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Catch River Bass Like a Pro: Fred Roumbanis Shares How

When chasing largemouth bass in the summer, most river anglers will attest that the current is your friend, but Major League Fishing professional angler, Fred Roumbanis, claims that fall is a different deal. “I leave the river and head straight for the backwaters.”  

Catch River Bass Like a Pro: Where to Find Them

“The first few cold fronts,” Roumbanis attests, “brings the bait to the backwaters, and the bass follow them in.” 

Cold fronts do not necessarily mean excessive cold. He explains, “The perfect setup is several consecutive nights with temperatures in the mid 30’s and the days warm into the mid 60’s.”

Along with the shorter days, this will drop the water temperature into the 50’s – the ideal temperature for baitfish to arrive and bass to gorge.  

The best backwaters are those with a big population of baitfish. “I won’t make a single cast in a backwater without first finding baitfish,” swears Roumbanis.

“I won’t make a single cast in a backwater without first finding baitfish.”  

Expensive electronics are not necessary to find the bait. “Just look for birds. If blue herons, cormorants, egrets, and other birds are around, bait is too.”  

“Cooler temperatures slow the bait down; they’re more lethargic,” reveals Roumbanis. “This makes them easier targets for bass. Once I know where the bait is, I’ll sling my lures right through them.” 

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Image courtesy of Fred Roumbanis

Roumbanis puts his trolling motor through a workout by keeping it on the move to match the activity of the bass.

“They’re roaming looking for bait. They’re not going to be stuck on structure unless the bait are hanging on it. So during this time I’m covering a bunch of water and making as many casts as possible with lures that match the bait.” 

Catch River Bass Like a Pro: Lures for Fall Largemouth Bass 

Lipless crankbaits are his first choice to match the bait; specifically, an Ima Suspending Vibration Lipless Crankbait. “I helped create this bait, and one of the unique things about it is you can stop it and instead of falling to the bottom, it will suspend.” 

This lure matches a common plug profile, but its ability to suspend allows an uncommon action that fish rarely see.

“I work it like a jerkbait,” he confesses. “It dives 2-feet deep and once I get it down, I sweep my rod.” As a result, the lure combines two popular fall choices by anglers: “It has the profile of a lipless crankbait, sounds like a lipless crankbait, but works like a jerkbait.”  

Roumbanis insists, “Fall fishing is the best time of year to catch bass, and I’m telling you, this works coast to coast.” 

“Fall fishing is the best time of year to catch bass, and I’m telling you, this works coast to coast.” 

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Image courtesy of Fred Roumbanis

Topwater Alternative 

“If clouds are out and the wind is blowing in the afternoon, I will sling a buzzbait around the shore.” Even better if gizzard shad are present.

“Big gizzard shad prefer hard surfaces in the shallows, and big bass will be tailing them. Throwing a buzzbait in these areas can produce the biggest bass in the river.”  

Tackle for Fall Fishing 

Roumbanis matches his Ima Suspending Lipless Crankbait with a Medium Heavy Dobyns 705cb crankbait rod. “It is a parabolic rod, which allows fish to take the bait, but I won’t rip it out of its mouth on the hookset.”

He spools a 6.5 gear ratio Six Gill Wraith reel with 15-pound fluorocarbon line. 

He uses the same reel and line for the buzzbait, but chooses a different Dobyns rod, “The 705cb is a 5-power rod, but for the buzzbait, I prefer a 7-foot Medium action, 3-power rod.” 

“When the night temperatures are consistently dropping into the 20’s, the fall bite fizzles out, but as long as that water stays in the 50’s, there are hordes of big bass waiting to be caught!”  

catch-river-bass-fred-roumbanis
Image courtesy of Fred Roumbanis

Fall fishing is relevant to the region, but Roumbanis claims big numbers of bass can be caught with this technique as long as the water remains in the 50-degree range, “When the night temperatures are consistently dropping into the 20’s, the fall bite fizzles out, but as long as that water stays in the 50’s, there are hordes of big bass waiting to be caught!”  

You can find Fred on Facebook, Instagram and his website.

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