1. Features of late fall bass fishing
The beginning of fall sparked a season of heavy foraging for bass, who were highly active and chasing baitfish and crustaceans. Late fall, however, is the time when the bass's ravenous eating habits gradually subside. In this part of the season, it can be difficult to catch bass, as if the early fall season was just a tease. In order to prepare for winter, bass that have been searching for food regardless of individual preferences will gradually move to areas more suitable for wintering, due to changes in air and water temperatures. Therefore, bass fishing in late fall becomes more difficult due to this temperature migration, combined with the sudden decline in the number of fish looking for food. Fish numbers drop off because migration begins with the smaller fish that don’t have the physical strength to withstand the cold, with the medium and large individuals migrating in stages. Based on these late fall movements, let's determine the location of the bass during this challenging period, and what lures can be used to entice strikes.
2. Late fall bass location
In late fall, small individuals begin to gradually migrate to places suitable for wintering. Small individuals move to deeper areas where the water temperature is stable. Medium and large individuals are still looking for food for winter while anticipating sudden changes in water temperature, so they settle on gentle terrain drops and structures such as grassy and hard bottoms that protect them from cold water. Therefore, it’s better to search for bass in deeper areas where the water temperature is still relatively stable at this time of year, or look to gentle terrain drops and deeper structures. Although it depends on the type and size of the lake, it’s a good rule of thumb to pick an area to attack based on the water temperature. When the water temperature drops below 15°C, the lake transitions to “late fall” mode. In the case of ponds, when the water temperature reaches around 13°C, the bass start moving deep for overwintering, and when the temperature drops below 10°C, they are completely in winter mode. Therefore, in lakes or ponds where the water temperature is around 13°C, the bass are just starting to move toward late fall, so we attack the gentle terrain and around deeper structures, and in areas where the water temperature is less than 10°C, the deep area where the number of bass entering winter mode is increasing is your new target.
A. Gentle terrain drops and structures
The water temperature gradually starts to drop along with the air temperature, and bass settle around gentle terrain drops and deeper structures that offer them warmer water. While anticipating sudden changes in water temperature, bass still need to find food to survive the winter. A gentle, sloping terrain makes it easier for the fish to move up and down from shallow to deep areas, depending on temperature and sunlight. Any structure helps to shield the bass from the colder water. In late fall, it’s easier to catch fish if you’re aware of changes in the topography of the area, where the structure is, and that the water transparency increases as the fall deepens (bass eyes also improve).
Regarding the selection of lures, remember that medium to large fish are still hunting for food to survive the winter. They can still be caught using certain lures: For example, you can target these big bass with a rubber jig attached to a trailer with a volume like Nories ‘Big Escape Twin’, and use it to tempt bass around structure. Or using suspending minnows such as the Megabass ‘Oneten’ series is also recommended.
For bass that are in highly transparent water and do not respond to traditional minnows, we recommend flat side cranks such as the EVERGREEN ‘Flat Force’ and Megabass ‘Flap Slap’, which are standards in low water temperatures. Crankbait such as the JACKALL ‘Soul Shad’ series, are also a good ‘go to’ lure.
If the field is slightly muddy, spinnerbaits such as the EVERGREEN ‘D zone’ with a trailer can induce strikes with a slow retrieve.
B. Deep area
Because bass need to avoid the cold wind and water, and water temperatures deep are stable, bass migrate from shallow to deep areas beginning in late fall. Regardless of size, fish begin to be conscious of winter and slow down due to the cold, so it is a good idea to select lures that can be retrieved slowly as well, to fool even reluctant bass.
For example, if you want to fish slow, you can use a spinner bait like DEPS ‘B Custom’ 3/4oz, which has a heavy weight and can also handle dead slow retrieves. Another great option is the Megabass ‘SV-3’ 3/4oz, a spinnerbait which has a compact silhouette that can make even lethargic bass take a bite.
The IMAKATSU ‘Bacurato swimmer’ or ‘Stealth Swimmer’ with a Heavyweight Jig Head (sold separately: IK-851 STEALTH Swimmer Gig Head Full TG Magnum Heavy 21g) will be effective if you want to combine stronger water pushing and increased action that dives deeper than a spinnerbait.
When aiming for bass that are clinging tight to obstacles such as rocks in deep water, the deep crank that can regain its posture after it hits an obstacle is also indispensable during this season. For this reason, we recommend the Megabass ‘DEEP-X 300’, ‘DEEP-SIX’, the IMAKATSU ‘IK-800R2’, and the JACKALL ‘Diggle’ (3+/4+/5+ depending on the diving depth). Also, when it doesn't react to the scroll, a rubber jig with a trailer with a slowed down retrieve is also effective.