Fall is here and it’s one of my favorite times of the year because it’s transition fishing time for fall smallmouth bass. When the water starts to cool down in mid to late September, the fall smallmouth start to feed up for the winter months. Fall smallmouth can be found across the United States and Canada and the fishing can be absolutely awesome through the month of October and sometimes even into November, depending on the weather.
The areas I look for fall smallmouth are flats that have sharp drop-offs nearby or scattered rocks and riprap. These flats will hold fish that are roaming around looking for prey. At this time of year, the rivers are absolutely full of shad minnows which the fall smallmouth feed on to get ready for the winter. So look for similar baitfish in your area and use baits that mimic that pattern.
Another area that can be very productive are points and weed lines that have a strong water current, effectively pushing the baitfish directly into the path of smallmouth ready to ambush their prey. An example would be points or ends of islands which create current breaks and allow the smallmouth to remain out of the current and wait for baitfish to wash down to them. If fall smallmouth are hiding in an eddy or deep patch just at the end of some thick current, fish those points and lines like your supper is almost ready.
The biggest Smallmouth I’ve ever caught was during the Fall of 2005. The fish weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and I caught her on a Big Bite Baits 3.5” Tube in the color ‘Old Ugly’ which mimics crawdads and other baitfish. That same day I had five smallmouth that weighed a total of 22 lbs even…it wasn’t a tournament day, but what an incredible day in the fall!
I’ve had a lot of success catching fall smallmouth on almost everything at this time of year including crankbaits, jigs and of course a variety of soft plastics. So make sure and try everything in your Mystery Tackle Box this month! You can prepare as best you can, but you’ll never know exactly what they are biting until you show up that day and dangle it in front of them.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year for fishing, and can be yours too. Look for areas with an abundance of weed lines, drop-offs and scattered rocks. And remember, most importantly, be patient! You may not get many bites, but the fish you catch can be big and it’s possible to catch the trophy fish of a lifetime in the fall!
Always wear your life jackets, be safe and have fun on the water!
This post guest written by Bob Adkinson, Professional Bass Fisherman & Guide