By the time the fall arrives, much of the available forage in a body of water has been used up or died. Minnows and other small fish are the exception and, as a result, bass feed mainly on them. That is why anglers should choose a spinnerbait, which bears a resemblance to such forage items. Shaped like a safety pin, spinnerbaits feature skirts and blades that, when they are moving through the water, make bass believe a potential meal is getting away. Spinnerbaits are a versatile bait that can be used in vegetation, or in water depths ranging from shallow to deep.
Lipless crankbaits also do a good job of imitating baitfish, but one of their best attributes is that anglers can cast them extremely long distances. That is a good feature, considering bass are tightly schooled in the fall and it can take some searching to find them. The most common lipless crankbait is 1/2 of an ounce. Cast it along weed edges or over vegetated flats and pay attention to where bass are when they bite. That can key you in to the location of a school.
Crankbaits are lures that are shaped liked minnows and that feature a hard plastic bill, which allows them to dive down toward the bottom when retrieved. Deep-diving crankbaits are especially useful in the fall for searching for bass along steep-sloping drop-offs. Tie on a crankbait that dives slightly deeper than the depth of water in which you are fishing. When you retrieve the bait, it will make frequent contact with the bottom, which will cause it to swim in an erratic fashion. The bass will see that and believe it is a wounded baitfish.
For a long time, many anglers believed the cool water of fall was the only province of jigs and pigs, which are skirted jigs tipped with a trailer. While anglers have discovered these lures can work all year round, fall is one of the most productive times to fish them. Since the best way to fish jigs and pigs is slowly along the bottom, they are not a good search lure. But if you have located fish with a fast-moving bait, or you are fishing a specific clump of vegetation, for example, jigs and pigs can be an excellent producer. They are primarily known as a bait that attracts big bass, but in truth, bass of all sizes will hit a jig and pig.
Since bass are focused on eating smaller fish during the fall, and since the smaller fish -- especially shad -- often feed near the surface, a topwater bait like a popper or buzzbait can be deadly in the fall. Cast a topwater anytime you find a school of baitfish near the surface of the water. It is a good bet that bass are not far away, so throw your lure into the middle of the school and work it back to the boat in a slow and steady manner.