Tips for hooking summer/fall transition bass

The author loves chasing big bass in the fall.  

As both air and water temperatures fall as summer transitions to autumn, bass feeding patterns change.  

Being aware of these changes and being able to modify your techniques can keep you consistently successful as the top feeding time of the year arrives.

Let’s start with some ideas on how bass respond as they prepare to feed more often and more aggressively than they have in months.  

The warm, sometimes hot water in midsummer slows the fish down. It makes them sluggish and lethargic.  

As the water cools when fall approaches, they respond by becoming more active and more receptive to certain bait presentations. 

But where are they now?

In this transition period I like to look for deep weed lines. These weed lines are perfect spots for bait fish to hide.  

Therefore, submerged vegetation and clumps of grass will also hold bass waiting to attack those fry. Whether their targets are young shad, bluegill or even bass fry, weed lines are the key to success.

Now let’s take a look at my 5 favorite bass lures as summer fades into fall. First is the swim jig. Decreasing water temps are perfect for this bait.  

You can choose from a variety of lure colors to match whatever the bass are feeding on where you are fishing. I like to fish swim jigs parallel to the weed line.

These are great baits to experiment with during the day. You may find one color works well early and another, possibly brighter color is better after the sun comes up.  

Do not be afraid to switch at any time. And do not hesitate to change lures entirely, if needed.

Crankbaits are another great transition bait. Choose either bluegill or shad patterns, depending on the local fry.  

Remember that bass live around shoals of baitfish all the time without haphazardly attacking the group. Bass are alpha predators. They look for weak or injured baitfish to chase. Therefore, “ripping” your crankbait is crucial.

By “ripping” I mean occasionally pause your retrieve and jerk the bait, causing an erratic motion. This erratic motion imitates an impaired baitfish.  

The bass key in on these movements and attack instinctively. Again, fishing parallel to weed lines is important.

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This next group of baits are designed to be used around sunrise and then again around sunset.

Topwater lures are deadly this time of year. They all imitate something that bass eat that is injured. My favorite are topwater chug baits.

Chug baits have a concave face and displace lots of water with each jerk. This commotion makes the bass aggressive, as if chasing an injured frog or baitfish.  

These baits are great over submerged vegetation because you can keep them in the strike zone longer on each cast.

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