Pigskins, Ground Balls and Hungry Bass

As a sports fan, I’m not sure there’s a better week than right now. The World Series and the peak of football season are all happening at once. Given the fact I’m built just a tad bigger than a horse jockey, I shelved aspirations of playing football fairly early on.

However, a spot at second base on a team that always challenged for an Alabama State High School Championship will forever be a source of pride and fond memories. We learned how to work insanely hard on that team, and one of us, my close friend Josh Rutledge, even made it to the major leagues. He currently plays for the Colorado Rockies, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be proud to attend his wedding.

Wedding ceremonies and Auburn football games at Jordan-Hare Stadium aside, my favorite days of fall are spent on the water. Whether you’ve spent the summer sweating inside a welding shop for a living, or during scorching weekends on the water for fun, I think it’s safe to say we all welcome these crisp, cool days.

Bass seem to welcome the cooler days of fall, too. Unlike summer, when sunset and sunrise seem to be best, in the fall you can catch them all day long – even on a topwater lure.

Speaking of topwater lures – it’s hard to beat a Zara Spook. I throw it on 15-pound monofilament on shallow points and flats. I like a bone-colored version on cloudy days, and something with a clear belly like the one hanging on my baseball glove when it’s sunny.

If they’re not biting your topwater lure, try casting a lipless crankbait like an X-Caliber Xr50 across those same flats and shallow points. Obviously, you don’t want to cast it around thick cover such as fallen trees – but in sparse cover and even vegetation, it’s hard to beat a lipless crankbait when bass are chowing-down on big shad like they often are at this time of year.

If you have heavy cover like laydown trees on the shoreline, or stumps on a really shallow flat, try a shallow-running squarebill crankbait. They’re designed to hunt their way through and around heavy wood cover, as well as scattered rocks – and they also do a great job of mimicking shad in shallow water. I cast these on 15-pound line, too.

Hopefully those three lures will help you locate a few more fat fish this fall, in much the same way Josh Rutledge and I used to track down grounders back in Cullman, Alabama - or might I say, like Auburn receivers tracking-down pigskins here at Jordan-Hare.  

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