Tips For Early Fall Crankin’ In The Shallows
Squarebill crankbaits and wake baits are excellent presentations for catching bass in early fall. These shallow-running lures cover water, avoid snags and trigger strikes. Here’s how to catch big largemouth and smallmouth bass on squarebill and waking crankbaits.
Before the cold arrives and bass move deep, smallmouth and largemouth have a feeding binge in the shallows. In autumn, shad and other baitfish move into and around tributaries, while frogs leave meadows and forests to spend winter in the soft bottoms of lakes and rivers. With an abundance of baitfish, frogs and let’s not forget crawfish, is it any surprise bass swarm the shallows looking to feed?
Shifts in habitat
Shallow vegetation dies back in late summer and early autumn. Bass avoid the wilting weeds, preferring dock pilings, boulders, gravel, riprap, brush, stumps and fallen trees. The Rapala BX Brat series, Storm Arashi Silent Square and Storm Arashi Wake Crank are awesome baits for catching bass from these areas.
Why a squarebill?
Bass love the Arashi Silent Square’s lively rolling action and pronounced tail kick. Fish also can’t resist the BX Brat’s lifelike swim and hard-flash action. These two shallow-running crankbaits are perfect for covering water and locating scattered bass up to depths of eight feet.
Squarebill crankbaits are very snag resistant. The square lip of the Storm Arashi Silent Square and unique “V” square shape of the Rapala BX Brat allow these floating lures to deflect and ricochet off shallow cover and structure.
The Silent Square and BX Brat are non-rattling lures. Silent baits can get more bites from wary or pressured fish.
How to fish a squarebill
Look for targets along a bank or a shallow flat. Cast a squarebill past the high-percentage spot, then work the lure into the strike zone.
The more contact a squarebill makes with cover and structure the better. The erratic movement of hitting and then deflecting off an object triggers bites. And, the BX Brat and Silent Square are built tough and ready for all kinds of bumping and grinding.
Bass won’t hesitate to attack a steadily swimming squarebill, but speed changes also provoke strikes. Try manipulating speed using the reel handle and add the occasional pause.
When to wake?
In early fall, largemouth and smallmouth readily smash a Storm Arashi Wake Crank. When bass are busting baitfish on the surface, this lure is tough to beat.
Its subsurface running depth excels in ultra skinny water or when thick vegetation chokes out the possibility of using a squarebill. The bait’s pronounced V-wake and low frequency single-ball rattle attract fish from far and wide.
The Arashi Wake Crank catches fish anytime, but is particularly good early and late in the day. Likewise when it’s overcast.
How to fish a wake bait
Similar to a squarebill, the Arashi Wake Crank can be fan cast to cover water or tossed at specific targets. After making a cast, let the bait rest and float on the surface until the rings disappear. Bass often strike seconds after splashdown.
Next, start the retrieve. Keep the rod tip at the 10 o’clock position to maximize the waker’s surface commotion.
Use a fast retrieve to cover water and evoke reaction strikes. A moderate to slow waking action coaxes less active bass into chewing. The Arashi Wake Crank’s circuit board lip and keeled tail design make it perform flawlessly at a wide range of speeds.
A steady, swim is good, but don’t be shy to mix-up the momentum. Small speed changes and pauses stimulate strikes.
Rod, reel and line recommendations
Squarebill crankbaits and wake baits are bet fished on a technique-specific rod. The 13 Fishing 7’1” Omen cranking rod (OB2C70C) paired with a 13 Fishing Inception Sport Z is the ideal combo for the shallow crank and wake presentations discussed here.
Sufix Advance Monofilament in 14-pound test provides the shock strength and stretch needed for squarebill and wake bait tactics. Advance Monofilament is also extremely abrasion resistant and buoyant.
Whether you’re fishing from a boat or the bank, be sure to have some Rapala BX Brats, Storm Arashi Silent Squares and Arashi Wake Cranks. These lures are bonafide bass-catchers throughout the year, but especially excel in early autumn.