“Fall can be good and bad; you’ll see a lot of activity with them schooling, but it can be frustrating trying to get them to bite,” said Elite angler Logan. “One thing you can do with swim jigs is change the trailer; downsize or try a different action.
“From a color standpoint, you can go (counter to the norms). Obviously, they’re feeding on shad, so you might throw a black one or a green pumpkin. Or, you can throw a translucent color where they can’t really get a good look at it.”
Before delving into presentation strategies, let’s consider Logan’s thoughts on the fall baitfish parade.
Stars of the show
Through the year’s end, southern fisheries will find largemouth bass munching plenty of bream, crawfish and inattentive frogs. However, the smart money leverages the seasonal baitfish march.
“Basically, you have to follow the shad; it’s clicheed to say, but that’s what the fish are following,” Logan said. “Sometimes in the fall, you might find a certain area where the shad’s so thick you can walk on ‘em. I don’t like as much as places with fewer shad.
“I feel like you have a better opportunity for the fish commit to your bait than the areas with (numerous) shad swimming around.”
Worth noting, Logan said fall can present deceptive looks, so it’s important to give each area you consider more than a cursory evaluation.
“You may get into an area that doesn’t look like there’s a lot of bait, but there’s just enough to have a group of fish in there. You might have a better chance of actually catching those, whereas your other areas might have a lot of fish but you can’t them to commit to anything.”
While fall offers numerous scenarios for picking off shad-focused bass, grass edges are one of the most strategic. Biggest reason: Fragmentation. The year’s third quarter finds many of the dense grass beds that flourished through summer thinning with the seasonal cooling.
Solid grass edges become increasingly uneven, as the random withering leaves isolated clumps. These sporadic clusters of hydrilla or milfoil hold a diminishing supply of the algae baitfish nibble, while hopping from one little island to the next in a game of musical chairs.