Get ready for fall

About the author

Chris Lane

Chris Lane

Chris Lane is a six-time winner on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion.

Labor Day’s behind us. That’s the traditional end of summer. In most parts of the country it’s time to get ready for fall. That’s a big deal. Fall is one of the great times to go bass fishing. The weather’s cool, the fish are moving shallow and most of the heavy recreational boat traffic is nowhere to be found. And, an awful lot of anglers have traded their rods and reels for guns or bow and arrows.

We all hear about the great fishing there is back in the creeks. The fish go there to feed on the shallow baitfish. The thing is, though, this movement into the shallows doesn’t all happen at once. It’s gradual and progressive.

I like to think fall fishing begins with grass. It’s still green and healthy at this time of the year so that’s where the bass will head first. Look for larger areas in relatively shallow water that are on a natural pathway to the creeks. Pay special attention to anything that’s near a creek mouth or a channel running into a creek.

It’s not hard to fish grass in the fall. One of my favorite baits is a Snag Proof frog. If it’s thick, I like to go with my Guntersville model. If it’s scattered, I’ll go with something I can walk and swim over the top of the weeds.

Walking sticks are good at this time of the year, too. Don’t neglect them even if the sun is out. These are shallow fish. They’ll come up for something to eat.

Another option is to flip and pitch the grass. My preference these days is the new Luck “E” Strike Drop Dead plastic bait. (It’s a creature bait with three appendages.) Rig it Texas style and go to work.

While you’re looking for grass and pathways back to the creeks keep a sharp eye out for schooling bass. In most areas of the country we had a late spawn because of the brutal winter. After that, the water warmed up quick. I didn’t see the schooling bass this summer the way I normally do. So, I’m thinking they might school a little late this year.

If they do, try throwing a Luck “E” Strike swimbait. Try to match the hatch — color and size — as best you can. When they’re on top chasing baitfish like that you can catch a ton of them in no time flat if your lure resembles what they’re eating.

The most important thing about what I’ve said is to find the fish. You can’t catch them if they aren’t there. Don’t get in too big of a hurry to go way back in the creeks just yet. The bass are just starting to make their move in most of the places we fish. Of course, how far along they are depends upon how far north you’re fishing. It’s all regional at this point. Keep that in mind.

In early September we’ll take a week to talk about how I catch them when they do get back in the creeks.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com.  

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