Most bass anglers know that creeks are the place to be for fall fishing, as hungry fish do their best to round up mouthfuls of shad. However, a random approach usually results in a lot of unproductive time. You don’t have to catch a fish on every cast, but you definitely want to start your day by whittling down the overall scenario with a logical approach.

Your best bet is to cove water with an attention-getting search bait – something that casts well, even on a windy day, and mimics the activity of schooling shad. The Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper fits this plan well with a tail-heavy design that punches your cast far ahead of the boat to reach fish before they notice you.

The popping topwater plug offers a two-tier presentation plan: You can walk the bait for a subtle searching motion, or snap the rod tip to make that concave face grab water and simulate the feeding strikes that will, no doubt, pull other fish to your area.

Keep your eyes open for visible signs of baitfish activity and focus your search casting on likely areas such as creek flats, rocks, wood and docks – any place where shad might gather. Once you draw a few strikes on the Pencil Popper, slow down and work the spot with a Booyah Bankroll Jig and a YUM Christie Critter.