Using Baitfish Behavior to Catch Fall Bass

Fishing the Fall Transition by Following the Baitfish


Fall 2019

Bass regurgitated sculpin as it came into the boat

Piece of crawfish found in livewell

moving higher up in the water column and then scatter as the sun rose. However, as the water temperature starts dropping, their behavior changes. This is the time when the shad will school up and move to structure, closer to deeper water.

Schooling baitfish are best found with electronics. This means, the better you are at reading your electronics, the better you’re going to do this time of year.

By utilizing electronics, you can typically find the baitfish by seeking out the rock structures. Even small piles, the size of a hood of a car, can hold bait and therefore attract bass.

TIP: Focus on each hard-bottom spot more than one. Each one can be visited multiples times in a day. Even if you clear it out, you will find that fish will just keep returning to feed, because the crawdads or sculpin are using that location for their shelter.


Like bass, baitfish change with the conditions; so, as an angler you must be ready to quickly react to the baitfish movement in the transition time.

Each day should be fished according to the day’s conditions and even that can change morning to afternoon or evening.

A clear water day usually puts the bait very close to the bottom.

On the contrary, like my good friend Dee Thomas has told me, if there is stain to the water and overcast conditions it definitely provokes the bait and the bass to be more reckless. Less inhibited bass translates into more reaction strikes, more chasers and more action from followers.