Follow the Bait with Ike and Gluzek

Bucks Falcon Mercury

Are you excited for the fall? As the fall rolls in the bass go on the move, which means many anglers are getting off their deep structure summer pattern, and moving into the shallows. This is the time of year that brings cool shorter days and cold longer nights. The subtle change in weather causes the bass to start their seasonal migration with the goal of fattening up for the long winter ahead.

In order to understand the bass migration, you must first understand the bait migration. In most lakes across the country, some sort of shad is the main forage for the bass. After summer, the colder water brings the bait fish out in search of food of their own. The main source of food for the shad is plankton, which begins to die out as the water cools. This occurrence brings shad off of the main lake and into channels and creeks. The most important part of bass fishing in the fall, is knowing where to find these schools of bait. If you can find the schools, you can also find the bass.

When they first start the migration, most hold to points leading into creek channels and tributaries. The best place to locate them is the first major piece of structure just off of the main lake; the point, or the secondary point. As the water gets colder, the transitions gets further into the process of the migration. However, as the sun comes up each morning, the surface water will begin to warm up and the schools of bait begin to push to the surface. With the surface water warming, and the fall wind blowing, this pushes the bait further into creeks and channel pockets off the main lake.

Michael Iaconelli is a world champion bass fisherman; the 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion, the 2006 Bassmaster Angler of the Year and one of the founders of The Bass University. The Bass University is a two day program that features the world’s top professionals. Iaconelli stresses the importance of finding the schools of bait. “I’m always looking for signs of baitfish,” Iaconelli said. “If I don’t see them dimpling the surface, I’ll idle through a creek and study my Lowrance Structure Scan for large pods of suspended bait. If there’s no sign of minnows, the bass won’t be there, either.”

Power fishing can be an important tool during this time of year. Using search baits such as a spinnerbait, or a crankbait can be a great way to cover a lot of water in a short period of time. The bass generally are suspended around isolated cover waiting to ambush the bait.

Pete Gluszek is also a founder of The Bass University. The “Dean” is from the northern part of the country and looks forward to the fall bite. ”Bass will stage in very predictable feeding areas”, says Gluszek, “ I really start my search around hard cover objects like rock and wood, or significant topographically significant features like steeper drop offs. If I am on a grass lake, I’ll turn my attention to wherever the bait is being flushed out of the grass beds. The bass are waiting to capitalize on this and they take full advantage of it. The fish you catch this time of year are fat and completely overfull; they can quite literally gorge themselves!”

This time of year you have to keep in mind that the pockets of bait are always moving and can be there one minute and gone the next. The best way for an angler to combat that is to remain light on your feet and keep moving with the bait. If there is no bait present, then move somewhere else that seems likely.

FollowtheBaitwith Ike
The fall is a productive time to catch bass, but be prepared to run around the lake. If you pull into a creek, and do not see any kind of life on the surface or your fishfinder, then it is time to leave. Covering a lot of water is the key to finding the right schools of bait that hold the bass you are looking for. Good luck and enjoy what some call the best time of year to fish.

There are a lot of ways to learn more about bass behavior and how to help yourself become a better angler. Reading great sites like Advanced Angler and others are great places to learn. But, another great learning environment is The Bass University by Iaconelli and Gluszek. To learn more about attending a Bass University class near you,

About the Author
Rob Lever is a freelance writer and also the Director of “We Love to Fish”. “We Love to Fish” gives a guest with a developmental disability the chance to experience a day on the water. To learn more about Lever or We Love to Fish, please visit