The grass might be greener in the spring, but aquatic vegetation can still be a lush dwelling for bass to hang out in the fall. Fishing grass in the springtime can produce great results, yet the action in the weeds during fall can be as good or better since the water is usually warmer and the fish are more aggressive throughout autumn. "Usually there is a little more topwater fishing (in the weeds) than you have in the spring," says 2011 Bassmaster Classic contender Kelly Jordon.
Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and other lures that produce in the weeds during spring also trigger strikes in the fall. However, Jordon opts for different lure colors when targeting bass in the grass during autumn. "Even though there are always crawfish around weeds, shad colors dominate in the fall," he says. "In the spring, the red lipless crankbait is the ticket. In the fall, it's more of the chromes and smoky shad colors."
The Texas pro's favorite lures for working on or near the grass include a buzzbait, Lucky Craft Sammy, Lucky Craft Kelly J and a Lake Fork Tackle Magic Shad that he reels quickly to make the jerkbait skitter across the surface. He also likes to throw plastic toads or frogs when the bass are in shallow lily pads. "That's a strong fall pattern too," he says. Jordon believes the topwater action is better in the fall than the spring because the fish suspend in the weeds more.
"The other cool thing about fall is that you should always keep your eyes open for a school of fish that push the shad up against the weeds," says Jordon. When the water temperature drops into the low 60s, Jordon relies more on his flipping stick and braided line to punch through the mats.
"A lot of times the fish are right on the bottom in those little drains or creek channels that go through the grassbeds," says Jordon, who punches through the grass with a 3/4- to 1 1/2-ounce Lake Fork Tackle Tungsten Mega Weight followed by a Lake Fork Tackle Craw Tube. Shad movement throughout the fall creates two weed patterns. "The backs of the creeks are always a great place to start," says Jordon. "Go as far back as you can go."
Main lake flats and points blanketed with weeds are also prime locations for autumn bass foraging on baitfish. As the water continues to cool in the late fall, Jordon starts keying on deeper weeds. "Some of the best flipping I've ever had was on (Sam) Rayburn in November," he recalls.
"I was flipping grass in 22 feet of water, and it was unbelievable. I was catching giant after giant after giant." By late fall, some aquatic vegetation starts to die on Northern waters, and, although the brown weeds look uninviting, bass will still be there, especially if it's the only cover available. "Don't be afraid of dead grass," says Jordon. "It can be harder to fish because it gets softer and gets stuck on your bait more. Of course if you can find some pretty green grass, that's always better." Whenever he's targeting milfoil or hydrilla in the fall, Jordon tries to avoid the vast stretches of uniform grass or solid mats. "Probably the best thing to look for is 'clumpy grass,' " says Jordon.
Whether he is looking at the mats on top or the submerged vegetation with his electronics, Jordon searches for holes in the mat or broken up sections of weeds. Factors that contribute to breaking up the mats include grass die off, lake drawdown that makes the weeds susceptible to waves, strong winds and coots that forage throughout the mats.
Jordon suggests fishing all the types of weeds available in a lake or river during the fall until you find the type bass prefer. "There will always be some fish around the grass," he says. "If you have so many different kinds of grass where you have to pick one that the fish are really on, I really don't even feel sorry for you. That's a great problem to have."
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