10 Fall Fishing Tips to Boost Your Game
No matter where you are or what type of fishing you enjoy, our 10 fall fishing tips will boost your game.
Catch them all below.
1. Downsize your leaders and if you aren’t already using fluorocarbon leaders, consider making the switch. As temperatures drop, water holds fewer suspended solids, and its clarity increases. As a result, fish are more likely to spot heavier leaders and become line-shy.
2. Watch the weather, particularly for fronts moving through. You’ll often enjoy solid action if you can time your angling endeavors just before a front hitting. Conversely, the fish can be off their feed right after a front moves through.
3. In freshwater fisheries, watch out for fall “turnover” (when water temperatures fall to about 55 degrees, the surface water sinks down, and water down deep mixes upwards). When this occurs, remember that the fish will usually become scattered. This is the time to stay on the move and use tactics that allow you to cover large areas quickly instead of focusing on a few specific hotspots.
4. In saltwater fisheries, research and track baitfish migration patterns. Whether it’s menhaden leaving creeks and rivers or mullet moving through the inlets, many saltwater baitfish are migratory. And you can bet your bottom dollar the predators know it. Find out where and when the bait in your neck of the woods goes on the move, and you’ll know where and when to take your next cast.
5. Try tossing top water. In most fisheries (though there are some exceptions), topwater is at its most effective in the fall months. Besides, who doesn’t love seeing those surface explosions?
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6. As temperatures dip, slow down your presentations. Just when this will be necessary depends on how cold it gets where you’re fishing, but remember that fish are cold-blooded. As temperatures fall, their metabolism slows down, as does the metabolism of the critters they’re eating. So, everything begins happening slower and slower as the temperature drops.
7. Use larger lures and baits. Predator fish are interested in packing on the pounds before winter sets in, and the cooler it gets, the less likely they are to chase after small prey, which may not provide enough calories to make it worth chasing them down.
8. In relatively shallow areas of freshwater, look for weed beds. The weeds will shrink as they get colder and begin dying off. Naturally, any fish that are using them for cover or a hunting ground will be limited to smaller and smaller areas — which means they’re easier for you to find.
9. Look for windblown banks. Although fishing in a breeze can be tough, long periods of breezy fall weather can stack bait up against a windblown bank. Typically, when this occurs, predators aren’t far behind.
10. If your city/town is experiencing a cold front, fish later in the day instead of in the morning. Yes, early mornings often have a hot bite, but when the water is cold for a couple of days in a row, a sunny afternoon may increase water temps a few degrees which can trigger serious action! Rather than hitting the water at daybreak, start fishing at noon, stay out until sunset, and you could be in for a treat.
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With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.