Fall is a season of change. Depending on what part of the country you’re in, you’ll have hot days that top out in the 90’s and frigid mornings that drop below freezing. Sometimes in the same day!!
What really throws everything off are major cold fronts moving in and shaking up the whole system. It’s true that lower temps can be a major dinner bell for bass moving out of their summer patterns and starting to feed up for winter. However, you’re looking for consistency. A good stretch of three or more days at the same temperature.
In general, bait during the fall is on the smaller side, so you should already be downsizing your baits to begin with. When those gnarly fall cold fronts hit, you should be downsizing EVEN MORE.
Here are two techniques that are PERFECT for fishing during a fall cold front:
Curly Tail Grub and a Light Ball Head
Grubs have been replaced in a lot of tackle boxes by small, paddletail swimbaits, but really they both have a time and a place. Particularly in the fall, a small 3-inch grub in a smoke color, can be an excellent baitfish imitator and cause a vicious reaction, even when the fish are turned off.
In particular, fish something like the Smartbaits Gifted Grub (it has a super unique color changing property built into the bait). Rig it on a ¼ ounce or lighter ball head and slow roll it in those deeper areas adjacent to the mouths of creeks, where bass will be moving in and chasing bait. You can also give it a lift and fall or even a “deadstick” type retrieve which is something that is not as easy to do with a regular paddletail.
Small Swimbait on a Light Underspin
In similar fashion, a small swimbait, something like the Strike King Rage Swimmer, can be a perfect addition to your fall cold front attack. Whereas the curly tail provides more tail action, the paddletail is more subtle. When paired with an underspin, it looks like a couple of baitfish that have strayed from the rest of the school. This is an easy meal that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
Think in terms of 2.5 – 3.5 inch baits. Small meals on light line, with a really light underspin. You can also use a ball head for a more subtle application, but either way, you want to retrieve it very slow and on the bottom. Fish that are all funky after a cold front are not interested in making quick decisions. They want to really look at a bait before they commit.