It’s autumn throughout the Midwest. The leaves on trees are exploding in color, we’re several games into the football season, some of the early migrating species of birds have left, and the fish want to get caught. Autumn is a great time of the year to be on the water catching these fish, and, if you use bigger baits, it’s a great opportunity to catch really big fish. Here’s why fish like bigger baits in the fall along with some ideas for using them.
There are a couple of reasons why big baits are usually more productive in the fall. First, the days are getting shorter and the water temperatures are going down. This seems to signal to the fish that it’s time to put some fat on. The fish seem to prefer eating one large meal instead of several small ones. Eating just once requires less energy than catching several small meals.
Also now, the baitfish that were spawned in the spring are at a larger size, and some baitfish that are fall spawners are more accessible to the predator fish. It seems that the larger predator fish are more interested in eating the size baitfish that is more abundant.
If walleyes or smallmouth are your quarry, you can’t beat a big redtail chub on a Roach Rig. Redtails are expensive, but they’re also pretty tough. You can keep a couple dozen all day if you have them in a good aerated bait container. The Frabill 1404 Personal Bait Station is favored by many anglers. It will keep your redtails healthy all day. If you get on a good bite, you’re going to run out of bait before they show any signs of stress.
If you can’t get redtails, suckers will work too. I like to start with a minnow in the four- to six-inch range. If the bite is on, go bigger and you’ll get bigger bites.
If you’re looking specifically for walleyes, a redtail on a Fire-Ball jig is tough to beat.
If you’re after largemouth and can fish a spinnerbait in the range where the bass are calling home, use a spinnerbait with a big blade, and add a PowerBait or Gulp! trailer to bulk it up even more.
If the bass are deeper or want a slower moving bait, employ a Jungle Jig with a big trailer, something like a seven-inch Power Worm or Gulp! Super Worm. If you’re in big fish water and your goal is the biggest bass you’ve ever caught, try a ten-inch Power Worm on a Texas Rig. You won’t get as many bites as you would with a smaller worm, but when you do get bit, hang on.
When fishing in the fall, there’s lots of opportunity to catch a big one. So, don’t take chances: Make sure you’re using fresh line.
Autumn is a great time to be on the water, and if you use big bait, you’re sure to have a truly memorable fishing experience. Find out for yourself in the next few weeks.