Fall is a great time of year to catch aggressive bass, and the most consistent anglers know that there are multiple ways of doing that.
In the fall, a lot of these fish get on schools of bait and it’s not like being on rocks or trees or a channel; bait moves around. So, the tricky part is staying on these bait schools.
There’s a million ways to catch fish in the fall, and you might have 20 rods on your deck. But I’ve found a few dependable ways of catching those baitfish-related offshore fish.
One of my favorite ways to run them down, if they’ll play the game, is with a big shad crankbait. This presentation lets you make long casts to cover large amounts of water really fast and trigger those aggressive fish to bite.
This is actually a diverse technique that also works with a spinnerbait or even an Alabama-style rig. Throw what works for you, but this is a good way to cover water and find fish.
Now, in the fall, you have to consider that the fish could be from the surface to the bottom — and they might be in one extreme one minute and the other end a minute later. That’s why a drop shot can be one of your most effective baits for offshore fish.
Not only can you drop to fish on the bottom, you can use it to catch suspended fish if you can get it up into the school. I’m following these fish on my Lowrance and just by dropping straight to them. I’m able to get that bait right in the strike zone. That’s a good technique not only for catching them on the bottom, but it’s also good for suspended fish.
As far as drop-shot baits, I keep it simple. I like a 4 1/2-inch Straight Tail Roboworm, and my favorite colors are Morning Dawn, Morning Sunrise and Hologram Shad.
Another great option for those offshore fish in the fall is a jigging spoon. This is similar to the crankbait because you’re trying to trigger those fish, but it’s even more precise because you can fish it at depths where it’s more difficult for a crankbait to reach.
If a school of fish moves to 30-40 feet — and they’ll do that; I’ll watch them move from 50 feet to the surface frequently on schools of shad — you can target those fish in a quick, reactive way with that spoon. I’m generally throwing a chrome spoon, but on cloudy days, I might go with a white spoon or one with a little chartreuse.
One thing I’d point out about this fall season is that it’s easy to hold on to that topwater bait too long. There are some windows when it will continue to work, but after catching a lot of fish on a topwater during late summer-early fall, you have to make that transition to subsurface moving baits, which become more effective. Adjust with the season, and you’ll enjoy more of this great fall action.