Jeff Kriet has a reputation for staying put. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Oklahoma knows how to find bass, and once he finds them he has little trouble putting them in the boat. When it comes to finesse tactics or catching suspended bass, he has few equals. That's why it's something of a surprise that he completely changes his ways when it comes to fall bassing.
"I usually like to fish really slowly," he says, "but fall is the one time that I want to cover a lot of water, and my favorite way to do it is by burning a spinnerbait."
That's another departure for the affable eight-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. Fall is one of few times that he ever ties on a spinnerbait, preferring a lipless or square bill crankbait when bass are in thin water.
"A big part of this pattern is the right bait," Kriet says. "My favorite spinnerbait for this tactic is a 1/2-ounce Sebile Pro-Shad Finesse Spinnerbait in Holo Greenie. It's a terrific shad imitation, and the bait performs like no other on the market because it's compact, has a unique blade design and works great in clear water, which we have a lot of at this time of year."
The blades on the Sebile spinnerbait have the outline of a baitfish, and they're small enough that they provide little "lift." That keeps the lure under the water even at high retrieve speeds. The compactness of the bait allows Kriet to make long casts and cover lots of water.
"It's a very natural looking bait, and that means a lot in clear water," he says. "It's important to match your spinnerbait to the shad, so a natural color is key. I think the blades on the Sebile make a difference, too."
Kriet focuses his attentions on the backs of creeks and pockets, flats and windy banks, but what he's really looking for is shad.
"The shad could be almost anywhere, but those are the high percentage places to look," he adds. "I like areas that have a channel nearby so the bass have some deep water access, but the bass are going to be near the bait."
When burning a spinnerbait, Kriet opts for 15-pound-test Hi-Seas Fluorocarbon line spooled on an Abu Garcia Revo casting reel (7:1 gear ratio) mounted on a Falcon swim jig or Falcon Eakins Jig rod. The jig rods have just the action that Kriet likes for spinnerbaiting.
Because he's making long casts (and may have to set the hook from long range) and retrieving very fast (which can result in short strikes), Kriet likes a trailer hook on his fall spinnerbaits. It can dramatically cut down on missed bass.
"I'm moving fast and covering lots of water, but I want to keep my bait in the strike zone, so I like to move in close to the bank and make parallel casts that keep me in the productive zone as much of the cast as possible.
"I also like to give the bait some added action," Kriet says. "While I'm reeling it in, I'm also twitching and moving my rod tip a lot to throw a little slack in the line and make the bait pause and flutter. Sometimes that makes all the difference."
Kriet's fall pattern is not without its caveats.
"If the bass aren't cooperating," he says, "I'm going to put that spinnerbait down fast and go to something else. When they're on it, it's fantastic — there's no better way to catch them in the fall. But don't go out there and push it for four hours waiting for something to happen. I don't fish this pattern unless I know it's the deal."
Originally published October 2011