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BEST RAPALA BAITS FOR FALL BASS

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Are you ready for some of the best bass fishing of the year? Smallmouth and largemouth bass feed aggressively in autumn and can easily be caught if you know where to find them and use the right lures. Here are 4 of our best baits for fall bass fishing with tips on where and how to fish them.


Shad Rap

Shad Rap


A secret weapon of bass pros, Shad Raps are in their prime in cool and cold water. Their natural baitfish profile and balsa construction deliver a tight-wobbling, lifelike replica of how a baitfish looks and moves in cold water.


We recommend the 2-1/2” SR06 for finessing bites up to the 3-1/2” SR09 when bass are on the chew. Baitfish patterns are must-haves, including Live River Shad, Live Bluegill, Helsinki Shad and Bleeding Pearl. Also carry crawdad and “hot” patterns, too, like Bleeding Chartreuse Shad.


When to fish it

Cast a Shad Rap anytime bass are holding in 5 to 15 feet. For example, retrieving one in and around tributaries is smart because shad and other baitfish often migrate up these inflows in autumn, and bass will move with their prey. Healthy deep vegetation edges are another excellent Shad Rap spot. As are rocky points.


How to fish it

Generally, the colder the water, the slower you should retrieve a Shad Rap. Adding pauses will evoke strikes as it gives bass an easy target.


Line tip: Many of our pros use 8- to 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line for maximum casting distance with a lightweight Shad Rap; however, if fishing around timber, docks and zebra muscles consider stronger 12- to 14-pound Sufix Advance Monofilament.


RipStop

Rip Stop


Jerkbaits are another autumn bass essential. Our RipStop and new RipStop Deep cover the 3 to 8 foot depth range. For going deeper, we suggest the Down Deep Husky Jerk (see section below).


RipStops are the newest addition to our line-up of jerkbaits and feature a hard-ripping and hard-stopping action bass haven’t seen before thanks to the RipStops unique boot tail. The tail’s metallic finish also acts as a visual trigger and stimulates bites.


When to fish it

As summer fades, bass enter a transition period in early autumn. Fish scatter and can be difficult to pattern. Covering water with a RipStop is a good way to find them. Fan cast healthy weed beds and outside weedlines, sand flats and rocky points, tributaries and other locations holding baitfish.


A RipStop is also deadly for catching smallmouth suspending over basin areas feeding on shad, smelt and other pelagic baitfish. The golden rule is to work a lure over their heads, so don’t be shy to jerk a RipStop over 30+ feet of water.


How to fish it

We’ve designed the RipStop to do most of the work for the angler. An example of an early fall retrieve is a quick jerk-pause, jerk-pause, jerk-jerk-jerk-pause cadence. As temperatures drop in October and November, experiment with light rod twitches and slower rod pulls rod instead of hard snaps. On the pause, a RipStop drops its tail and quivers slightly, delivering a unique, subtle action that prompts strikes.


Keep the rod tip pointed down and always work the RipStop with some slack in the line to maximize its action. We suggest fishing it on 10- to 20-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline with a 12- to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader.


Down Deep Husky Jerk

Down Deep Husky Jerk


A smallmouth bass angler’s tackle box should always carry Down Deep Husky Jerks, specifically the DHJ12 with its 8 to 19 foot running depth. Measuring 4-3/4 inches, this suspending bait is a trophy-catcher. Gold, Glass Minnow, Pure Chrome, Purpledescent and Clown are just some of our favourite smallmouth patterns.


When to fish it

When smallmouth hold tight to deep humps topping out at 25 feet or deeper, the Down Deep Husky Jerk will catch them. The DHJ10 is also excellent when largemouth pull-out onto deep ledges, points and mid-depth flats.


How to fish it

Make a long cast and then reel a few seconds to get the Down Deep Husky Jerk to its running depth. Next, begin a slow, jerk-pause style retrieve (as described in the previous section), experimenting with rod snaps and pulls as well as pauses.


Strolling is another tactic for Down Deep Husky Jerks and other jerkbaits. Make a long cast behind the boat and use the trolling motor to slowly troll the lure. Twitch and pull the rod forward, then drop it back to make the bait dart erratically, then stall, which is a movement pattern bass can’t resist.


Jigging Rap

Jigging Rap


While crankbaits and jerkbaits are excellent fall baits, there are days when bass want a vertical presentation, such as following a cold front. Enter the W7 and W9 Jigging Raps. Built for ice fishing, these lures are deadly for putting bass in the boat in the fall.


When to fish it

Vertically fishing a Jigging Rap catches bass suspending over deep water, holding tight to structure, like a hump ledge, or hugging bottom on mid to deep flats.


Casting a Jigging Rap and hopping it along bottom on sand bars, soft-bottom flats and ledges is an equally potent for bass.


How to fish it

A Jigging Rap’s wide profile provides an excellent sonar return, making it easy to see it on the sonar screen when you need to “video game” fish.


To jig, let the lure fall several feet above fish displayed on the fish finder. Hold it still and shake it. Often this initial fall and subtle shimmy combined with its natural profile are all it takes to make active bass eat.


While warmer water tactics call for aggressive snaps, don’t over-jig in fall. Use either a short, quick pop to make the bait dart erratically sideways, or a slow rod raise for a natural swimming action. Follow the lure’s descent with the rod, then pause several seconds before shaking it and beginning another lift.


Casting tactics are similar to fishing a jig. Let the lure get to bottom, then raise the bait a foot or two. Lower the rod, letting the lure glide to bottom on slack line.


Pro Tip: Fish a Jigging Rap on Sufix 832 in 10- to 20-pound test tied to a swivel, then an 18” section of 8- to 12-pound fluorocarbon.


Don’t launch the boat this fall without these four great, cold-water bass baits. Stay safe out there and be sure to tag us in your big bass catches on social media.