Early fall bass fishing is often frustrating, but that’s all history now. We have now entered the late fall, and the bass are indulging on their famous feeding binge. On natural lakes in northern states, this time is limited and precious. It will not be much longer until the lakes freeze over for 2-5 months. So now is the time for late fall fishing on natural lakes.
Late Fall Fishing on Natural Lakes
When it comes to late fall fishing on natural lakes, the cooler the water, the better the bite. As the temperature dips below 50 degrees, the bass school up into tight schools offering outstanding fishing. Admittedly, finding the school of fish can be like a needle in a haystack. However once you find that needle, it can quickly turn into a banner day. Bass enthusiast and competitor Kerry Frey from Middlebury, Indiana, knows this well. The bass know that winter is coming soon, so they must eat.
In his state the late fall bite only lasts 4 weeks or even less. He wastes no time on the water, “I spend lots of time idling around the lake looking at the sonar to find the bait. Lots of other anglers do not do this, but I believe it is a waste of time blind casting. When I cast, I know the fish are there, so I maximize my time.”
Four Baits for Late Fall Fishing on Natural Lakes
Frey relies heavily on four baits once the water gets below 50 degrees. But he cautions that he lets the fish dictate which of the baits to throw the most. He says, “I am not stubborn. They may react well one day to one bait, and ignore it the next. If that’s the case, I rotate through these until I determine which they want.”
“Without a doubt, the blade bait is my top pick.” Blade baits work at any depth, but their optimal depth is between 10-30 feet of water. “My favorite is a ½ ounce Damiki Vault. Once it settles to the bottom, I raise the rod up from 10-12 o’clock, or until I begin feeling it vibrate off the bottom. Once I begin feeling the vibration, I let if fall back down, and repeat that until it gets back to the boat.”
“There are lots of different leadhead jigs to put these on, but the last two years I have been putting it on a swinghead more than the others.” Green pumpkin is a color he claims works everywhere. He has also noticed that dipping a small portion of the tail in chartreuse dye will trigger more strikes. “The action is easy: just drag it along the bottom and pop it loose when it hits some weeds.” More times than not, he uses a ¼ ounce weight, but adds, “Always use the lightest weight possible.”
We discussed a common practice in a recent Megaware blog article, Using Lipless Crankbaits During Fall for Bass. Lipless crankbaits often get ignored by anglers when the water temperature dips below 50. But according to Frey, that’s a mistake. “The key to me is the retrieve. Instead of a steady retrieve, I will ‘yo-yo’ it back to the boat. When the temperature is above 50, I’ll use a standard retrieve or even burn it back to the boat. But this time of year, the yo-yo is the ticket.”
“Many anglers do not realize how deep you can fish these,” Frey reveals. “It is great all year in 10 feet and shallower. But when the fish school up deep this time of year, a slow retrieve along the bottom can be awesome!” On a Northern Indiana lake November 1, 2018, Frey put together a limit of largemouth that weighed over 29 pounds!
“The key is the steady retrieve, but also the trailer – a Yamamoto Zako.” In water deeper than 10 feet, he uses a ¾ ounce bait. Anything shallower and he uses a ½ ounce.
Mother Nature does not give up her treasures easily, and the fall is no exception. However, if you’re an angler that can bear the cold, you can be blessed with a day of fishing unparalleled to other times of the year. And, not to mention, you’ll be amazed how quickly one can warm up when a fish is tugging back.
But before you head out on the water for some late fall fishing on natural lakes, warm up your boat with our line of Megaware products. Protect your investment with a keelguard, skegguard and more. You can find all Megaware products online, or at major retailers nationwide.