by Mike Gerry
The biggest change in fall fishing occurs more in how the largemouth bass change their habits at this time of year than at any other time.
Bass will follow the forage or bait fish most often in the fall than any other time of year; this can make them harder to locate as most anglers are used to looking for structure. Structure is certainly a pattern but bass have a tendency to move more to the open water, flats, and bays than any other time of year.
The lakes are always full of bait fish in the fall and bass move to the baitfish for easy feeding and ignore their tendency to hang on structure. The point of this is: don’t ignore open water points or movement even though it appears to be removed from grass lines or structure that you are traditional use to fishing.
This is one of the biggest reasons that crank baits running from five to eight feet of water are so effective in the fall. You can be fishing hundreds of yards off structure and catching fish in the fall just because the bait has moved to the open waters. Long, extended points, where you’re removed from the traditional structure become great places to catch bass this time of year. The bass are active and feeding-up for the winter cold and the bait moves in many different directions, for safety, pushing the bass to follow them to open water.
Have you ever wondered why, in the fall, it seems that the bass turn on and off like a light switch? The reason is very simple, the bass feed in large groups in the fall. They feed two, maybe three times a day. The rest of the day, they suspend and become very lethargic in the warm water. Your fishing habits in the fall can often be timed like clockwork, as bass can be feeding one minute and you’re busy catching fish only to have them be gone and not feeding the next. This is why I fish so many reaction-type baits in the fall, because outside the feeding times the bass can be very hard to catch and the only way is to trigger their instincts to react.
Don’t let the slow times of fall fishing discourage you, just look at some nontraditional areas away from structure and you will find the bass.