The thick of the Fall season means only one thing: feedbag time!
That’s when predator fish such as largemouth bass, smallmouth, pike, muskies, panfish and walleye move up from deeper depths to feed on forage fish, frogs and other critters to put on the weight to sustain them throughout the winter months.
And yet, this is that time of year when a fair amount of anglers will put away their fishing gear to spend their weekend afternoons watching football.
But not you! Because this is the year when you’re going to crush them. How, you may ask?
Well, first by showing up and taking advantage of having more water to fish.
And second, because when most of your fishing brethren are chucking the latest and greatest new lures, you’re going to zig by pulling out a tried-and-true classic – the Original Floating® Rapala®, the legendary tank tested and hand tuned balsa lure that has caught more world records – heck, more fish in the world – than any other artificial fishing lure ever made.
Putting the Feedbag On
As air and water temperatures cool, fall fishing goes through three phases, according to Mike Iaconelli, the legendary pro angler and Rapala fishing pro in a recent YouTube video — Early Fall, Fall Feed and Late Fall. In northern parts of the country, such as northern Minnesota and Maine, early fall starts in late August when many experience warm days and cool nights.
During this gradual cool down, forage fish such as minnows, alewives, and ciscoes move into the shallows to feed and spawn. Fathead minnows, for example, typically spawn when water temperatures reach the ideal temperatures of 60 to 65 F.
And following close behind the baitfish are hungry predators – bass, panfish, walleye, trout, pike, muskies and other species – looking for a smorgasbord upon which to build the fat stores they need when they’re less active during the winter months. That’s why Iaconelli says it’s important to choose baits that imitate the forage fish in the waters that you’re fishing that predator fish are feeding on during this time of the year.
To Rapala pro Seth Feider, who has been tearing up the professional bass circuit over the past several years, tracking the water temperature is key to successful fall fishing – and to knowing when to use certain lures. “When the water hits 65 degrees, that’s when it’s time to turn to hardbaits and crankbaits again,” said Feider in a recent YouTube video.
And the best time to fish natural lakes during the Fall? It’s between 52 to 57 degrees, says Feider, when fish are sliding up into the shallows.
Turning to a Time-Tested Classic
In a world where there are so many fishing lure choices, why go to the Original Floating Rapala, a lure invented all the way back in 1936?
Because, it works. The Original Floater is perceived by many anglers as an incredible spring lure, but it’s equally as effective in the fall because of its versatility, and the secret sauce that make it so special, that unique wobble that so closely resembles a wounded baitfish.
“A topwater (lure) in the fall drives fish crazy,” says Iaconelli.
Working an Original Floater while fishing a small river during the fall, DeChaine catches healthy, chunky smallmouth using several different retrieves – slow and steady, which keeps the lure near the surface, and fast and eradicate, which forces the lure just under the surface. A simple set up including a spinning rod spooled with 10# Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline®, tied directly to a 10# Sufix® 100% Fluorocarbon Invisiline™ Leaders is a great all-around way to go.
The Original Floater also is an effective search bait. It can be slowly trolled, where it’s legal, in 4 to 8 feet of water, to trigger bass, walleye and pike. Or, some anglers swear by trolling an Original Floating Rapala at night time during the Fall during a new or full moon.
And that’s what makes the Original Floating Rapala so effective – during a season of change and transition, the Original Floating Rapala offers the versatility to allow anglers to offer multiple presentations to connect with more fish.