As summer turns to fall and the weather begins to cool, bass fishing starts to heat up! As the water temperatures start to drop, bass begin to emerge from their deep summertime haunts and move back into the shallows. Baitfish are typically plentiful this time of year on most fisheries and bass take advantage of this abundant food source by schooling up and feeding heavily on them. However, bass tend to scatter this time of year and it can be difficult to locate at times. Therefore, the key during the fall is to use lures that imitate shad and can cover lots of water. Let’s talk about some of the best baits to throw this fall!
One of the best and most fun ways to catch bass during the fall is on topwater. This is my favorite way to catch a bass and can be some of the most exciting fishing anglers ever experience. It’s very hard to beat seeing a giant bass blow up on a topwater bait. There are four main types of topwater baits that I like to throw and all can be used to catch large numbers of bass during the fall. They include buzzbaits or ploppers, walking baits, poppers, and frogs.
1. Buzzbaits and Ploppers
Buzzbaits and ploppers are the best topwater lures for covering a lot of water and can trigger some vicious surface strikes. I prefer a plopper the majority of the time. I run it through shade lines created by boats docks, along grass, around pads and other shoreline cover. However, if I’m fishing an area with a lot of submerged vegetation and I simply can’t fish a plopper effectively, I turn to a buzzbait.
The Berkley Choppo and the River2Sea Whopper Plopper are both excellent choices when selecting a plopper. I couldn’t say I had a favorite between the two. Any shad pattern is a good choice for fall fishing. These lures come in many different sizes. I usually prefer a 3½-4½ plopper, but will fish with larger sizes at certain times. The 90 and 110 sizes (which signify the number of millimeters the lures are), are always a good choice.
Link to Berkley Choppo: https://amzn.to/3iJIFII
Link to River2Sea Whopper Plopper: https://amzn.to/3iJIFII
The Strike King KVD BuzzToad is my preferred buzzbait. It’s a skirt less bait that is designed for some sort of soft-plastic toad to be rigged on the hook. The Strike King Gurgle Toad is a good option for this. Black, white, and green pumpkin are all good colors when choosing a toad.
Link to Strike King BuzzToad: https://amzn.to/2RCMP9y
Link to Strike King Gurgle Toad: https://amzn.to/33HhzvP
2. Walking Baits And Poppers
If the bass aren’t willing to chase down buzzbaits and ploppers, that’s when I turn to walking baits and poppers. These two lures don’t cover water nearly as fast as buzzbaits and ploppers, however, once you find a place with fish in it, walking baits and poppers are excellent tools to break down a certain area. These baits appear as injured shad, struggling on the surface and are often look too good for bass to pass up. If schooling bass are present, walking baits and poppers are my go-to topwaters because they look more like the shad those bass are feeding on at that given time.
A couple of my favorite walking baits are the Heddon Zara Super Spook and Spook Jr., as well as the River2Sea Rover. Each of these lures is a little different as far as how they sound and look coming across the surface. However, both are phenomenal baits and catch tons of bass. When throwing a spook, I typically stick with the standard sized bait. However, if the baitfish in an area are smaller, I’ll oftentimes downsize to the Spook Jr.
Link to Heddon Zara Super Spook: https://amzn.to/3hJwrP0
Link to Heddon Zara Super Spook Jr: https://amzn.to/35LFKvG
Link to River2Sea Rover: https://amzn.to/2FRcmcc
My two favorite surface poppers include the Berkely Bullet Pop and the River2Sea Bubble Pop. Both of these lures have excellent action, and when popped across the surface, create a splash appearing just like a shad struggling to survive. As I mentioned above, I usually fish a larger 3½ inch popper, however, when the baitfish are smaller, I’ll downsize to a 2½ inch popper to match the hatch.
Shad and bone are my favorite color patterns for walking baits and poppers.
Link to Berkely Bullet Pop: https://amzn.to/33JNImu
Link to River2Sea Bubble Pop: https://amzn.to/33wHl5y
3. Hollow-Body Frogs
Finally, if I’m fishing very thick cover or matted vegetation during the fall, a hollow-body frog is a must have. The Booyah Baits Pad Crasher is by far my favorite topwater frog for fishing thick grass, duckweed, pads, or any other dense over. If I’m fishing a little thinner cover, I’ll sometimes opt for a Booyah Baits Poppin’ Pad Crasher. This bait acts sort of like a popper and spits water much better than a traditional Pad Crasher.
Whenever, I am able to catch bass on a topwater during the fall, I’ll be throwing one of these many topwater baits I mentioned. As I stated, it’s my favorite way to catch them, so if they’re biting it, I’m going to throw it.
One thing that many anglers think is that once the first hour of daylight passes, bass won’t bite topwater any longer. But that simply isn’t the case. Bass will strike topwater lures throughout the day during the fall, especially if there’s some cloud cover.
Spinnerbait are an excellent bait to throw during the fall. They mimic shad extremely well and can be fished around all types of cover. Whether fished through grass, pads, and reeds, around boat docks, or along seawalls, it’s hard to beat a spinnerbait this time of year. This is especially true when it is windy. Anytime I face breezing conditions, I always turned to a spinnerbait. The vibration and flash provided by a spinnerbait stands out to bass when there’s a ripple on the surface. White and gray are my two primary colors for spinnerbaits this time of year. Both have a very shad-like appearance and work well during the fall.
A Booyah Baits Tandem Blade Spinnerbait and Strike King Bleeding Spinnerbait are my two favorite spinnerbaits to throw during the fall and year-round. As far as sizes go, I prefer 3/8-½ ounce spinnerbaits for most situation during the fall. Thicker cover calls for a heavier bait.
Link to Booyah Baits Tandem Blade Spinnerbait: https://amzn.to/33wKjXK
Link to Strike King Bleeding Spinnerbait: https://amzn.to/3iHEeOP
When bass fishing during the fall, you can never go out without a crankbait tied on, preferably multiple different kinds. Two crankbaits I like to focus on this time of year are lipless crankbaits and squarebill crankbaits. Each of these lures mimics baitfish and can cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. They are great search baits and are often my go-to lures when trying to find fish quickly on on unfamiliar fishery.
As far as a lipless crankbait goes, I can fish this bait almost anywhere. I can rip it through sparse vegetation, work it around docks, or work it along any bank line to find fish. A Strike King Red Eye Shad does most of my lipless crankbait work. I really like the design on these lures and the action is outstanding as well. Any type of shad pattern will work during the fall. I usually like a ½ ounce lipless crankbait. However, I will often turn to a lighter ¼ ounce lure if the bait is smaller or I’m fishing over the top of vegetation that is a little too thick for a ½ ounce bait.
Link to Strike King Red Eye Shad: https://amzn.to/2FRhayj
With squarebill crankbaits, I typically fish them around hard structure along the shoreline, such as laydown trees, down piling, or rock piles. Deflecting a squarebill off this hard cover triggers bass to strike. The Strike King KVD 1.5 is my favorite all around square bill for the fall. Similar to the other baits, shad patterns are what you want to focus on this time of year.
Link to Strike King KVD 1.5: https://amzn.to/3mtPwbD
Hard suspending jerkbaits are another outstanding lure to throw as the weather begins to cool off. It also imitates shad to perfection and is by far my favorite bait anytime I’m fishing a clear body of water. A jerkbait is a very visual technique and bass will chase one down from a long ways away. Ideal jerkbait conditions are sunny and a bit breezy. Sunny conditions allow bass to find the bait easier and a little wind helps conceal an angler’s presence, which is especially important when fishing clear water. A jerkbait can be fished around many types of structure, such as down grass lines, around boat docks and seawalls, across points, or over any types of submerged open water cover. Bone, blue, and any shad patterns are my go-to jerkbait colors during the fall.
A Rapala Shadow Rap 11 is typically my preferred jerkbait of choice. It’s one of the least expensive jerkbaits on the market, however, is still a high-quality lure with great erratic action.
If the baitfish in a certain fishery are on the small side, I often turn to a Rapala Ripstop 9. This lure has a smaller profile and imitates little shad better that the Shadow Rap 11.
Link to Rapala Shadow Rap 11: https://amzn.to/3hAFJgg
Link to Rapala Ripstop 9: https://amzn.to/2FHt662
A lineup of fall lures isn’t complete with including soft-plastic swimbaits and flukes. I have caught so many fish on these kinds of baits during the fall. They imitate bait perfectly and look so real to a bass. I typically rig these soft-plastics weedless, so I can fish them through any type of cover or vegetation.
I usually rig soft-plastic flukes weightless on a 3/0 VMC Offset Widegap hook and fish it on or near the surface around grass, pads, reeds, and other vegetation along the shoreline. It’s also a great lure for fishing around schooling bass that are on the surface feeding on baitfish. ZOOM Super Flukes are the best soft-plastic jerkbaits on the market. They are extremely life-like when brought through the water and don’t tear too easily. White pearl and watermelon green are both exceptional colors.
Link to ZOOM Super Fluke: https://amzn.to/32H0O4g
Link to VMC Offset Widegap hook: https://amzn.to/32DJux5
I normally rig soft-plastic swimbaits with a small 1/8-3/16-ounce weight on the same VMC Offset Widegap hook. I’ll vary the size of my hook depending on the size swimbait I’m using. If I’m using a smaller swimbait (3-4½ inches), a 3/0 hook will do, but if I’m using a larger swimbait (5-7 inches), I’ll go to a 4/0 or 5/0 hook. If I want to keep the bait on the surface, I’ll rig it without a weight. I really like fishing this lure over the tops of fairly thick grass. Bass will destroy a soft-plastic swimbait coming across vegetation.
Strike King Rage Swimmers are my favorite soft-plastic swimbaits. Pearl flash and pro blue are two of the most effective colors for fishing during the fall.
Link to Strike King Rage Swimmer: https://amzn.to/3hJFtvo
Back to You
That wraps up my list of best bass lures to throw during the fall. You truly cannot go wrong with any of these baits this time of year. If you’re planning on hitting the water this fall, be sure to add some or all of these lures to your arsenal. I know they will help you catch more fish and have a more successful day on the water!
Thanks for reading and as always, happy fishing and keep your hooks wet!