We’re approaching the fall fishing season, and many largemouth bass anglers await its coming with great anticipation. Why? Because bass do lots of the same things they do in the spring without the spawning activity. Their movements are largely triggered by the movements of threadfin shad, one of their favorite foods, and when shad head up in creeks and into shallow water, they follow.
“I watch for shad swimming off the banks in the fall,” said bass pro Dustin Wilks of Rocky Mount. “When I see shad swimming just under the surface near the shoreline, I throw a white spinnerbait right behind them and crank it back to me. You better hang on because a good bass might bass slam it.”
But another standby lure that’s overlooked by a lot of fishermen will put plenty of fish in the boat: a casting spoon with a white, soft-plastic trailer.
The Johnson Original Silver Minnow in ½-ounce or lighter is hard to beat for this fishing technique. It won’t sink too quickly, and the plastic trailer will give it added buoyancy.
Trailers can be almost any soft-plastic bait, from a twintail grub to a plastic worm to a fluke – as long as it’s white. Good choices include Mister Twist Poc’it Phenoms or Hang 10, Gambler Flapp’n Shad, Strike King Blade Minnow, Zoom Fluke Stick or Fluke Stick Jr. or Bass Pro Shops Shadee Shad or Ribbontail Worm.
Anglers may also try a simple 4- or 6-inch plastic worm.
I like a white frog threaded onto a Johnson spoon’s single hook. The twin tails swirling give the lure a tremendous action, but be sure to attach a Johnson spoon to the main line through a snap swivel to avoid line twist.
“When I’m fishing for fall bass, I like to see where the shad are runnin’ along the bank, then I cast parallel to the bank,” Wilks said.
It’s also a constructive strategy to cast and retrieve a spoon at stickups or the ends of laydowns. You never know what’ll hit this lure, which is famous for attracting big bass any time of year.