Making the most of the Fall bite

As much as I personally hate to see it happen, Summer is over and the Fall months are upon us. Despite the impending doom of Winter there is some awesome fishing to be had in the next few months. In this article I will break down a few of my favorite tactics and locations to capitalize on the Fall bite.

My Favorite Targets & Tactics

Shallow Flats

In the Fall shallow flats and especially those with isolated cover like stumps or grass patches tend to be one of my favorite areas. As the water cools and the lake turns over these fish cruise these flats where bait tends to usually hold around the cover. Shallow cover like stumps and grass offer perfect ambush points for feeding fish. Breaking down large flats can be overwhelming. I like to start near the first deep water break and work onto the flat from there. Locating shallow cover on those flats can be the difference maker. Keep your glasses on and scan for dark spots, stick ups, or emergent grass. 

Keep an eye out for wolf packs of cruising bass especially in lakes where smallmouth are present. The smallmouth in my experience really like sandy flats adjacent to sharp breaks to get up and cruise on sunny days. When you find a small school you can usually back off and get them to react. Once one fish bites the others usually follow suit. 

Some of the best baits I like for covering large flats are a spook, lipless crankbait, chatterbait, jerkbait, and a whopper plopper. All of these are moving and allow me to cover water to find the active fish. Keep an eye out for schooling action where a group of fish is pushing bait and feeding. Be ready to fire a topwater or small swimbait in there. 

In the picture below you can see the shallow flat to the left with a good break line off to the right. Fish will get up and cruise on this flat in the Fall. There is no one particular spot they are always on but that is why it is important to be able to make long fan cast around the flat to find them. 

Docks

Docks in the fall can be special. As the water cools and oxygen levels stay higher the cover and warmth a dock can provide are key. On sunny days dock post and floats provide a warmth near them that baitfish seem to find attractive. With bait around, bass looking to feed up for winter won’t be far behind. Look for docks near points, on shallow flats near creek bends or with lots of dark floats. 

I approach docks in the fall with a variety of baits. A buzzbait for running along side of the docks, a chatterbait, spinnerbait, and of course a jig are always some of my top producers around docks. Keep it simple and cover water. The more docks you hit the higher your chances of finding a few fish.

Offshore Structure

Despite a lot of fish moving shallower you can still find some good ones offshore that maybe aren’t fish for as hard. I have had some phenomenal days probing mid-depth shell beds and deep hard structure when the majority have headed to the bank in the fall. The bites may not be as numerous as in the Summer but many times the quality is there and they are just as hungry. 

I like to look for offshore areas that have bait present and that are not too far from shallower water. Typically shell beds and road beds tend to produce well along with deep points. A football jig and a drop shot always stay on my deck during this time of year. If the fish are active I will probe with a crankbait like a Spro Little John DD or even an alabama rig. 

Fall fishing can be a fantastic and there is no reason to only be in a deer stand. Take these ideas and try them out this Fall. Let us know how you do out there!

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