in the fall, as long as they have food present and are located near or on the way to deeper water. Points with moving water on both sides and flats with deep water close by are two areas to find bass staging in the fall prior to winter.
Shorelines with weeds or wood will also have baitfish and bass next to them; likewise, rocky areas will hold smallmouth. Many times the bass will roam these flats to feed on the shad. If one day you are catching them on the cover and the next day they arenít there, just back off of the cover, and more than likely the bass will be out roaming and actively feeding on that flat.
The importance of having deeper water close by is important, because these are the areas bass will winter in. There doesnít have to be a huge difference in water depth for it to be considered deeper. For areas on rivers, like the Mississippi, a deeper trough may only be one to two feet deeper.
By doing some research ahead of time, you can identify key areas to check once you get on the water. I rely on tools such as my LakeMaster Contour Elite CD and Google Maps to search possible fishing locations.
Then once Iím on the water, I pay close attention to my Humminbird electronics and use the depth shading feature with my LakeMaster chip to highlight the key depth range I want to target. This way I can keep my boat in the key depth range and put my casts in front of more bass.
The equipment I use to throw a spinnerbait in the fall is a Wright & McGill Victory high-speed reel with 15-pound-test Seaguar TATSU fluorocarbon, on a 7-foot Wright & McGill Tessera Series spinnerbait rod. With this tackle setup Iím able to make long casts, burn my spinnerbait, and fish in any cover that I may come across. Making long casts is key to covering water and not spooking bass that may be cruising a shallow-water flat.
Every angler has his favorite spinnerbait that he likes to throw, and pretty much every tackle company makes one; it is just up to you to find one that you like and learn how it runs.
A feature I like to look for is that the weight is centered on the shaft of the hook, so it will not roll when you reel it in. I like this in particular because I like to use a #4 gold Colorado blade on it. This blade puts off a lot of vibration, which brings the bass in. Many times in the fall the water has a slight stain due to the leaves and dead weeds in the water. My favorite color and skirt combination in the fall is anything that resembles shad. Sometimes a straight white is best, while other times a skirt with some silver, blue or purple in it is needed.
I employ several different kinds of retrieves when fishing a spinnerbait in the fall. Sometimes fishing a spinnerbait can be as simple as just casting it out and reeling it in, but some days a more precise retrieve is needed. Here is a list of some the different retrieves that I will employ.
Ticking: making your bait just tick the tops or roots of the vegetation or timber.
Burning: reeling the spinnerbait in as fast as you can to draw a hard reaction strike.
Slow-rolling: letting the bait sink down to bottom and just reeling it fast enough to bring in line, but making sure you are maintaining contact with the bottom.
Yo-yoing: reeling the spinnerbait in and letting it freefall for a few seconds. This is good when reeling the bait over the top of a flat and then letting it fall down the drop.
Ripping: simply ripping the lure out of the weeds and just holding on, because many times this is when a hard hit will occur.
Grab your favorite spinnerbait, head to your local bassiní hole and hold on, because the fall bass bite is on, and there is no better way to have 50-plus-fish days than fishing a spinnerbait in the fall. Just make sure when you catch that lunker, release it!
Glenn has been fishing tournaments for 10 years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos. He keeps busy fishing events across Minnesota and on the Mississippi River. Glennís sponsors include: Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevrolet, LakeMaster, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Onyx, Plano, Rayjus, RC Tackle, Seaguar, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar and Wright & McGill. For more information check out glennwalkerfishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.