Sometimes less is more. I don’t know who first said that but it might have been a bass angler getting ready for fall. You see, all you really need from now through November is some shallow water with a little rock, wood or grass stocked with baitfish along with three tried and true fall lures, maybe four if the bass go quiet on you.
I’ve grouped the lures by action, style and depth. And, I’ve listed the makes and models I use. I recognize, however, that these are pretty ordinary baits so there are lots and lots of good choices available. Everybody has his or her favorites. The only reason I’ve included my choices is so that you have a place to start for comparison purposes if you’re going to restock.
My first choice of baits in the fall is a spinnerbait. I can cover water with it and it’ll tell me real fast if they’re where I’m fishing and if they’re active and chasing.
In rivers I prefer a Tim Poe model with a combination of Colorado and Indiana blades. That’s a nice combination of thump and flash. I go small at this time of the year. Something around 1/4 ounce is about right with smaller, but not tiny, blades. It’s hard to go wrong with shad colors in the fall but for my river spinnerbaits I go with black and a black trailer more often than not.
In lakes I switch to a bigger bait — 3/8 or 1/2 ounce — and change my blade combination to a pair of willow leafs or a willow leaf and a Colorado but I still never use any blade bigger than an average size. I pretty much stick with shad colors in lakes. It’s hard to beat natural.
My second rod and reel will have a crankbait tied on it. I only use two types of baits when the leaves start turning — a square bill and a flat-sided crankbait. I use shad colors almost exclusively. They’ll match the hatch in most lakes even when the primary forage isn’t true shad.
My square bill choice is an Ima Bill Lowen model. My flat-sided choice is a PH Custom Lures Dollar Bill. The square bill runs shallow — about 3 feet is as deep as it’ll get — and the Dollar Bill runs in the 5 to 7 foot range. If you’re anywhere in that range, you’ve got it about right.
My third rod will always have a topwater bait on it. I like buzzbaits and walking sticks. The buzzbait seems to catch the most fish when they want something noisy and moving fast. But, if they’re looking for something a little more subtle I go with a walking stick.
My buzzbaits are mostly made by me. I get the parts from Lure Parts Online. My walking sticks come from Ima.
If the fish are somewhat neutral and holding tight to the cover you might have to flip and pitch. I do that with a tube from Venom Lures. It’s 4 inches long and I always throw a pearl, gray or white color. It’s that shad thing with me in the fall.
If I want just a little more action I go with something that has flappers on it. My choice here is a NetBait Paca Craw in the same colors as my tubes.
Here’s the bottom line: You don’t need a big collection of tackle to catch fall bass or a box full of expensive lures. The basics will get you what you want if you think about where you’re fishing and keep a sharp eye out for the baitfish.