As the summer comes to a close there’s one thing a lot of us outdoorsmen look forward to… big fall bass. As water temps begin to cool and fish begin to forage in preparation for winter, some exciting angling opportunities arise.
Fishing heavy cover, deep water and dock hopping can all produce big fish during the fall — you just need to match the bait. Our top 11 list covers all of our favorite approaches to targeting fall bass at every part of the water column.
To find success with big pre-winter, foraging fish you need to get as close as you can to what they’re eating. Shad, perch, chubs and even bluegill patterns are all great go-tos depending on where you’re fishing. If you don’t know what the bass are feeding on, fishing a white or chrome colored bait fish pattern is typically a good place to start. Fishing more flashy colored patterns like gold, orange and chartreuse can be a good move in more turbid or muddy water with low clarity.
Fishing heavy vegetation and wood cover can bring up a lot of fish during the fall as well — check out some of our top water options and don’t forget to toss some sinking, weedless rubber worms. Rock piles and vegetation often hold heat better than surrounding structure so you’ll find bait and therefore monster bass hanging out in these areas.
For those looking to find the real big boys, size matters. Big bass eat big bait so try tossing some serious tackle from your meat locker. Swimbaits and larger sized deep diving lures and jerkbaits can entice some BIG fish — especially when you discover what they’re eating and know which color pattern to throw.
I prefer to fish tackle from respected brands because they’re held to high standards, practice good quality control with their products and always use nice hooks. Rapala, Yo-Zuri and Strike King are a few of my trusted go tos to name a few. Cheap, knock off tackle will catch fish, but it’s worth spending a few extra bucks on the real deal for lures that swim better, cast farther and last longer.
Whatever kind of water you’re fishing there’s some solid gear choices here for you. We’ve included a bit of everything in this list so you can target bass in every angling context. Give your tackle box the boost it needs this fall and catch some photo-worthy fish!
What are the best Fall Bass Lures?
- Most Reliable Rapala: Rapala Husky Jerk 08 | Check it out on Amazon – $4.19 – $16.24
- Best Suspending, Segmented Lure: Rapala Jointed Shad Rap 05 | Check it out on Amazon – $5.79 – $15.67
- Best Jerkbait: Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 | Check it out on Amazon – $8.97 – $13.49
- Most Versatile Rapala: Rapala Deep Tail Dancer 09 | Check it out on Amazon – $10.99
- Best Deep Diving Minnow: Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver | Check it out on Amazon – $12.95 – $18.84
- Best Popper: Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Popper | Check it out on Amazon – $8.99
- Best Value Swimbait: BOMSO 6 Segment, 5 Inch Swimbait | Check it out on Amazon – $9.99
- Best Deep Water Rubber Worm: Yamamoto Senko Bait | Check it out on Amazon – $5.90 – $11.00
- Best Weedless Rubber Worm: PowerBait Power Worms | Check it out on Amazon – $4.99
- Best Spinnerbait: BOOYAH Pond Magic Spinnerbait | Check it out on Amazon – starting at $3.99
- Best Jig For Heavy Cover: Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Jig | Check it out on Amazon – $7.69
1. Rapala Husky Jerk 08 – $4.19 – $16.24
Here’s a classic lure from renowned outfitter, Rapala. The Husky Jerk is a long casting, suspending jerkbait that can be fished at any speed. It’s a versatile lure that’s great for both trolling and casting around cover. The retrieve is straight and the lure is highly balanced, so try fishing it with and without some aggressive action.
The 08 size is 3 1/8 inches long and runs from four to six feet deep. It’s a fairly large jerkbait that will definitely entice some bigger fish. The rattle chamber draws some added attention to the Husky Jerk so you can convince those sitting bass to come play.
There’s a TON of colors and patterns available here so you’ll have no issue finding whats right for your home water. Perch patterns always produce fish and I’ve personally become a big fan of the Glass Minnow pattern as well. Definitely a tried and true choice of ammo from Rapala.
2. Rapala Jointed Shad Rap 05 – $5.79 – $15.67
Here’s a smaller sized suspending lure from Rapala that runs a bit deeper than the Husky Jerk. The 05 size Jointed Shad Rap is a two inch, segmented deep diver that runs from six to thirteen feet. It’s smaller size might be in better alignment with your local bait, and segmented lures are always good to have in your box regardless.
Try fishing it real slowly off drop offs and abrupt shelves where it might be perceived as an injured bait fish breaking from cover. The lip on the Shad Rap makes it dive very quickly, so try playing around with areas that have abrupt changes in depth. There’s a rattle built in to this lure as well so it calls some extra attention to itself.
Like the Husky Jerk, there’s no shortage of color patterns available — snag a few different options and see what produces the most bites on your water.
3. Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 – $8.97 – $13.49
The X-Rap is no doubt a crowd favorite, and for good reason. This jerkbait has a seriously awesome slashing action that’s sometimes the only thing that moves picky bass. This is a versatile option that can be retrieved like a classic wobbling Rapala or given some aggressive action.
Don’t be surprised if you hook all sorts of species with this one, the X-Rap is tough for any fish to resist. I prefer fishing the larger size class of this lure when targeting bass for this reason.
The XR10 is four inches and runs from four to six feet and suspends when paused. This is a bigger lure for bigger fish. I love retrieving this lure with some viscous slashes with some quick intermittent stops in the mix. If you really wanna make a scene in front of difficult to tempt bass this is a great choice.
Rapala has built the X-Rap with an internal long cast system, and it really does cast nicely. For shore fishing and casting on big water this is a lure that cuts wind nicely and really gets out there.
The textured holographic body, 3D holographic eyes, black nickel hooks and flash feather teaser tail are all righteous features that set this bad boy apart from a lot of the other comparable slashbaits. Rapala has really paid attention to detail with this one, and you’ll realize the difference!
4. Rapala Deep Tail Dancer 09 – $10.99
The Tail Dancer is my all time favorite Rapala. It seems to be a lesser known lure (at least in my neck of the woods) that’s deserving of a lot more clout. The wide tail swimming action has season after season produced a ton of bites for me in almost every setting.
This is a balsa wood lure body with an internal rattle. It’s a classic approach to lure fishing that’s worked well forever! Your tackle box will be full of Tail Dancers after fishing one if you’re not already familiar with this model.
The Deep Tail Dancer in the 09 size is 3.5 inches long and runs up to a seriously impressive 30 feet! This meat torpedo will reach the bottom unassisted and get in front of those cold water seeking monsters during the early fall. For those trying to get waaay down this is a really productive lure that’s more exciting to fish than jigs and rubber baits.
Definitely another winner from Rapala worth having on hand.
5. Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver – $12.95 – $18.84
Here’s a different style deep diver from Yo-Zuri. The Crystal 3D Minnow Deep Diver might not dive nearly as deep as the Tail Dancer previously listed, but it still gets down there up to 13 feet.
This lure is a great trolling option that has a particularly tight wiggle to make it appear as a foraging bait fish. It’s also a nice casing lure for slow retrieves and some stop and go action.
I really love the color patterns Yo-Zuri has come up with for their Crystal Minnow Series in general. Striking UV colors and translucent patterns are designed to reflect as much subsurface light as possible so this snack is highly visible even in the lowest light. I’m personally a big fan of the Sardine pattern pictured above as well as their Tennessee Shad option.
6. Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Popper – $8.99
You gotta have some top water gear in your tackle box. There’s nothing more fun than when there’s aggressive bass biting on surface. I always try tossing a classic style popper in the lower light before sunrise and after sunset to see if I can’t provoke a top water smash.
I love the pattern on this wide cupped mouth popper option from Yo-Zuri. The internal 3D prism finish is really effectively flashy and the neutral ghost shad color is ideal for low light scenarios.
This is a 2 3/4 inch popper, so it’s medium size as far as freshwater topwater goes. This unit is built with saltwater grade split rings and hooks so you’ll fish with it for years assuming a ten pounder doesn’t obliterate it on surface and keep it forever.
For a slightly smaller popper that might provoke more eats from smaller sized bass try this classic option from Rebel. For a big and sloppy topwater snack try tossing some larger options like the Yo-Zuri Bull Pop or a classic black Jitterbug.
7. BOMSO 6 Segment, 5 Inch Swimbait – $9.99
Fishing swimbaits is a sure way to target enormous bass. The biggest and meanest fish are the only ones willing to smash five inch plus, segmented meat torpedos. Bites might be far and few between when fishing tackle of this style, but if you’re targeting the lunkers and want to exclude smaller fish this is a great go to.
BOMSO makes a really great value swimbait. It’s not uncommon to see lures like this priced closer to $20, so this unit is really a steal. It can be fished from 1 to 10 feet depending on retrieve and is offered in five different color patterns.
Considering its five inches long, I would absolutely recommend tossing the trout patterns in water bodies where there’s stocked trout. Big largemouth are of course known to inhale smaller sized trout upon being stocked — keep an eye on your district’s stocking schedule and give the local bass what they want!
Another great looking swimbait option worth trying is this eight inch eel made by BlitzBite. Don’t hesitate to try using a panfish swimbait if that’s what the bass are dialed in on — remember it’s all about matching the bait.
8. Yamamoto Senko Bait – $5.90 – $11.00
When in doubt, toss a Gary Yamamoto. Slow sinking these rubber baits Texas rigged on a 3/0 sized Gamakatsu hook is an almost fool proof approach to bass fishing. When the fish are being particularly picky it’s always wise to try dropping a Yamamoto right in their face.
Fishing these worms wacky style also moves a lot of fish. Some of my personal best largemouth have been caught off the bottom fishing a wacky worm. Consider using a slightly smaller circle hook when fishing wacky style to try and minimize gut hooking fish. Using wacky o-rings to firmly secure your worm to your hook is also a wise decision that greatly reduces the amount of worms you cast off and lose to fish.
With weedless and open water options to fish this rubber worm, there’s nowhere you can’t try tossing it. Definitely a versatile and highly productive bass weapon.
It’s worth having an assortment of colors when it comes to rubber baits in general — it always seems like there’s a “color of the day” worth pinning down whenever I try fishing them.
Rubber baits if lost are not healthy for any body of water and many species of fish have been known to ingest discarded worms off the bottom. Be a mindful angler and always keep an eye on your rubber baits to minimize your impact on the fishing spaces you (and others) love.
9. PowerBait Power Worms – $4.99
Try fishing this style rubber worm in heavy vegetation and cover. The Power Worm is perhaps the most fun way to fish the remaining lily pads in early fall and does great over rock piles as well. Rigging this style worm up weedless enables you to slide through dense structure and move those hard to reach fish.
Most bites occur on the drop, but bouncing these worms off the bottom can be super productive as well. Even a slow stop and go retrieve can earn big bass because of the tantalizing action of the tail.
Try the 10 inch option if you want to target the big boys and the 7 inch size for bass of all sizes. Pumpkinseed, motor oil and all the other darker colored colors seem to work the most consistently. The black body with chartreuse tail is of course another renowned crowd favorite.
10. BOOYAH Pond Magic Spinnerbait – starting at $3.99
You have to have a few spinnerbaits on hand. BOOYAH’s Pond Magic Spinnerbait is a tasty, small little snack that fall bass will have a hard time turning down. This is a smaller sized spinner bait (3/16 ounce) that won’t intimidate even bass in the lower size classes.
There’s an awesome array of color choices so you can snag a few and see what produces the most fish on your home water bodies.
The 60 strand ultra fine silicone skirt is designed to hold up well in the long term through some heavy fishing. The mustard ultra point hook is also built to have a long lifespan. Considering the low cost of these spinnerbaits and quality of construction I find them to be one of the best value fall bass lures out there.
11. Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Jig – $7.69
Here’s one more option for fishing down low in the water column. The Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Jig is a righteous option for bouncing a bait off any type of bottom. The heavy weed guard on this jig enables it to be pulled through some seriously thick vegetation and structure without issue which can produce some otherwise unreachable fish.
There’s a huge array of color choices and sizes available so you can really fine tune your approach. I have a lot of luck fishing the larger sized Strike Kings in deep, open water and do killer in the weeds with the smaller sized jigs.
Some of the heavier sizes are best fished on braid or heavy Flouro so you can really get some response from your jig.
This unit is built with a Gamakatsu black nickel heavy wire hook so there’s been no corners cut in terms of quality. It’s a well designed jig style that you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again.
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