Across the country on bass lakes from California to Texas, Alabama to Virginia, and northward into Michigan and New York, bass fishermen have learned that some of the best places to catch autumn largemouth are in tributary creeks where the bass are following shad during their annual postsummer migration into the shallows. Armed with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and other reaction lures, anglers often enjoy some of the most dependable shallow-water fishing of the year.
It’s a lesson Keith Combs learned well on his home waters of Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, but as more fishermen crowded into his favorite creeks each September and October, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro began searching for alternative patterns those same creek fishermen were overlooking. Through years of tournament competition — Combs won the 2017 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship tournament on Mille Lacs Lake and is a three-time winner of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic — he has perfected enough secondary options that on some lakes, he doesn’t even go into the tributaries during the fall months. Here are three of his favorite autumn alternatives.