One of the mistakes some anglers commit involves looking for bass in the fall in the same places they were in during the summer months. Bass that stayed close to certain weed beds will abandon these spots once the weeds begin to die. The reason for this is that dying weeds use up oxygen rather than release it, as algae moves in during the process. Most bass will vacate such a weed bed and head to a different part of the lake or pond.
Bass will stay where weeds survive and stay green until the beginning of the winter. However, the fish will not swim deep into the weeds as they did in the hot weather to avoid the sun. In the fall, bass around still-living weeds will stay on the outer fringe. Bass know to fatten up for the winter by eating heavily in the fall, and this is where they can find the easiest meals in small baitfish.
Early Autumn Wading
Before the cool nights and 60-degree days make going into a shallow river too dicey, wade into the water and catch both smallmouth and largemouth bass in the early fall. Night crawlers on a No. 6 hook rigged with a single large split shot to keep the bait down in the water should work. By walking in the midst of the river and casting into the shady areas near both shores, an angler will have chance after chance at bass. Large grubs hooked through the head and the rear so that they are in the shape of a ball will turn on smallmouth bass. Largemouths will be in the slowest-moving waters in these settings and gladly will take a night crawler.
The water temperature in New England drops in the fall, and this will directly influence where the angler will locate bass. Lily pads tend to grow in spots where the bottom of a pond or lake is darker. These areas in a body of water will absorb heat more readily and cause the water in the vicinity to be a little warmer. When the overall temperatures in a lake fall, these lily pad locations will attract bass to the warmer water. The angler can target them with fake plastic frogs and other slowly fished surface lures.
The same lures that work so well in the spring will also work once the fall weather comes and water temperatures cool. The warmest the water gets in a lake or pond is late summer, and when a few cold, fall nights roll in the water will begin to cool. Bass will feed heavily in the shallows, just as they did before spawning in the springtime. At this time, spinnerbaits and crankbaits work equally well.
Late Fall Tactics
As the fall months progress, the deeper water becomes the warmer water and the shallows will have few if any remaining bass in them. The bass will swim into deeper waters and start to display the lethargic behavior that characterizes them during the winter. Jigs and jigging spoons that can make their way into these depths may get a strike, as can a Carolina-rigged plastic worm.