How To Fish Topwater, Spinnerbaits & Swim Jigs
For More Bass In Fall ~ by Darl Black

Largemouth Bass - Topwater Baits

Topwater baits play a key role in early fall bass fishing.

Typically, summer bass anglers either probe deep offshore structure with Carolina rigs, shaky worms and drop-shot, or target specific cover by repeatedly flipping Texas-rigged creature baits. But early fall opens opportunities for success with different lures. The most productive lures are ones that operate best in less than 10 feet of water, and are intended to be fished at a faster pace. Remember, early fall is a time of transition, as bass follow preyfish. Therefore, bass may not be at the same location as they were only days before – you’ve got to cover water.

With most largemouth keyed on migrating baitfish in the fall, here are several useful presentations all around the country.

Topwater – What angler doesn’t love the thrill of a bass blowing up on a surface lure? For open water (i.e. surface not congested with weeds) bass experts like topwater lures that spit, sputter and swish across the surface like an injured baitfish. My favorites in these categories are the Storm Chug Bug, Heddon Crazy Shad, and the Zara Spook – but there are many additional options too. The biggest tip for topwater is not to set the hook upon seeing the explosive strike, but wait for the line to tighten.

Largemouth Bass - Spinnerbaits

Many anglers rely heavily on spinnerbaits in the fall.

Spinnerbaits – On clear water lakes, I never fish a spinnerbait on calm days, reserving it for times when the wind is blowing. A choppy surface breaks up the light entering water, thereby helping to better create the baitfish illusion of a spinnerbait. If you know baitfish schools are riding near the surface over weeds or on a shallow flat, then a double-willow blade spinnerbait may be the ticket. In clear water, I want a spinnerbait skirt in a realistic baitfish pattern. In dingy water, either white or chartreuse skirts are typically preferred. If the water is truly muddy, some bass pros like a double Colorado blade model with one red or orange Colorado.

Swim Jigs – Many bass anglers opt for a swim jig instead of a spinnerbait – particularly under calm conditions. Shallow-water swim jigs are shaped slightly different than regular pitching, flipping or dipping jigs. Their conical or torpedo-shaped head is designed to slide through brush and vegetation. Furthermore, a swimming retrieve is employed instead of the usual bottom-bumping with a regular jig. To help create the baitfish illusion, a double-tail grub is added as a trailer instead of a craw or chunk. Swim jigs can be fished in difficult cover that would foul a regular spinnerbait. Terminator, Jewel and Bass Stalker are among the manufacturers offering shallow-water swim jigs.

Next post: How to fish swimbaits,
crankbaits and frogs for more bass in the fall.

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