Think fast and small this fall



The last few days have been busy. I’ve been getting my boat ready for the new owner. A part of that is removing the waypoints from my electronics. That got me to thinking about what they’re worth since we don’t fish in the fall much anymore.

I suppose they are worth a lot, but not for the reasons you might think. You see, despite all that’s written and talked about when it comes to finding fall fishing spots and travel paths, the blunt truth is all you really have to do is fish your spring spots.

That’s a simple truth that a lot of anglers overlook. Bass move according to predetermined paths. They’ve been doing that for hundreds of years, and they aren’t likely to change this year. They move up shallow in the spring when things start to warm up, and they do the same thing in the fall when things start to cool off.

My best spots are flats and secondary points. I have them marked from spring so finding them is no big deal. 

One thing I want to mention about waypoints before I get any farther into this is how I mark them and how I use them. My waypoints mark areas, not specific spots. I never mark a rock pile right on top of it. I mark the path leading into it and then I can fish the whole area. 

Fishing the same spots you found in the spring is the way to start. But fall bass react to lures a little differently than spring bass. You have to change things up if you want to load the boat.  

To begin with it’s important to understand that even though the water is cooling off it’s still warmer than it was in the spring. Everything around the water is warmer too. That keeps the metabolism of the fish higher which in turn means they’ll hit faster moving baits. 

At the same time I’ve noticed that they also seem to prefer smaller lures. That might be because the baitfish are shallow or it just might be my style of fishing. I don’t know the why of it for certain. I do know that’s what I’ve observed.

Another thing I want to talk a little more about is the concept of shallow. Most of the good size bass I’ve caught recently were in less than 4 feet of water. I know some anglers are going to say that’s too shallow for this early in the fall. I don’t care. That’s where I’ve found them. And remember, I’m in Texas, not the coolest state in our country. 

All this came together for me earlier this week. I went out to do a little fun fishing. The bite was tough — until I started throwing a small squarebill crankbait and a small buzzbait. I cranked them back really fast too. No matter how fast I retrieved them, though, the bass liked them that way. In fact, the faster I cranked the more bass I caught. Those are my two favorite lures right now, but any moving bait that you can retrieve fast will get it done. Vary your depth from top to bottom until you find what works. Subtle depth changes can sometimes make a big difference.  

As I say all of this I want you to be sure you understand I’m not saying that you can’t catch them out deep. You can. And I’m not saying that your pitching and flipping stick is useless right now. It isn’t. 

What I am saying is that you shouldn’t make fall fishing hard. It isn’t. Think spring only in shallow water, a faster retrieve and smaller lures. If you do, you’ll catch your share.