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Use Topwater Lures for Late Fall Schooling Fish

Don’t put away those surface lures yet. When conditions are right, the lures can prove critical to late fall bass catching success.

Late in the fall, as the cold fronts begin to blow in, anglers often shelve their favorite topwater lures for bottom-contact baits. Don’t be this person, though. Keep throwing those topwaters for the right situations! In our blog today, we will break down three key lures and presentations to keep them honest during this awesome time of year!

To start, I would like to identify the proper conditions I look for to employ topwater lures during the late fall. This being light to no wind, and a water temp of 55-70 degrees. This is the magic time period!

  1. The Slick Calm Secret Lure
bass on Boy Howdybass on Boy Howdy

Slick calm in the fall with ultra-clear water calls for an ultra-realistic lure and presentation. For these situations I draw upon my trusty friend, the Cotton Cordell Tail Weighted Boy Howdy! This odd-looking stick bait features a slender profile with a lead weight on the end to cause it to sit tail-down in the water and has an action perfect for still water. With every pop of the rod tip this lure darts quickly forward and returns back to its tail down posture, unlike any topwater lure on the market. This action is perfect for offshore spots such as brush piles, points or humps near the mouths of creeks where you have seen bass breaking or see balls of shad rising near the surface. It might seem odd at first glance but give this bad boy a chunk the next time you are in this situation!

  1. Small Stature Needed

In the fall on some lakes, you can notice an overabundance of baitfish. It might seem like bass are busting shad all around you but won’t touch a lure you throw at them! It’s beyond frustrating but we can rest assure there is a remedy for this overabundance of bait – simply downsize! I recommend two options for this, the Heddon Zara Puppy walking bait and the Rebel Teeny Pop-R popping style topwater. The Zara Puppy works excellently for casting into schooling bass that would otherwise not touch a lure because it resembles such an easy meal for them! The Teeny Pop-R works great for combing shallow cover like laydown trees near the bank when other similar lures won’t get the nod. Simply present these lures on lighter tackle, such as spinning equipment, and thank me later!

  1. When They are W-A-A-A-Y Over There

This is the situation that befuddled me on my latest trip. Bass were busting shad, but they seemed to always be a bit farther than I could reach. I would get on the trolling motor for them to move just slightly out of frame once again. Finally, I sat down in my boat and rigged up my long casting system! This consisted of pulling out my 7’6 Carolina rig rod and swapping the reel with my topwater set up that had braided line spooled to it and tying on a Cotton Cordell 4 1/2-inch Pencil Popper. With this set-up I could cast the line off my reel and reach these spooky bass. It makes it a little harder to work the Pencil Popper, but it still worked excellently on the quick moving schoolers that rarely see a topwater lure close up.