No matter where you fish for smallmouth bass the fall is probably the best season of the year for catching not only numbers of bass, but trophy sized smallmouth bass as well. One of the main keys to fall smallmouth bass fishing is that the baits that are effective will vary from the other seasons. The most effective smallmouth baits in seasons such as the spring and summer mimic crayfish in some way shape or form, but during the fall crayfish patters will be much less effective that at these other times. Why is this the case? Because on most bodies of water, as the water temperatures drop (which obviously happens during the fall) so do crayfish populations and thus crayfish patterns aren’t as effective as they are during the spring and summer.
The next thing that needs to be remembered about fall smallmouth bass fishing is that your baits should be up sized. While you might employ a 2-3 inch walking bait or small 2-3 inch soft plastic tube bait during the spring and summer season, during the fall the sizes should be up sized to 4-6 inches in both cases.
I like to use larger baits during the fall for a couple of reasons. First, during the fall the colder water temperatures trigger the fishes’ metabolism to “stock up” on food before the upcoming freezing temperatures when the small mouths’ metabolism slows considerably and second because of the old adage, “bigger baits equals bigger fish”. Large smallmouth are ‘cruising’ around looking for big meals in the fall and by using larger baits, you are much more likely to hook into a trophy sized smallmouth.
The same rule of up sizing you bait also holds true for live bait fishermen. As you are probably aware, live baits such as minnows, leeches, and fishing worms are all very effective baits to use when fishing for smallmouth bass. Well, when you are fishing for smallmouth bass during the fall this rule continues to hold true. So for example, if you are using live worms as bait during the spring and summer you will use a red worm or mini night crawler. Well, during the fall you probably want to up size your live worms and use a regular night crawler. The point is that whatever bait you choose to use, it’s a good idea to make the bait a little larger than normal when you are fishing for fall smallmouth.
Finally, this is a good time all year long, but is especially true when you are fishing for fall smallmouth. Try to plan your fishing trips so that they coincide with a new moon and/or the moon rise/set for the day you are going to be fishing. Small mouth will be more active during these times and thus more apt to bite whatever it is that you are offering them. Keep these simple tips in mind the next time that you head out in search of fall smallmouth bass and you experience much more success on the water.