Isn’t fall fishing beautiful? Getting out on the water early in the morning, that cool nip in the air, the trees all around you turning beautiful hues. Not to mention the baitfish running, the bass fattening themselves up for winter, and absolutely pounding the lures.
A lot of folks like fishing buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and other quick-return lures in the fall, but listen to a lot of the pros (which I try to do my best to emulate) and they’ll tell you that a crankbait belongs in your arsenal.
I might argue that more than one crankbait belongs there, but we’ll get to that. In the meantime, let’s talk about the beauty of fishing crankbaits in the fall.
Finding the Right Depth
In early fall, bass start to transition up to shallower areas to feed on those delicious shad—before they promptly return back to deeper, cooler water for the winter. Many folks like to hit mid-depths, around 10-ft or so. Many more like to beat the banks, hit all the cover, and bounce baits along trees.
As it turns out, both of these options work—but it depends entirely on the day and the bass. Your retrieve can have a huge impact on your depth, and don’t rule out fishing a little deeper.
Anywhere from five to 15 feet can be golden, depending on water temp and cloud cover. If you’re looking for versatility, a mid-depth crankbait like the Rapala DT Series can help you hit both areas. Especially the quick divers that don’t depend as much on your retrieve speed.
The Best Colors
Bass love shad, especially during their big pre-winter feed. So that goes to serve that shad-colored cranks really do the trick. If they’re not hitting those, try out crawfish-colored—especially when you’re running shallow water.
A lot of anglers love Fire Tiger year-round, and it’s hard to argue that, especially when it works. If it’s cloudy, I swear by something chartreuse.
In the fall, bass are hungry. They’re filling up for the winter, when they’ll sit in colder water and just relax for a while. So more often than not, aggressive fishing of a crankbait will garner more strikes. And the beauty of that is you can cover so much more water than you do with slower-return spinning baits.
That said, when the water starts to cool, so do the bass. Slower retrieves help make up for their sluggishness. Fish crawfish colors closer to the bank, where the sun is warming the water to higher temps.
It’s never a bad idea to let your crank bump along something—a log, the rocky bottom, or brush piles. For that reason, many tournament fishers swear by rattling crankbaits. They want anything that will attract just a little more attention away from the real shad and more toward the fake one.
Bass love a little wiggle, especially in the fall. Slim-bodied crankers have a tighter action, and that usually keeps bass interested. With so many shad trying to avoid their mouths, those that don’t put up as much of a fight are always more tempting to a largemouth.
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