It's the most wonderful time of the year. Very few seasons find Mother Nature stirring with the high level of intensity that late fall and early winter provide. Whitetail bucks have been chasing does like high school boys en route to the prom, ducks are headed south and the bass are waging one last assault on every baitfish they can chase down. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dave Wolak reveals three lures no basser should be without during this magical time on the outdoorsman's calendar.
1st Pick: Jig — "You can catch fish on a jig from the beginning of fall to the dead of winter," said Wolak, the 2007 Bassmaster Central Open Points Champ. "A brown jig is my favorite, but I fish black in dirtier water, and the size I use ranges from 1/4-ounce to 3/4-ounce, depending on the depth I'm fishing. One thing I'd stress though is that you need a jig with a round or football style head. At this time of the year, I'm crawling the jig around rocks 90 percent of the time, because the rocks hold heat in the cooler water, so the jig you choose needs to have a head that will crawl through and over the rocks without getting hung-up."
2nd Pick: Shad-colored crankbait — "The Bomber Flat A is my all-time favorite crankbait in the fall. It has a tight wobble, and it imitates a shad perfectly. I cover lots of water with this lure by running the creek banks and making tons of casts until I find an area of the creek where the bass are eating shad."
3rd Pick: Crippled Herring Jigging Spoon — "I actually won my first tournament on this lure in the fall of the year. Not every shad runs to the back of the creeks. Oftentimes, using your sonar, you'll find balls of them suspended over the creek channel out where the creek meets the main river channel. When you see this, drop a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce Crippled Herring Spoon down to where the baitfish appear on your sonar screen, and be prepared to catch a quality bass. I use a single hook on my spoons, and I spool-up with 12-pound fluorocarbon line."