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Fall Bronzebacks

By Josh Teigen - October 1, 2014
As Midwestern waters start to cool down, the fishing tends to get hotter for all species of fish. Muskies and walleyes get most of the attention from anglers this time of year but the one species that is often overlooked is the smallmouth bass. These hard-fighting bronzebacks know winter is coming soon and they need to start gorging in order to fatten up before the water turns hard. This can make for one of the best bites of the year.
Once October hits, water temps drop considerably and weeds start dying. When this occurs baitfish vacate the area and move to other structures including rocks, timber, and steep break lines making them easy targets for hungry bass.

When it comes to catching fall smallies, there are many lure options. Fish move deeper as the water cools and therefore a lure that gets down fast and stays deep on the retrieve is essential.

The Echotail fits this bill perfectly. This blade bait/soft plastic combo is one of the most versatile lures on the market and one of my favorites for smallmouth. My technique is to bomb cast the lure, let it sink to the bottom, and "rip jig" back to the boat. The vibration of the lure and the swimming action of the Kalin's Grub is irresistible to these fish.

When fishing ten to fifteen feet of water I like to use either the 1/4 or ½ oz Echotail while I upsize to the 1 ounce in deeper water. Bright colors usually work best for me in the fall (even in clear water) and the fire tiger Echotail is one of my favorites. Another great thing about the Echotail is you can switch plastics on the back until you find the perfect color combination the fish want. Scented products have also produce some nice results as well.

Another great technique in the fall is to vertically jig deep break lines. Ride the contours and try and keep your line as vertical as possible. Jig the lure up and down off the bottom so it vibrates and then falls. When the lure starts to drop and flutter is usually when smallies crush it - hold on tight because when you go to jig up again it will feel like you're setting into a brick wall.

Another deadly lure for smallies this time of year is the Kastmaster Spoons because of its perfect flutter on the drop. I prefer a 1 oz gold Kastmaster and work them the same as I would an Echotail. Again, either cast out and "rip jig" back to the boat or vertical jig them on breaks. If you see your line jump, reel up your slack as fast as possible and hookset to the skies.

Make time this fall to get out fishing for smallies-it might just be the best trip of the year! See you on the water.

Josh Teigen
Josh has been a fisherman his entire life, and is now guiding professionally on a variety of lakes in Bayfield & Douglas counties. He's guided hundreds of successful fishing trips all over Northwest Wisconsin, and loves helping people get the most out of their fishing time and budget.
Phone: 715-372-8651 / Cell: 715-813-0575 /
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