Fishing the Fall Transition by Following the Baitfish

Using Baitfish Behavior to Catch Fall Bass


Fall 2019

Lowrance electronics show fish working bait ball on a deep point in late fall/early winter

You can take advantage of their recklessness with reaction lures, faster moving and larger profile baits.

The more stained the water, the more you can get away with fishing shallower; but the less color there is, the higher the probability a finesse technique will be necessary.


Typically, in clear water situations, the baitfish can usually be found deeper causing the bass to move deeper. The water’s color and/or temperature can easily provoke them to migrate from their shallow summer banks down tapering points or even further into that 30- to 60- foot range.

The deeper holding positions will typically come as the fall sets in heavy and moves closer to a late fall/early winter status.

As the transition takes hold and the air and water temps continue to decline, I stick with vertical presentations, but shift focus to larger profile down baits; transitioning towards 1/2- to 3/4-ounce jigs, big spoons and big tube baits.

It is also a time when you can pick up some big topwater lures like a Zara Spook or wakebait and do some serious damage.


Everything can change on a windy day. Even in the clearest water, the wind stirring can create a mudline that brings the fish shallow very quickly.

The most crucial thing to remember is … what happened yesterday is yesterday.

You may start with what worked yesterday, but don’t get stuck on it. That was my trouble for a long time. The fish will tell you what they want, and they can change their mind fast. If they aren’t biting it means no and no means no! •