Best Fall Lures

What are the Best Lures for Fall Bass Fishing?

A shad-imitating crankbait is an excellent choice for fishing quickly as you search for fall bass.
A shad-imitating crankbait is an excellent choice for fishing quickly as you search for fall bass.

Depending on where you live, fishing this time of year can be brutal. It's still relatively hot in the southern states, and the fish can be spread out from shallow to deep, waiting for a break from the warmer water temperatures. In northern areas, the fish feed heavily with the cooler water temperatures. But, no matter where you live, fishing in the early fall is about staying on your toes as fish are usually spread out throughout the water column and on the move as they search for their next meal.

Here are six lures that will shine this autumn to capitalize on some of the best bass fishing of the year.

  1. Topwaters

    As the water starts to cool, it kick-starts movement throughout the lake. One great example is the schools of shad migrating into creeks and backwaters. As these baitfish begin to group up and move, the bass are right there with them and ready to eat. One of the best ways to get in on the action is with topwater lures. Besides being fun, they are perfect for covering water. They also cast well and can help you reach schooling fish off in the distance.

    Most anglers opt for walking baits like the Zara Spook, Lucky Craft Sammy, Strike King Sexy Dawg, and others. They are excellent choices for fall fishing and do a great job of imitating baitfish activity on the surface. One thing to consider is that the shad are often small this time of year, and sometimes it pays to downsize your baits slightly to better match what the fish are eating.

  2. Crankbaits

    The crankbait is a great lure for all seasons but is excellent during the latter part of the year. They can be fished quickly to cover ground as you search for active fish, and like topwaters, they do a great job of imitating baitfish.

    One of the best crankbaits to fish this time of year is the squarebill, which can be crashed into cover like rocks and wood and trigger bites from shallow bass. Another good option is baits that dive slightly deeper, like those that will hit depths of less than 12 feet of water. In these diving depths, the Ima Pinjack, Rapala DT-6, DT-10, and Bill Lewis MR-6 or MR-12 in shad patterns are excellent choices.

  3. Jerkbaits

    A jerkbait is deadly in the winter and pre-spawn, but don't overlook them later in the year when bass feed heavily on baitfish.
    A jerkbait is deadly in the winter and pre-spawn, but don't overlook them later in the year when bass feed heavily on baitfish.

    One of the best ways to imitate a dying baitfish is with a jerkbait as the darting, erratic action looks just like a struggling fish. They can be fished at several speeds, and you can give the bait varying timed pauses to trigger bites. Some days, the bass will react better to a faster retrieve, and some days requires more patience as you work the bait slower with longer pauses.

    Jerkbaits come in many great colors, and some excellent ones are on the market, including the Berkley Stunna, Jackall Rerange, and Megabass Vision 110. These premium baits cast very well and will suspend perfectly when you pause the bait during the retrieve.

  4. Soft Jerkbaits

    Instead of the hard plastic jerkbaits, going with a soft jerkbait like a Zoom Fluke is a great idea this time of year. If you are trying to imitate baitfish, a soft jerkbait is an excellent option. They can be rigged either with a standard worm hook or a weighted hook to allow the bait to get deeper.

    Many baitfish colors are available, but a standard pearl white is a simple yet effective option for fall bass fishing. The standard 5-inch size is excellent, but feel free to downsize to the smaller versions when fishing this fall.

  5. Spinnerbaits 

    Adding a trailer hook will help you land more bass on a spinnerbait.
    Adding a trailer hook will help you land more bass on a spinnerbait.

    Another excellent baitfish imitator, the spinnerbait, has been relegated in some anglers' arsenals in recent years with the popularity of baits like the ChatterBait and swimbait, but they still produce. A white or shad-colored spinnerbait is an excellent choice for this time of year, and paired with silver willow blades, you have the perfect shad-imitating bait.

    These baits excel because they can be fished around just about any cover, and come through wood and rocks relatively well, and can trigger bites for bass hiding in those areas. If the bass are short-striking and not engulfing the bait, try adding a trailer hook for a little more insurance that you will land that fish. The downside of adding a trailer hook is that it will snag more, but the tradeoff can be worth it.

  6. Drop-Shot Rig

    The drop-shot makes the fall list, but it could easily make a top list for any month and season because it's versatile and effective. During the fall months, bass can sometimes be finicky, so a finesse approach is needed on some days. The great thing about a drop-shot is that it also catches more aggressive fish, and there are ways to fish it faster to appeal to bass in a feeding mood.

    Compared to other seasons, one slight adjustment during the fall is choosing soft plastics that imitate baitfish to rig on your drop-shot rig that imitates baitfish. This includes more baitfish hues to match shad and adding small fluke-style baits that fit the profile of a baitfish. You can also use small swimbaits on a drop-shot and fish them faster. It gives the same look as a swimbait rigged on a jighead, but the drop-shot rig always keeps the bait at the same level from the weight as you retrieve it along the bottom.

One of the great things about fishing during the fall is that fishing can be exceptional when you find the fish. They are usually around baitfish, and these six lures will serve you well as you prepare for the fall feeding frenzy.